Over the last decade the financial environment of Mauritius saw a few major changes largely reflecting international trends in deregulation and liberalisation as well as the globalisation of financial markets. Interest rates have been fully liberalised since 1987 and as of 1991 the Bank of Mauritius has embarked upon a programme of monetary policy reforms aimed at introducing effective open market operations. The emergence of a market-based financial sector was supported by continuing liberalisation of foreign exchange restrictions until their ultimate suspension in July 1994 - Mauritius then acceded to IMF Article VIII Status.
Today the financial system is comprised of an array of institutions including well-established commercial banks, insurance companies and a number of non-bank financial intermediaries.
The current banking regulatory framework has many robust elements, including reliance on solvency monitoring, international accounting standards, and actuarial methods. The legal framework for banking business is embodied in the Banking Act 1988. Under the Financial Services Development Act 2001, important amendments were made to section 46 of the Banking Act 1988 whereby Domestic Banks are now defined as Category 1 Banks having a Category 1 banking licence and offshore banks are now defined as Category 2 banks with a Category 2 banking licence. The banking legislation provides for prudential regulations with respect to banks' concentration of risk, weighted capital adequacy ratio, income recognition and clarification of loans and advances for provisioning purposes, maintenance of accounting and other records and internal control systems.
The banking sector in Mauritius currently includes 22 banks licensed by the central bank, the Bank of Mauritius. Of these, 5 are local banks, 10 are foreign-owned subsidiaries, 1 is a joint venture, 4 are branches of foreign banks and 2 are private banks.
Banks in Mauritius provide a wide variety of services, including: traditional banking; card-based payment services including credit and debit card internet banking; and mobile banking facilities. Several banks also provide specialised services such as: fund administration, trusteeship, custodial services, structured trade finance, structured lending, international portfolio management, investment banking, private client activities, and specialised finance. International banks offer a range of global banking and financial services to institutional, corporate and private clients.
There are several firms in Mauritius providing financial services including international public accounting and consultancy firms. They offer professional auditing, taxation, accounting services, management consultancy, company secretarial services, project management and so forth. Some of the international firms operating in Mauritius include Deloitte Mauritius, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Grant Thornton, PWC and BDO. The sector is regulated by the Financial Services Commission.