Premier Accounting Firms Merge, Bringing Together Leaders in Forensic, Audit, Litigation Support, Crypto Audits and Advisory Services as HLB Bahamas

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Two of the country’s most respected chartered accountants, each of whom has held a singular position of leadership in the profession and made their mark on the nation, have agreed to merge, bringing together human and intellectual capital to form HLB Bahamas effective May 1st.

The announcement came in the form of a joint statement by Dr. John Bain, President of UHY-Bain & Associates, and Philip C. Galanis, Managing Partner of HLB Galanis & Co.

“We believe this merger will significantly expand the firms’ combined service offerings to our existing and future clients and will greatly enhance our ability to create a one-stop shop for our clients’ financial needs,” the statement said. Among the services to be offered by the expanded firm are accounting, audit, corporate finance, forensic investigation, litigation support, business valuation and advisory
services.

In a combined 75 years of licensed practice in addition to significant civic involvement, both men have helped position The Bahamas as a global financial services provider. Reaching an agreement to merge, they said, was a practical, professional and personal natural course
between colleagues who enjoyed mutual respect, had once practiced together, carved parallel paths for years, always remaining friends and, “most importantly continue to share the same values and high standards.”

The larger firm, said Mr. Galanis and Dr. Bain, would not only benefit clients, it would also open the door to greater career opportunities for staff, all of whom will now function out of Caves Village Professional Centre, West Bay Street and Blake Road. Both men stressed ongoing dedication to attracting and retaining “high quality, committed professionals.”

An articulate spokesman who is credited with pioneering computerization of accounting, Mr. Galanis has held the top roles in his profession, serving as president of both the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean. Mr. Galanis is both a Certified Public Account and a Certified Valuation Analyst. He also served 15 years in Parliament, having been elected as a Member of Parliament and later serving two term as Senator. Presently, he is Chairman of the Bahamas Trade Commission and was chosen for his negotiating skills to represent The Bahamas in often tense and terse negotiations related to the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

Mr. Galanis is also a Trustee of the Board at Saint John’s University in Minnesota. Mr. Galanis, who has facilitated graduate level course work in entrepreneurship at a major centre in the U.S., is a sought-after speaker and panelist. He writes a thoughtful column that appears weekly in The Nassau Guardian.

Dr. John Bain, whose dissertation on the innovation of regulations against money laundering and cybercrimes in the gaming industry impacted the drafting of critical policy and legislation, has spent more than 35 years in the field of accounting. He holds certifications in six major areas including financial management, fraud examination, information systems audit, forensic accounting, public accounting and computer security analysis. He is one of only a handful of persons certified in asset recovery and is a master in financial forensic as well as holding a diploma in certified forensic accounting from the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. He has served as an audit partner, information system manager, project manager, forensic accountant, senior executive and business consultant. An adjunct professor at the University of The Bahamas, Dr. Bain did post graduate work at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the former senior vice president at National Bank of Canada, CFO of Lloyds (TSB) Bank & Trust and CFO of The Gaming Board for The Bahamas.

He has dedicated pro bono work to protection of the elderly from financial scams and abuse in financial elder abuse cases. In 2007, Dr. Bain received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the UK for his work in anti-money laundering, and his contribution to the accounting profession in The Bahamas. In 2019, he was named Alumni of the Year by the University of The Bahamas.

The partners said reaction among clients who were notified of the merger has been positive. “In some cases,” they said, “it has been ‘Well, it’s about time,’ ” Mr. Galanis said. “They were just happy we were keeping the phone numbers they already knew.”

According to Dr. Bain, the merger is timely because both member firms are involved in the audit of crypto companies and companies holding digital assets.

“We understand blockchain technology and its application to digital business in The Bahamas. As The Bahamas takes a leading role in cryptocurrencies with the DARE Act, we saw there merger as urgent to take advantage of the increased business that The Bahamas will no doubt attract to our shores, creating the need for accounting professionals who welcome innovation and understand technology.” Both former websites will continue to be active.