HLB Bahamas Celebrates its 25th Anniversary, Welcomes New Partners

HLB partners with regional team celebrate the company’s 25th Anniversary. Pictured (l-r): Top row: HLB Bahamas, Advisory Partner, John Bain; HLB International Director, Brendan Quirk; HLB Bahamas, Managing Partner, Philip Galanis; Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Philip Davis; Minister of Economic Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Auditor General, Terrance Bastian, and Quincy Sands. Bottom row: Anita Bain; HLB Paris Audit Partner, Bettina Cassegrain; HLB Bahamas, Audit Partner, Shoneva Abraham; Tonya Bastian Galanis; wife of the Prime Minister, Ann-Marie Davis; HLB Bahamas, Accounting and Tax Partner, Rae Turnquest; HLB Cayman Islands Audit Partner, Angela Pretorius. (Photo by Cay Focus Photography.) 

Calling it “a firm that has electrified the financial sector with its striking agility, expertise and ability to deliver,” Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis congratulated HLB Bahamas as hundreds gathered to celebrate the boutique accounting, tax and advisory services firm’s 25th anniversary and news of its ownership expansion with two new partners, both women.  

The introduction of partners Shoneva Abraham and Rae Turnquest at the anniversary celebration at Balmoral in Nassau also provided a look at the impact of the firm’s founding partners on the accounting profession. Former Attorney General Sean McWeeney, who offered the champagne toast at the well-attended event, recalled the long days and nights over three decades when he and HLB Bahamas founding partner Philip Galanis drafted and refined accounting services legislation.  

That legislation continues to govern an industry which nearly every business in The Bahamas relies on today.  

From those days through the present, the profession itself evolved dramatically, growing in dimension, size and depth. Its once largely foreign-dominated offices and partnerships are now occupied mostly by Bahamians. Its services now go beyond looking at the bottom line to helping businesses shape that line, what they stand for in the community, the footprint they leave on the community and the all—important creation of a succession plan.  

Yet few —  if any — other firms have had a Bahamian at the helm playing a leadership role in an industry-wide capacity for a quarter of a century.  

“Since its founding in 1998, HLB Bahamas has undergone an impressive metamorphosis in size, scope and capacity,” the prime minister told business, civic and political leaders and dignitaries who packed the ballroom for the recent event.  

Noting that partners Philip Galanis and John Bain, Ph.D. had a combined total of more than 75 years expertise, the prime minister complimented them on growing a firm that evolved from “predominantly audit and accounting practice to one furnishing tax, public sector and corporate services to a broad cross-section of domestic and international clients.” 

One of the largest areas of growth has been under partner Shoneva Abraham, Galanis said, describing her as someone who ‘loved’ audits.  

“When Shoneva joined the firm, we had a handful of audit clients with most of the firm’s business in accounting and consulting services,” Galanis said. “Today, she can boast of having more than 120 audits in a vast range of industries, including financial services, health care, real estate investment funds, government, aviation and non-profit entities.”  

When now partner Rae Turnquest joined the firm she wanted everything to do with accounting that did not include audit. Thanks to what Galanis dubbed Turnquest’s “enormous capacity to get things done,” she has been able to guide, manage and oversee a broad range of responsibilities from accounting and tax matters to human resources and internal quality control. 

Galanis praised John Bain, the partner he first he first took on in 2006 when the company was known as HLB Galanis Bain & Co., a year before it became HLB Galanis & Co. Three years later, Bain left to pursue other interests and later joined London-based UHY bringing that accounting practice to The Bahamas. Following the COVID 19 pandemic, the two old friends who had maintained a mutual respect merged, forming HLB Bahamas in May 2022.  

“The merge between UHY Bain & Associates and HLB Galanis & Co. was one of the most transformative and impactful changes in the firms 25-year history,” said Galanis, noting that Bain is the only Bahamian certified or chartered accountant to hold a Ph.D., calling it “a notable accomplishment for one who had hailed from very humble beginnings.” Bain is also thought to hold the highest number of certifications in the industry. Galanis credited Bain with bringing ‘enormous gains’ to the company.  

It was a dynamic partnership acknowledged by the prime minister.  

“Moving forward, I am confident that Phil and John’s professional union will not only propel HLB Bahamas to new heights,” said the PM, “but that their example will inspire the entire financial services sector to tirelessly pursue and practice excellence.”  

Among those who flew in for the event were executives from HLB Global offices in New York, Paris and Turks and Caicos, where the local HLB Bahamas has accounting and corporate services offices. Others attending included several Cabinet ministers, Executive Director of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas Christina Rolle, Auditor General Terrance Bastian, CFAL Chairman Anthony Ferguson and numerous prominent business leaders.  

Source: DPA News

More photo highlights below:

Designer Lowree Tynes, grabs a selfie with HLB Bahamas founding partner Philip Galanis and new partners Rae Turnquest and Shoneva Abraham during the firm’s recent 25th anniversary celebration attended by hundreds at Balmoral.  (Photo by Cay Focus Photography) 

Businessman Craig Flowers with new HLB Bahamas partners, Audit Partner Shoneva Abraham, left, and Accounting and Tax Partner Rae Turnquest. (Photo by Fabian Photography.)

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Philip ‘Brave’ Davis commends HLB Bahamas during its recent 25th anniversary celebration, saying the firm ‘electrified the financial sector with its striking agility, expertise and ability to deliver.’ (Photo by Fabian Photography) 

Prime Minister Philip Davis and wife, Ann-Marie Davis, centre, congratulate Shoneva Abraham, 2nd from left, and Rae Turnquest, 2nd from right. Both women were named partners in HLB Bahamas with the announcement coming during a festive 25-year anniversary of the firm founded by Phil Galanis, far left, in 1998 when few accounting firms were headed by Bahamians. Far right is partner and forensic audit specialist John Bain, Ph.D., the man believed to hold the highest certification in the industry. (Photo by Cay Focus Photography.)