FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ACT, 2004

Arrangement of Sections

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

PART II

LICENCES

3. Licences.

4. Activities.

5. Application for licences.

6. Granting of licence.

7. Terms and conditions of licence.

8. Display of licence.

9. Licensee to comply with rules, directions, etc.

10. Licence fee.

11. Approval for branches.

12. Restriction on use of words.

13. Revocation of licence.

14. Power of the Central Bank to prohibit operations of licencee.

15. Urgent action.

16. Appeals.

17. Suspension of business on revocation of licence.

18. Surrender of licence.

19. Revocation and variation of approval for branch business.

20. Investigation of unlicenced banking.

21. Central Bank's powers of investigation.

PART III

CAPITAL AND PRUDENTIAL REQUIREMENTS

22. Prudential requirements.

23. Minimum required capital.

24. Reserve fund.

25. Liquid assets.

26. Local assets.

27. Foreign currency exposure.

28. Loan classification.

29. Credit Concentration.

30. Connected lending.

31. Restriction on payment of dividend.

32. Other prudential requirements.

33. Application on consolidated basis.

34. Other duties.

PART IV

ACCOUNTS, AUDIT, INFORMATION AND INSPECTION

35. Annual balance sheet, etc.

36. Audit.

37. Audit committee.

38. Publication and display of balance sheet, etc.

39. Records.

40. Periodic statements.

41. Disclosure requirements.

42. Inspection of financial institutions.

PART V

CONTROL OVER MANAGEMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

43. Persons qualified to be administrators.

43A. Central Bank to be notified of change in administrators.

44. Administrator to declare personal interest.

45. Bribery and collusion.

46. Acquisition of substantial interest.

47. Merger.

48. Ban on receipt of deposits.

49. Disclosure of information restricted.

50. Confidentiality of information.

51. Exchange of information.

52. Publication of information by Central Bank.

53. Central Bank's powers over unsafe practices.

54. Suspension unaffected by appeal.

55. Ban on credits against financial institution's own shares, etc.

56. Prohibited operations.

57. Approval for transfer of assets.

58. [Repealed]

PART VI

ABANDONED PROPERTY

59. Abandoned property.

60. Publication and notice of particulars.

61. Reports of abandoned property.

62. Right to claim.

PART VII

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

63. Offences and penalties.

PART VIII

MISCELLANEOUS

64. Bank holidays.

65. Application of Companies Act.

66. Amalgamation, winding up, closure etc.

67. Indemnity for the Central Bank etc.

68. Review by court.

69. Regulations.

70. Rules of court.

71. Non-application of Act.

72. Compounding of offences.

73. [Repealed]

74. Non-application of certain provisions.

75. Transitional provisions.

76. Repeal of Cap 12.

77. Repeal of Cap 79.

SCHEDULE 1

SCHEDULE 2

SCHEDULE 3

SCHEDULE 4

SCHEDULE 5

14 of 2004,

24 of 2008,

11 of 2009,

23 of 2011.

AN ACT to repeal and replace the Financial Institutions Act, 1984.

[Note: The words "R" and "Commissioner of Taxes" were replaced with "SCR" and "Revenue Commissioner" throughout the Act by s 2(y) and (z) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f. 27 December 2011.]

[Date of commencement: 31st December 2004]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Financial Institutions Act, 2004.

2. Interpretation.

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

"abandoned property" has the meaning given in section 59;

"administrator", in relation to a financial institution, means any person who is a director or managing director of such institution, or in the case of a branch of a foreign financial institution, the person designated as managing agent pursuant to section 313(1) of the Companies Act;

[Am by s 2(a)(i) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"assigned capital", in relation to a branch of a foreign financial institution, means unimpaired capital assigned to the branch by its head office;

"automated teller machine" means a terminal device, whether installed by a financial institution or other person, which is linked directly or indirectly to a computer system used by a financial institution and which provides facilities to the customers of the financial institution;

"bank" means any person licenced under this Act to conduct banking business;

"banking activities" means the activities that are listed in section 4;

"banking business" means the business of receiving deposits of money or other repayable funds from the public and extending credits for its own account;

"banking licence" means a licence to conduct banking business granted under section 6;

"Board" means the Board of the Central Bank;

"branch" means a place of business that forms a legally dependent part of a financial institution and conducts directly all or some of its licenced activities;

"Bureau de Change" means a person licenced under this Act to carry on foreign exchange business;

[Rep and subs by s 2(a)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"Bureau de Change Licence" means a licence granted to a person under section 6 of this Act;

[Ins by s 2(a)(iii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"capital base" means the capital base referred to in section 23(4);

[Ins by s 2(a)(iv) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

[Note: "Capital funds" rep by S 2(a)(iv) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"Central Bank" means the Central Bank of Seychelles established by section 3 of the Central Bank of Seychelles Act;

"close relation", in relation to an administrator or a natural person holding a substantial interest in a financial institution, means spouse, parents, children or dependent relatives;

"control", in relation to a financial institution, means the relationship between the financial institution and any body corporate in which the financial institution—

(a) directly, indirectly or acting through one or more persons owns, controls or has the right to vote
20 percent or more of its voting shares or has the right to elect a majority of its directors; or

(b) exercises such a controlling influence as the Central Bank may determine;

"core capital" means the core capital referred to in section 23(4);

[Ins by s 2(a)(v) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"credit" means any commitment to disburse a sum of money in exchange for a right to repayment of the amount disbursed and outstanding and to payment of interest or other charges on such amount, any extension of the due date of a monetary claim, any guarantee issued, and any commitment to acquire a debt security or other instrument stipulating the payment of a sum of money;

"Credit Information System" means a Credit Information System established under the Central Bank of Seychelles Act 2004;

[Ins by s 2(a)(i) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f. 27 December 2011.]

"debt security" means any negotiable instrument of indebtedness and any other instrument equivalent to such instrument of indebtedness, and any negotiable instrument giving the right to acquire another negotiable debt security (which may be in certificated or in book entry form) by subscription or exchange;

"deposit" means a sum of money paid on terms—

(a) that it is to be repaid in full, with or without interest or premium of any kind, and either on demand or at a time agreed by or on behalf of the person making the payment and the person receiving it; and

(b) that is not referable to the provision of property or service or the giving of security,

whether or not evidenced by any entry in a record of the person receiving the sum, or by any receipt, certificate, note or other document. A sum of money paid to a body corporate in exchange for the issuance of corporate debentures or corporate bonds is not deemed to constitute receipt of a deposit or repayable funds under the meaning of this Act, unless such activity is done on a frequent basis as determined by the Central Bank;

"director" has the meaning given in section 2(1) of the Companies Act, and in relation to a branch of a foreign financial institution includes the person designated as managing agent pursuant to section 313(1) of the Companies Act;

"financial institution" means—

(a) any bank; or

(b) any Bureau de Change,

and, for the purposes of this Act, all branches and agencies of a financial institution in Seychelles are deemed to be one financial institution;

"foreign exchange business" means the business of buying and selling of foreign currency;

[Note: "foreign exchange licence" rep by s 2(a)(vi) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"foreign financial institution" means a financial institution established under the laws of a country other than Seychelles;

"group of closely-related customers" means—

(a) two or more persons who, unless it is shown otherwise, constitute a single risk because one of them, directly or indirectly, has control as defined in this section above, over the other or others;

(b) two or more persons between whom there is no relationship of control as defined in paragraph (a) but who are to be regarded as constituting a single risk because they are so interconnected that if one of them were to experience financial problems the other or all of the others would be likely to encounter repayment difficulties;

"local financial institution" means a financial institution established under the law of Seychelles;

"Minister" means the Minister for the time being responsible for finance;

"net profits" means profits after providing for management charges and taxation;

[Note: "non-resident" rep by s 2(a)(ii) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f. 27 December 2011.]

[Note: “offshore banking business” rep by s 2(a)(iii) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f. 27 December 2011.]

"place of business" means any branch, agency or mobile office of a financial institution in Seychelles which is open to the public;

"reserve funds" means such funds transferred to the reserve fund under section 24;

[Ins by s 2(a)(viii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

"rupees" means rupees in Seychelles currency;

"sell" includes—

(a) to sell by auction;

(b) to offer or attempt to sell;

(c) to expose, display or advertise for sale;

(d) to sell or hire under a hire-purchase or installment sale agreement; or

(e) to exchange or dispose of goods or services for any valuable consideration,

and the expressions "to purchase" and "to buy" shall be construed accordingly;

"substantial interest" means holding individually or together with a close relation, directly or indirectly, 10 percent or more of the capital or of the voting rights of a company or undertaking or, directly or indirectly, exercising such significant influence over the management of the company or undertaking as the Central Bank may determine;

"subsidiary" means any body corporate in which another person or group of persons acting in concert holds—

(a) the equivalent of fifty percent or more of the voting shares; or

(b) a substantial interest that permits such other person or group of persons to exercise effective control over the management or policies of the subsidiary;

"unsecured"—

(a) in relation to credits, means credits granted without security;

(b) in relation to credits against security, means any part of those credits which at any given time exceeds the market value of the assets comprising the security given, or which exceeds the valuation approved by the Central Bank at any time when it considers that no market value exists for those assets.

PART II

LICENCES

3. Licences.

(1) A person shall not advertise for or engage in banking business or foreign exchange business, as the case may be, in Seychelles without being issued by the Central Bank—

[S 3(1) am by s 2(b)(i) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(a) a banking licence;

(b) a bureau de change licence.

[S 3(1) rep and sub by s 2(b)(i) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009; s 3(1)(b) rep and s 3(1)(c) renumbered as 3(1)(b) by s 2(b)(i) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f. 27 December 2011.]

(2) A person who holds funds by doing banking business or foreign exchange business without a licence under subsection (1) shall repay those funds pursuant to the directions of the Central Bank.

[S 3(2) rep and sub by s 2(b)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009; am by s 2(b)(ii) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(3) A licence granted under this Act is granted in writing for an indefinite period of time and shall not be transferable. The licence shall specify the activities which the holder of the licence is authorised to undertake and the terms and conditions under which it has been issued.

(4) No person other than a company incorporated under the Companies Act or an overseas company registered under section 310 of the Companies Act shall be issued a licence under this Act. A banking licence for a branch in Seychelles shall only be issued to a financial institution incorporated outside Seychelles authorised to engage in the business of receiving money deposits or other repayable funds from the public in the country where its head office is located.

4. Activities.

(1) Banks may engage only in the following activities—

(a) receiving money deposits (in the form of demand deposits, time deposits or other forms of deposit) or other repayable funds, bearing interest or not;

(b) extending credits, including but not limited to consumer and mortgage credit; factoring, with or without recourse; forfeiting; financing of commercial transactions; and issuing credit cards;

(c) financial leasing;

(d) buying and selling for its own account or for the account of customers (including underwriting) of money market instruments (including inter alia cheques, bills of exchange and certificates of deposit); futures and options relating to debt securities or interest rates; exchange and interest rate instruments; and debt securities;

(e) providing money transmission services;

(f) buying and selling foreign currencies, including contracts for the future sale of foreign currencies;

(g) issuing and administering means of payment (including payment cards, travellers' cheques and bankers' drafts);

(h) money broking;

(i) safekeeping and administration of valuables, including securities;

(j) providing services as a portfolio manager or adviser;

(k) providing credit reference services; and

[S 4(1)(k) am by s 2(c)(i) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009.]

(l) anything that shall be incidental to the foregoing.

[S 4(1)(l) rep and s 4(1)(m) renumbered as s 4(1)(l) by s 2(c)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(2) Bureaux de Change may engage only in the following activities—

(a) buying and selling of foreign currency in the form of notes, coins and travellers' cheques;

(b) buying and selling of foreign currency without the limitation in paragraph (a), for an additional class of Bureau de Change; and

[S 4(2)(b) rep and subs by s 2(a)(i) of Act 24 of 2008 w.e.f. 3 November 2008.]

(c) anything that is incidental to the respective activities under paragraphs (a) and (b).

[S 4(2)(c) ins by s 2(a)(ii) of Act 24 of 2008 w.e.f.
3 November 2008.]

(3) Financial institutions may be authorised in writing by the Central Bank to own subsidiaries that engage in other activities. Such authorisation shall for each subsidiary list the activities that it may engage in and the activities of the subsidiary shall be restricted to those listed in the authorisation.

5. Application for licences.

(1) Any company incorporated under the Companies Act or financial institution incorporated outside Seychelles seeking to establish a branch in Seychelles may apply for a licence; such application shall state the type of licence requested and be made in writing to the Central Bank in such manner as the Central Bank may specify and shall include—

(a) an authenticated copy of the instrument of incorporation under which the applicant is formed, together with the memorandum of association or by laws, if any, and the address of its head office;

(b) the amounts of the authorised and subscribed capital of the applicant, including the amounts that have been paid in, or the assigned capital in the case of a branch of a financial institution incorporated outside Seychelles;

(c) the name, nationality, residence and business or profession of every administrator, together with a statement detailing the qualifications and professional experience and at least three references;

[S 5(1)(c) am by s 2(d) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009.]

(d) the name, nationality, residence and business or profession of every person holding a substantial interest, together with at least two references verifying good financial standing, and, where the person holding a substantial interest is a body corporate, copies of the latest three audited annual balance sheets and profit and loss accounts where applicable;

(e) a list of all shareholders and ultimate beneficial owners of shares stating the name, address and respective shareholding;

(f) for each administrator and person holding a substantial interest an affidavit duly signed by the individual stating convictions for crimes, past or present involvement in a managerial function in a body corporate or other undertaking subject to insolvency proceedings or personal bankruptcy filings, if any;

(g) copies of the latest three audited annual balance sheets and profit and loss accounts of the applicant, and in the case of a newly formed company, financial projections for the next three years;

(h) a business plan setting out the business objectives and types of activities of the proposed financial institution, including a description of its organisational structure and internal controls together with projected balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and cash flow statements for the next three financial years;

(i) a statement by the auditor selected to be appointed indicating the auditor's willingness to take on this task;

(j) a list of companies in which the applicant holds shares, specifying the number of shares and the registered addresses of those companies;

(k) the location of the principal and other places in or outside Seychelles where it proposes to conduct business, and in the case of a mobile office, the area to be served;

(l) in the case of an application by a financial institution incorporated outside Seychelles, in addition—

(i) a certificate of designation specifying the name, nationality, residence and business or profession of its managing agent, being the officer, agent or other person in Seychelles responsible for carrying out the functions of the financial institution and on whom any process may be served;

(ii) a statement that the foreign supervisory authority responsible for the supervision of the applicant in the country of incorporation is aware of the application and exercises consolidated supervision;

(m) in the case of an application by a bank incorporated outside Seychelles seeking to establish a branch, in addition, a sworn undertaking of its head office through its principal officer, supported by an appropriate resolution of its board of directors, that it will, on demand of the Central Bank, make available, in such currency and at such place as may be specified by the Central Bank, funds necessary to cover all obligations and liabilities incurred in the conduct of banking business authorised under the banking licence;

(n) proof of payment of the application fee as prescribed by the Central Bank;

(o) such other information as the Central Bank may require.

(2) An application for a licence to solely conduct foreign exchange business does not require the information or documents specified under subsection (1)(i), (j) and (l)(ii) above.

(2A) The Central Bank may revise the requirements for information or documents under this section for each class of Bureau de Change.

[S 5(2A) ins by s 2(b) of Act 24 of 2008 w.e.f.
3 November 2008.]

(3) The application and every document submitted in accordance with subsection (1) shall be signed by the directors of the applicant, or by a principal officer of the applicant duly authorised so to do. Where documents are not executed in the English language, certified translations in English must be submitted as well.

(4) For the purpose of subsection (1)(k), an automated teller machine by itself shall not constitute a place of business.

6. Granting of licence.

(1) In considering an application for a licence received under section 5, the Central Bank shall conduct such investigation as it may deem necessary and shall grant a licence to the applicant on being satisfied as to—

(a) the validity of the documents submitted under section 5(1);

(b) the—

(i) financial status; and

(ii) history of the applicant, where the applicant is an established financial institution;

[S 6(1)(b) rep and subs by s 2(e)(i)(aa) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(c) the character and professional experience of its administrators;

(d) the identity and character of its owners, in particular persons holding a substantial interest;

(e) the adequacy of its capital structure;

(f) its ability to cover all obligations and liabilities incurred in the conduct of the proposed business to be authorised under the licence;

(g) the soundness of its proposed operations;

(h) the viability of the business plan;

(i) in the case of a branch or subsidiary of a financial institution incorporated outside Seychelles, the adequacy of supervision exercised on a consolidated basis by the foreign supervisory authority;

[S 6(1)(i) am by s 2(e)(i)(bb) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009; proviso after para (i) rep by s 2(e)(i)(cc) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(j) any risks or corporate activities which may affect the applicant or the international standing and good repute of Seychelles;

[S 6(1)(j) ins by s 2(c) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(k) any other criteria as the Central Bank considers relevant.

[S 6(1)(k) ins by s 2(c) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(1a) For the purpose of subsection (1)(c) and (d), the Central Bank shall have regard to the following—

(a) the applicant's probity, competence, experience and soundness of judgement for fulfilling the responsibilities of the proposed business;

(b) the diligence with which the applicant is fulfilling or is likely to fulfil these responsibilities;

(c) the applicant's educational and professional qualifications, and membership of professional or other relevant bodies as applicable;

(d) the applicant's knowledge and understanding of the professional obligations to be assumed or undertaken;

(e) any evidence that the applicant has committed an offence involving dishonesty or has contravened a law designed to protect any member of the public arising from dishonesty, incompetence, malpractice or conduct of discharged or undischarged bankrupts or otherwise insolvent persons;

(f) such other information which may come to the notice of the Central Bank.

[S 6(1a) ins by s 2(e)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(2) Within 30 days after the receipt of an application, the Central Bank shall inform the applicant whether the application is deemed complete or specify the additional information required to make the application complete.

(3) Within 90 days after the receipt of a complete application, the Central Bank shall—

(a) grant a licence; or

(b) inform the applicant that it has refused to grant a licence giving the reasons for the refusal:

[S 6(3)(b) am by s 2(e)(iii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

Provided that the Central Bank shall be under no duty to give reasons where—

(i) it is precluded by law;

(ii) information has been disclosed to the Central Bank under conditions of confidentiality between the Central Bank and any public sector agency or law enforcement agency; or

(iii) information has been disclosed to the Central Bank under conditions of confidentiality between the Central Bank and any other foreign regulatory agency pursuant to a memorandum of understanding, an agreement or a treaty entered into by the Central Bank or the Republic of Seychelles.

[S 6(3)(b) proviso ins by s 2(e)(iii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009.]

(4) Where a licence is granted under this Act, the Central Bank shall publish in the Gazette and in a local newspaper a notice to that effect specifying the name of the financial institution and the activities authorised by the licence.

7. Terms and conditions of licence.

(1) In granting a licence, the Central Bank may specify the terms and conditions which shall be complied with by the financial institution.

(2) The financial institution may only start its operations once the annual fee for its first year of operation has been paid to the Central Bank.

(3) A financial institution holding a licence shall not engage in any business other than the activities specified therein.

8. Display of licence.

A financial institution holding a licence shall display a copy of that licence conspicuously in a public part of each place of its business in Seychelles and shall continue to keep that copy so displayed.

9. Licensee to comply with rules, directions, etc.

(1) The operations of a financial institution are subject to statutory directions and instruments made under this Act and to any determination, notice or other requirement that may be made or issued by the Central Bank from time to time under or in accordance with this Act, the Central Bank of Seychelles Act or any other written law.

(2) Without prejudice to the Companies Act, no local financial institution shall, without the prior written approval of the Central Bank, alter the instrument under which it is formed.

(3) The Central Bank shall approve no alteration which conflicts with this Act, the Companies Act or other laws.

(4) Without prejudice to section 312 or any other relevant provision of the Companies Act, every foreign financial institution shall notify the Central Bank of any alteration in the instrument under which it is formed within 30 days of the alteration.

(5) Every financial institution shall notify the Central Bank of any change in the registered shareholders or shareholdings of the financial institution within 21 days of such change or becoming aware of such change, whichever is the latest, where one shareholder holds or were to hold five percent or more of the paid-up capital.

[S 9(6) ins by s 2(f) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009; renumbered as s 9(5) by s 2(d) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

10. Licence fee.

(1) Every financial institution shall pay to the Central Bank such annual fee for its licence as may be prescribed by the Central Bank having regard to the costs of the Central Bank directly caused by its supervisory functions in relation to financial institutions.

(2) The Central may prescribed different annual fees for different classes of financial institutions which shall apply uniformly to financial institutions within each class.

(3) With the exception of the year in which a licence is granted, where the holder of a banking licence fails to pay the annual fee prescribed under subsection (1) before the beginning of the year for which the annual fee is due, the bank shall be subject to an additional charge of one percent of the annual fee, per day.

[S 10(3) am by s 2(e)(i) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(4) With exception of the year in which a licence is granted, where the holder of a bureau de change licence fails to pay the annual fee prescribed under subsection (1) before the beginning of the year for which the annual fee is due, the bureau de change shall be subject to an additional charge of 10 percent of the annual fee, per day.

[S 10(4) ins by s 2(e)(ii) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

11. Approval for branches.

(1) The prior written approval of the Central Bank is required—

(a) for a financial institution to open or close a branch or agency in any part of Seychelles, or to change the location of any existing place of business in Seychelles;

(b) for a local financial institution to open or close a branch, agency or office outside Seychelles.

(2) An approval under subsection (1) may be given subject to such conditions as the Central Bank may prescribe by regulations or specify in the written approval.

(3) Every financial institution shall notify the Central Bank before installing and operating an automated teller machine.

12. Restriction on use of words.

(1) A person other than a bank shall not without the prior written approval of the Central Bank—

[S 12(1) am by s 2(f)(i) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(a) use the words "bank", "savings" or, "savings and loan" or any of their derivatives in any language, or any other word indicating or likely to indicate the transaction of banking business, in the name, description or title under which that person is incorporated, registered or doing business in Seychelles; or

[S 12(1)(a) am by s 2(f)(ii) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(b) make any representation to the effect that it carries on banking business in any billhead, letter paper, notice or advertisement.

(2) A person other than a financial institution shall not without the prior written approval of the Central Bank, use the words "financial institution" or any of their derivatives in any language in the name, description or title under which that person is incorporated, registered or doing business in Seychelles.

[S 12(2) am by s 2(f)(iii) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(3) Nothing in subsections (1) or (2) prevents the use of the words there specified or any of their derivatives in any language when it is for the sole purpose of organising a company for the purpose of applying for a licence under this Act.

(4) No person shall be granted or shall continue to hold a licence under a name which so closely resembles the name of an existing financial institution as would be likely, in the opinion of the Central Bank, to mislead the public.

(5) Except with the prior written approval of the Central Bank, no financial institution shall use, or refer to itself by, a name other than that under which it is licenced under this Act.

(6) Where the Central Bank approves a change of name under subsection (5), the Central Bank shall publish in the Gazette and in a local newspaper a notice to that effect specifying such name.

13. Revocation of licence.

(1) The Central Bank may revoke or vary the terms and conditions of a licence if the licencee—

(a) has obtained the licence on the grounds of false or fraudulent statements or other material irregularities connected with the licence application;

(b) fails to commence operations within a period of six months or such longer period as has been allowed in writing by the Central Bank;

(c) fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the licence or any corrective measures required by the Central Bank in accordance with section 53 (Central Bank's power over unsafe practices);

(d) no longer possesses the minimum amount of capital and reserves required by regulations under this Act or can no longer be relied upon to fulfil its obligations towards its creditors, and in particular no longer provides security for the assets entrusted to it;

(e) has failed to obtain prior approval of the Central Bank for the transfer of a substantial interest held in the financial institution;

(f) is insolvent or apparently insolvent; for the purpose of this paragraph a financial institution is apparently insolvent when the financial institution is not paying its financial obligations as they fall due or the Central Bank has determined that the capital of the financial institution is less than 25 percent of the minimum capital required pursuant to section 23(1) or (2) or that the capital base of the financial institution are eight percent or below eight percent of the total value of its assets determined on a risk adjusted basis or that the capital of the financial institution being its assets less liabilities is 1.5 percent or less of the financial institution's tangible assets on an unweighted basis;

[S 13(1)(f) am by s 2(g)(i) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(g) undergoes a merger, consolidation, amalgamation or division;

(h) is in breach of any material provision of this Act or of regulations, rules, orders or directions which are applicable to the licence or the licencee; or

(i) being a bank, has ceased for more than three months to engage in the business of receiving money deposits or other repayable funds from the public or extending credits for its own account;

(j) fails to pay the annual fee or charges within 14 days after the due date.

[S 13(1)(j) ins by s 2(g) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

(2) The Central Bank shall give reasons for its decision under subsection (1).

(3) Subject to subsection (5), the revocation or variation of a licence under subsection (1) takes effect 30 days after the date on which the Central Bank gives notice of it to the licencee.

(4) The licencee may, within 15 days after receipt of notice under subsection (3), submit to the Central Bank reasons why, in the opinion of the licencee, the licence should not be revoked or the terms and conditions of the licence should not be varied or bring forth evidence that show the rectification of any irregularity which may have been the cause of the revocation or variation of the licence.

[S 13(4) am by s 2(g)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(5) At the latest three days before the revocation or variation of a licence is to take effect pursuant to subsection (3), the Central Bank shall—

(a) confirm the revocation or the variation with or without modification; or

(b) withdraw the revocation or the variation unconditionally.

(6) A notice of any action taken under subsection (5) shall be published by the Central Bank in the Gazette and in at least one local newspaper.

14. Power of the Central Bank to prohibit operations of licencee.

(1) Where the Central Bank has given notice of revocation under section 13(3) it may give a direction to the licencee—

(a) prohibiting it from receiving money deposits or other repayable funds from the public;

(b) prohibiting it from dealing with or disposing of its assets in any manner specified in the direction;

(c) prohibiting it from entering into any transaction or class of transactions specified in the direction;

(d) prohibiting it from soliciting deposits;

(e) requiring it to take certain steps or pursue any particular course of action,

and the licencee shall comply with that direction notwithstanding the notice of revocation.

15. Urgent action.

(1) In an emergency situation requiring urgent action, the Central Bank may revoke a licence pursuant to section 13(1) and (2) to take effect immediately and direct the financial institution to immediately suspend all business operations.

(2) The Central Bank shall give notice of the revocation to the licencee as soon as practicable. The notice shall state the reasons requiring urgent action. The filing of an appeal pursuant to section 16 does not effect a suspension of any measures imposed by the Central Bank.

16. Appeals.

(1) Where the Central Bank takes a decision—

(a) to refuse to grant a licence under section 6;

(b) to refuse to grant an approval for the opening or closure of a branch or agency of a financial institution under section 11;

(c) under section 19, to revoke or vary the terms or conditions of an approval granted under section 11;

(d) to confirm a revocation of, or variation of the terms or conditions of a licence under section 13(5),

the aggrieved party may appeal to the Central Bank within 15 days from the date on which the aggrieved party receives notification of the decision of the Central Bank to reconsider its decision. The filing of an appeal does not effect a suspension of any measures imposed by the Central Bank.

(2) The Central Bank shall afford to the aggrieved party an opportunity of submitting a written statement of its case and, at the request of the aggrieved party, provide for a hearing before the Board. The Central Bank shall take a final decision within 90 days after considering the case.

(3) If an aggrieved party is not satisfied with the final decision of the Central Bank under this section, the aggrieved party may appeal to the Supreme Court within the time and in accordance with the procedures applicable to civil appeals to that Court.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in any other law, no action or proceeding may be instituted in any court in respect of loss or damage actually incurred, or likely to be or alleged to be incurred by reason of the application of section 13(1), section 14(1) or section 15(1).

17. Suspension of business on revocation of licence.

(1) Where the revocation of a licence is made final by the Central Bank under section 16(2), the Central Bank shall—

(a) direct the financial institution immediately to suspend business authorised under the licence;

(b) take charge of all its books, records and assets; and

(c) take such measures as may be necessary to prevent the continuance of the business of that institution.

(2) Where the revocation of a licence has been made final in respect of a local financial institution, the Central Bank shall immediately take appropriate steps for the winding up of that institution in accordance with Schedule 2.

(3) Where the revocation of a licence has been made final in respect of a foreign financial institution, without prejudice to Schedule 5, the Central Bank shall direct the head office of that institution immediately to cover all obligations and liabilities incurred in the conduct of the business of the institution under the banking licence in accordance with the undertaking of the head office given under section 5(1)(m).

(4) The Central Bank may, in substitution for the procedures laid down in subsections (1), (2) and (3), take such other action as it considers fit, including arranging for the amalgamation of the financial institution with any other financial institution which is agreeable to such amalgamation.

18. Surrender of licence.

(1) Subject to this section, a financial institution may, with the prior written approval of the Central Bank, surrender its licence to the Central Bank.

(2) The Central Bank shall grant its approval to an application for the surrender by a financial institution of a licence under subsection (1) where it is satisfied that the financial institution has made adequate provision in respect of all its liabilities in relation to its business.

(3) In granting its approval under subsection (2), the Central Bank shall appoint a date on which the surrender shall take effect.

(4) Where approval has been granted to a financial institution under subsection (2), the financial institution shall, not later than 30 days before the date appointed under subsection (3), publish in a local newspaper and an international financial newspaper approved by the Central Bank a notice of the proposed surrender of the licence and specifying the date on which the surrender shall take effect.

(5) A surrender of a licence under this section shall have effect as a revocation of a licence under this Act.

(6) The Central Bank shall, as soon as is practicable, publish in the Gazette and in a daily local newspaper a notice of every surrender of a licence under this section but any delay in publishing, or failure to publish, the notice shall not affect the validity of the surrender or its effect.

[S 18(6) am by s 2(h) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

19. Revocation and variation of approval for branch business.

(1) The Central Bank may, for exceptional reasons, revoke or vary the terms or conditions of an approval given under section 11, including ordering the closure of a branch or agency of a financial institution.

(2) Any action under subsection (1) shall be communicated by the Central Bank to that financial institution, which shall carry out all the obligations and meet all the liabilities of the branch, agency or office.

(3) The Central Bank shall give reasons for its decision under subsection (1).

(4) Where an order of closure has been made under subsection (1), the Central Bank shall take all necessary steps to ensure that—

(a) all persons who have deposited monies in that branch or agency are given the opportunity to withdraw those monies within a reasonable period of time; and

(b) such measures are taken as will safeguard the interests of those depositors.

20. Investigation of unlicenced banking.

(1) If at any time the Central Bank has reason to believe that any person is doing banking business or foreign exchange business without a valid licence, it shall investigate the matter.

(2) Concerning persons who violate this Act by engaging, without a licence, in activities for which a licence is required under this Act, the Central Bank shall be empowered to liquidate the business of such person, the net proceeds of which shall be transferred to the Consolidated Fund.

21. Central Bank's powers of investigation.

For the purpose of section 20, the Central Bank may in accordance with section 36 of the Central Bank of Seychelles Act, examine the books, accounts and records of the person suspected to be doing banking business without a licence to ascertain whether that is the case.

PART III

CAPITAL AND PRUDENTIAL REQUIREMENTS

22. Prudential requirements.

Notwithstanding any other written law, every financial institution shall comply with the requirements of this Part, provided that for Bureaux de Change section 74 applies.

23. Minimum required capital.

(1) Every bank shall at all times maintain in Seychelles unimpaired paid-up capital or assigned capital, as shall be prescribed by regulations.

[S 23(1) am by s 2(i)(i) and provisos rep by s 2(i)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(2) The Central Bank shall prescribe the capital requirements for each class of Bureau de Change and the capital requirements that apply to existing Bureaux de Change shall continue to apply until revised by the Central Bank.

[S 23(2) rep and subs by s 2(c) of Act 24 of 2008 w.e.f.
3 November 2008.]

(3) A financial institution shall not reduce its paid-up capital or its assigned capital, as the case may be, without the prior written approval of the Central Bank.

(4) Every bank shall at all times maintain capital, in Seychelles of not less than 12 percent, or such other percentage as may be prescribed by regulations, of the total value of its assets determined on a risk-adjusted basis, whereby not less than one-half of such capital shall consist of core capital. The definitions of capital base, core capital and categories of risk assets shall also be prescribed by regulation.

[S 23(4) am by s 2(i)(iii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(5) Where the capital base of a bank has become deficient in terms of subsection (4) but remain above eight percent of the total value of its assets determined on a risk-adjusted basis, the Central Bank may grant the institution such period of time of up to one year as, in the circumstances, it considers reasonable to enable the institution to make good the deficiency.

[S 23(5) am by s 2(i)(iv) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

24. Reserve fund.

(1) Every financial institution shall maintain a reserve fund and shall, out of the net profits of each year, before any dividend is declared or any profits are transferred to the head office or elsewhere, transfer to that reserve fund a sum equivalent to not less than 20 percent of those profits until the amount of the reserve fund is equal to the paid-up or assigned capital, as the case may be.

(2) The Central Bank shall from time to time determine the method of computing the amount and form of the reserve fund.

(3) The reserve fund shall neither be reduced nor impaired, except that the Central Bank may, by regulations, specify circumstances in which it may be reduced.

25. Liquid assets.

(1) Every financial institution shall maintain liquid assets of an amount which shall not, as a daily average each month, be less than such percentage of the total of its liabilities as may from time to time be prescribed by the Central Bank.

(2) The Central Bank may, by notice in writing, require of any financial institution such reports as the Central Bank considers necessary for the purpose of ensuring compliance with subsection (1).

(3) Any financial institution which contravenes subsection (1) shall, within such time as may be determined by the Central Bank, pay to the Central Bank a charge at an annual rate determined by the Central Bank not exceeding twice the rate which the Central Bank considers to be the highest effective rate of interest charged by that financial institution to any of its customers during the period of the deficiency.

(4) A charge under subsection (3) shall be imposed for each day on which the deficiency occurs.

26. Local assets.

(1) Every financial institution shall maintain assets consisting of claims payable in Seychelles rupees and other assets situated in Seychelles in such minimum proportion of its deposits and similar liabilities payable in Seychelles as the Central Bank may prescribe by regulation.

(2) Central Bank may impose a charge on any financial institution which fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (1) within such reasonable time as the Central Bank may determine, not exceeding twice the highest effective annual rate of interest charged by that financial institution to any of its customers during the period of the deficiency.

(3) The charge mentioned in subsection (2) shall be imposed for each day on which the deficiency occurs.

27. Foreign currency exposure.

The Central Bank may prescribe by regulation the maximum net open position which financial institutions may hold in any specified foreign currency or currencies.

28. Loan classification.

The Central Bank may prescribe by regulation the requirements concerning the classification and evaluation of assets and provisions to be made on the basis of such classification and evaluation against doubtful and non-performing loans, and the time when earnings on non-performing loans may no longer be accounted for as income except as received in cash.

29. Credit Concentration.

[Rep and subs by s 2(j)(i) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(1) No financial institution shall without the prior written approval of the Central Bank extend one or more credits to any one customer or group of closely-related customers for amounts aggregating more than 25 percent of such financial institution's core capital or such lower percentage as the Central Bank may prescribe.

[S 29(1) am by s 2(j)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009.]

(2) The aggregate amount of such credit concentration under subsection (1) may not exceed 600 percent of the financial institution's core capital, or such lower percentage as the Central Bank may determine.

[S 29(2) am by s 2(j)(ii) and (iii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f.
20 July 2009.]

(3) For the purposes of this section, the Central Bank may issue guidelines to financial institutions clarifying who is considered a customer and group of closely-related customers, including credit, computation of credit concentration and factors to be taken into account by the Central Bank in granting or refusing to grant an approval.

[S 29(3) rep and subs by s 2(j)(iv) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(4) This section does not apply to—

(a) a transaction with, or guaranteed by, the Government or a foreign Government;

(b) a transaction with a public authority;

(c) a transaction between financial institutions with a maturity of one year or less;

(d) the purchase of telegraphic transfers or accommodation granted against telegraphic transfers;

(e) the purchase of bills of exchange or documents of title to goods where the holder of those bills or documents is entitled to payment outside Seychelles for exports from Seychelles with a maturity of one year or less bearing the signature of another financial institution, or an accommodation granted against those bills or documents.

30. Connected lending.

(1) No financial institution shall extend credits to—

(a) an administrator of such institution or its close relation; or

(b) any company or undertaking in which an administrator of the financial institution or its close relation has a substantial interest, unless such credit is granted on terms and conditions as approved by the board of that financial institution.

[S 30(1)(b) rep and subs by s 2(k)(i) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(2) The aggregate of all credits made pursuant to subsection (1) shall not exceed 10 percent of the financial institution's core capital, subject to the limit specified in subsection (5).

[S 30(2) am by s 2(k)(ii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(3) No financial institution shall extend credits to—

(a) a person holding a substantial interest in such institution or that person's close relation; or

(b) any company or undertaking in which a person referred to in paragraph (a) or that person's close relation has a substantial interest, unless such credit is granted on terms and conditions as approved at a meetings of the Boards of Directors of that financial institution,

unless such credit is granted on terms and conditions as approved at a meeting of the board of directors of that financial institution.

[S 30(3) am by s 2(k)(iii) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(4) The aggregate of all credits made pursuant to subsection (3) shall not exceed 20 percent of the financial institution's core capital, subject to the limit specified in subsection (5).

[S 30(4) am by s 2(k)(iv) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(5) The aggregate of all credits made pursuant to subsections (1) and (3) shall not exceed 25 percent of the financial institution's core capital.

[S 30(5) am by s 2(k)(iv) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(6) The financial institution shall regularly submit to the Central Bank a statement detailing the credits made pursuant to subsections (1) and (3).

(7) ...

[S 30(7) rep by s 2(k)(v) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

31. Restriction on payment of dividend.

A local financial institution shall not pay any dividend on its shares and a foreign financial institution shall not transfer overseas any profits earned in Seychelles, unless the Central Bank is satisfied, that—

(a) all capitalised expenses and items of expenditure not represented by tangible assets have been written off;

(b) the payment of dividend or any other transfer from profits will not cause the bank to be in contravention of the requirement in capital adequacy, reserve fund, liquidity or any other prudential requirement deemed relevant or likely to impair the future capital adequacy or liquidity of the bank; and

(c) provisions have been made in respect of impaired credits.

[S 31 rep and subs by s 2(h) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f.
27 December 2011.]

32. Other prudential requirements.

The Central Bank may prescribe by regulation other prudential requirements regarding credits, investments, matching as to maturity and interest, maximum ratios and exposures concerning the assets, risk-weighted assets and off-balance sheet items and various categories of capital and reserves to be maintained by financial institutions.

33. Application on consolidated basis.

The Central Bank may prescribe by regulation the rules for the application of the prudential requirements set out in this Part to a financial institution and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.

34. Other duties.

It shall be the duty of every financial institution to ensure that—

(a) the systems of loan classification and provisioning as prescribed by the Central Bank are applied properly;

(b) adequate measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing are adopted and implemented according to the law.

PART IV

ACCOUNTS, AUDIT, INFORMATION AND INSPECTION

35. Annual balance sheet, etc.

(1) At the expiration of each calendar year—

(a) every local financial institution in respect of all business transacted by it in or outside Seychelles; and

(b) every foreign financial institution in respect of all business transacted by or through its branches in Seychelles,

shall prepare, with reference to that year, in accordance with an internationally recognised financial reporting framework, a balance sheet as of the last working day of that year and a profit and loss account and cash flow statement in respect of that year.

[S 35(1) am by s 2(l) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(2) The balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statement of every financial institution shall give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of that institution as at the end of the calendar year to which the accounts relate.

(3) The Central Bank may prescribe accounting rules for the preparation of accounts of financial institutions.

(4) The Central Bank may give directions as to the matters to be shown in the balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statement—

(a) by way of a note;

(b) in a statement or report to be annexed.

36. Audit.

(1) Every financial institution shall appoint annually an auditor to audit its accounts and such appointment shall be subject to the approval of the Central Bank. The auditor shall be independent, experienced in the audit of financial institutions, a member of a body of accountants (whether established in or outside Seychelles), and have the necessary resources to undertake audits of financial institutions on a consolidated basis as determined by the Central Bank.

(2) No financial institution shall appoint the same auditor continuously for a period of more than five years without an exemption granted by the Central Bank.

(2a) A financial institution shall, upon a change of its auditor, notify the Central Bank of the change within 21 days and, if so required by the Central Bank, the reasons for the change.

[S 36(2a) ins by s 2(m) of Act 11 of 2009 w.e.f. 20 July 2009.]

(3) If a financial institution fails to appoint an auditor satisfactory to the Central Bank, the Central Bank shall have the power to appoint such an auditor.

(4) The remuneration of the auditor, whether appointed by the financial institution or by the Central Bank, shall be paid by the financial institution concerned, and in the case of an auditor appointed by the Central Bank in terms of subsection (3) or (9), shall be of such amount as the Central Bank may determine.

(5) The auditor shall—

(a) in the case of a local financial institution, make a report to its shareholders; or

(b) in the case of a foreign financial institution, make a report to its head office, on the financial statements, annual balance sheet, profit and loss account and accounts.

(6) In the auditor's report, which shall be completed not more than three months after the end of the financial year, the auditor shall state—

(a) whether in the auditor's opinion the balance sheet, profit and loss account and cash flow statement are complete and fair and properly drawn up;

(b) whether they exhibit a true and fair view of the financial institution's affairs;

(c) whether fiduciary duties are being administered in accordance with the law; and

(d) if the auditor has called for explanation or information from the administrators, employees or agents of the institution, whether that explanation or information is satisfactory.

(7) The report of the auditor—

(a) in the case of a local financial institution, shall be read, together with the report of the directors of the financial institution, at the annual meeting of shareholders;

(b) in the case of a foreign financial institution, shall be transmitted to the head office.

(8) A copy of the auditor's report shall be sent to the Central Bank by the financial institution not later than 30 days after it becomes available, and within four months after the end of the financial year at the latest.

[S 36(8) am by s 2(i) of Act 23 of 2011 w.e.f. 27 December 2011.]

(9) Where the Central Bank is not satisfied with the auditor's report it may require the appointment within a specified time of another auditor who shall make a new report.

(10) The Central Bank may impose on an auditor, in addition to any duty specified in subsection (6), a duty to—

(a) submit to the Central Bank such additional information in relation to the audit as the Central Bank considers necessary;

(b) submit a report, carry out any other examination or establish any procedure if required by the Central Bank;

(c) submit to the Central Bank a report on the financial and accounting systems and internal controls of the financial institution.

(11) Where in the course of performing functions under this Act an auditor becomes aware of transactions or conditions in a financial institution that may affect its safe and sound operations and the auditor has reasons to believe that—

(a) there has been a material change in the risks inherent in the business of the financial institution with the potential to affect its ability to continue safe and sound operations;

(b) there has been a serious violation of any of the provisions of this Act, in particular with regard to the protection of depositors' and creditors' interests;

(c) a serious criminal offence involving fraud or other dishonesty has been or is likely to be committed;

(d) measures to prevent money laundering or terrorist financing are not being properly implemented; and

(e) the paid-up capital or assigned capital, as the case may be, of the financial institution has been reduced by 50 percent or more, the auditor shall immediately report the matter in writing to the Central Bank. Such report shall not be construed as a breach of professional confidentiality obligations.

37. Audit committee.

(1) Every local financial institution licenced to conduct banking business shall establish an audit committee. The audit committee shall consist of not less than two members one of whom shall be a non-executive director of the financial institution. No member of the audit committee shall be a director exercising an executive function or a managing director or manager in the bank. For a foreign financial institution, a similar representative organ may carry out the functions of an audit committee and report to the managing agent in Seychelles.

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