In March 1999, Cheryl Bazard (a former Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrate, Legal Counsel with the Attorney General's Office and private practitioner), Compliance Officer for CIBC (Bahamas) Limited, being relatively new to the compliance function invited Compliance Officers to explore networking opportunities amongst each other and to promote a culture of compliance within their institutions. The primary aim of this alliance of Compliance Officers was to provide a support mechanism to those who had the responsibility for "compliance" in its many permutations within their respective institutions.
The inaugural meeting of the proposed Association was held on 26th April, 1999 and was attended by not only Compliance Officers from a cross-section of financial institutions, but also lawyers from the Attorney General's (AG's) Office and members of the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, who at the time processed suspicious transaction reports. After open discussion amongst the Compliance Officers, the Attorney General's Office and the DEU, it was decided that regulators and law enforcement officers would participate in the association by invitation only. The organization would provide a forum for Compliance Officers to freely discuss issues related to the execution of their duties and to network and educate themselves on issues of compliance. The association would maintain a close co-operative working relationship with the regulators and offer assistance in the review of relevant laws, procedures and best practice. Hence, the motto of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO).