The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank) has launched a review of its legal status following the August royal decree which established the body as the single regulator for the entire financial sector. Prior to the decree the BMA was the regulator for only the banking sector (MEED 16:8:02; 24:5:02).
'The law we operate under is more than 20 years old so it is very much a routine move to review it as our responsibilities have been expanded and also because the regulatory environment has changed considerably over the years,' says a BMA source.
The review of the BMA's legal status is being conducted by international lawyers as well as internally. One option being examined will be a renaming of the BMA as the Central Bank of Bahrain. 'Despite some reports in the local media, this is far from being a fait accompli,' says the source. 'No decision has yet been taken, as the review has not been completed.'
The proposals made are unlikely to have a radical impact on the role of the BMA, which is already widely regarded as one of the best regulatory bodies in the Middle East. Any changes to the law are likely to focus on strengthening further its authority.
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