Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 4th 2016 Contents This country is ranked 42 out
of 55 in the Global Services
Location Index report ahead
of its Caricom counterpart
Jamaica, which scored 43.
The report, which was crafted by London-
based global management consulting firm AT
Kearney, was released on January 10 and
included T&T for the first time as being a
location in which to invest. It explores the top
countries in the global Business Process Out-
sourcing (BPO) market. The countries are
judged based on financial attractiveness, people
skills, availability and business environment.
On Monday, Varun Maharaj, chief executive,
International Financial Centre (IFC), spoke to
the Business Guardian at the entity s head-
quarters at the Waterfront on Wrightson Road
in Port-of-Spain, about the benefits of being
ranked on the report.
Asked why was T&T not included in the
report before Maharaj said, "We just never
went out there to market T&T as having that
potential to provide these high-end services."
Maharaj said the ranking puts T&T s BPO
industry into the spotlight for investors to
come to T&T.
"The changes that are happening in the
industry: is there a focus on high-end services
like finance, accounting. You are looking for
bright people who have skills in mathematics,
finance and other things. We (T&T) have been
putting out a significant number of graduates
from our university. The write-up in the report
speaks of the attractiveness of T&T in terms
of its people and skills ability."
According to the report---published on its
Web site at kearney.com---T&T "is one of the
largest sources of native English-speaking
talent in the western hemisphere (outside of
Canada and the United States). Add to those
advantages, a strong telecommunications infra-
structure, a near-shore location to the United
States, and a host of tax incentives, and it
becomes easy to understand why Canada s
Scotiabank runs its Caribbean finance and
administration service operations from T&T
and why Delta Airlines also operates a contact
centre in the country."
Describing the ranking as "good" Maharaj
said only the performance of the top 55 are
"We ve just entered and we are at 42; we
are not right at the bottom. We are ahead of
certain countries which have been in the busi-
ness of providing these services for a long
time-speaks a lot....
"We have been ranked ahead of such
economies as Ireland, Jamaica, Canada. Canada
has a very vibrant financial institutions support
service industry located in Halifax. They pro-
vide significant tax incentives to get people
to locate in Halifax. To think that T&T was
ranked ahead of that country speaks volumes
of what the world out there sees in terms of
the potential for T&T. And, by extension, the
potential for this industry to diversify the
Maharaj confirmed that two high-powered
delegation teams will visit this country to
explore possible opportunities here as well as
to look at possible sites to set up their oper-
"Next month, we expect an inward dele-
gation. We ve received calls and we are trying
to put together an agenda to have an inward
delegation into T&T where we would have
firms coming from India and North Ameri-
"You are looking at insurance and banking
(companies from North America) from India
it s the international providers tele-performer,
Tech Mahindra. Having seen this ranking they
are coming for a proof of concept. T&T has
been ranked objectively by people who rank
locations. Now, let us go and see what exists
on the ground."
Maharaj assured that hosting delegations
of this nature is not unusual for the entity as
it has "built up institutional knowledge in that
area" throughout its existence.
What is clear, Maharaj said, is the members
of the delegation who would be here for a few
days would be meeting stakeholders from sec-
tors such as telecom, IT and other sectors.
The delegation is also expected to meet Min-
ister of Finance Colm Imbert and Trade Min-
ister Paula Gopee Scoon.
He also confirmed that a team from AT
Kearney visited T&T January 2015 and were
then able to do an assessment and rank T&T.
Overall, India is ranked number one in the
report, Maharaj said. "It s because of the type
of graduates the country produces: engineers
In 2011, the board of TTIFC was installed
with Ram Ramesh as the chief executive. Since
then, Maharaj said the TTIFC was able to
assist Scotiabank with setting up its BPO.
"Scotia established itself here with 500 jobs
and the potential to create another 500. They
expended close to TT$100 million to do middle
and back office processing," Maharaj said.
In addition, he said TTIFC s work-in-
progress include two companies which have
the potential to "create a sizeable amount of
jobs and, hopefully, those would be announced
before the end of this quarter."
Maharaj did not want to disclose the names
of those two companies. However, he did say,
"they will be working with international
providers; they will be working with two big
institutions out of India."
Other achievements of which the IFC can
be proud include its work on a programme to
fill that vaccum as it relates to venture capital
funding. "We ve developed a comprehensive
programme, completed a study of T&T. We ve
looked at T&T versus developing economies.
That programme is called "Risk Capital" and
it has been submitted to the Ministry of
Finance. It has the potential to create an entirely
new cadre of entrepreneurs and innovation in
T&T which I think we need right now.
"If the programme is systematically followed,
and certain milestones are met, the programme
has the potential to create as many as 10,000
jobs over the next five years. And, possibly
contribute as much as $3 billion to GDP."
Maharaj said he expected to get response
from the Finance Ministry soon.
FEBRUARY 4 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
T&T ranks: 42 out of 55
...top investment hotspot
Global Services Location Index report:
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