Panama’s financial sector has become increasingly attractive to international businesses and foreign investors due to its strategic location, business-friendly environment, and the use of the US dollar as its official currency. As an essential hub for global trade and commerce, Panama has developed a diverse financial sector encompassing banking, insurance, asset management, capital markets, and fintech, all of which contribute to the overall growth and diversification of the national economy. The country’s advanced infrastructure, competitive tax regime, and skilled workforce have further enhanced its appeal to businesses seeking to establish a presence in the region.
To ensure the stability, transparency, and integrity of its financial sector, Panama has implemented a regulatory framework that balances the need for growth and innovation with the protection of consumers and investors, as well as the mitigation of systemic risks. Panama’s financial regulatory system emphasizes the importance of cooperation and information sharing among domestic supervisory authorities, as well as between Panamanian regulators and their international counterparts. In recent years, Panama has taken significant steps to strengthen its financial regulation, including adopting international standards and best practices to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The principal financial regulators in Panama and their primary responsibilities are as follows:
Superintendencia de Bancos de Panamá (SBP, Superintendency of Banks of Panama): The SBP is the primary regulatory body for Panama’s banking sector, responsible for licensing and supervising banks, trust companies, and financial groups. It also enforces compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and promotes transparency and fair competition within the banking sector.
Superintendencia del Mercado de Valores (SMV, Superintendency of the Securities Market): The SMV is responsible for regulating and supervising the securities market in Panama, including the issuance, trading, and disclosure of securities. Its primary duties include licensing and supervising financial intermediaries, enforcing compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and promoting transparency and fair competition within the securities sector.
Superintendencia de Seguros y Reaseguros de Panamá (SSRP, Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance of Panama): The SSRP is the regulatory authority for the insurance and reinsurance sectors, responsible for ensuring the solvency, financial stability, and compliance of insurance and reinsurance companies, as well as intermediaries. The SSRP also enforces consumer protection measures and promotes transparency within the insurance market.
Unidad de Análisis Financiero (UAF, Financial Analysis Unit): The UAF is responsible for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other forms of financial crime. It collects, analyzes, and disseminates financial intelligence to domestic and international partners, working closely with law enforcement agencies and other supervisory authorities.