Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2016 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 30 • 2016
Many of the international
participants at the T&T
ing Summit held on
June 15 were surprised
by the potential of T&T
to be an international financial centre, said
Varun Maharaj, CEO of the T&T International
Financial Centre (TTIFC).
"The visitors were surprised. They never
thought that a Caribbean country could have
such potential. We have a lot of talent in the
financial sector. T&T financial professionals
do work at first-world standards. T&T has a
great telecommunications infrastructure in
broadband and Internet penetration is high,"
he told the Business Guardian last Thursday
at the IFC, Tower D, International Financial
On June 15, the T&T Outsourcing Summit
took place with potential investors from around
the world able to gain insight on the progress
of T&T s IFC.
The conference was meant to profile T&T
as an important nearshore location of finance
and accounting (F&A) and business process
outsourcing (BPO) services in the western
hemisphere, as well as boost the confidence
of potential investors.
According to the TTIFC information pack-
age, it is projected that US$54 million will be
contributed to T&T s gross domestic product
(GDP) by developing the local F&A and BPO
The companies that took part in the con-
ference included: Tata Consulting Services
based in Toronto, Bank of America, Bank of
the West, Citibank, Euphoria Technologies
In all, there were 18 international companies
present with delegates at the conference.
There were also local companies including
Telecommunication Services (TSTT) that spoke
about T&T s infrastructure.
"There was even a presentation from the
person who ran the Scotia operation here. He
gave his experience."
Maharaj said the IFC has made progress in
meeting its goal of being a leading regional
"Scotia has outsourced a significant portion
of its work for the Caribbean to this centre
in Chaguanas. They have been in operations
since August 2013. The other one is the Royal
Bank of Canada which is on London Street."
Maharaj said T&T has a highly educated
population with approximately 70,000 people
in tertiary levels institutions and there are
about 7,000 graduates annually.
"I would say there are between 2,500 and
3,000 people who would graduate with qual-
ifications related to the financial industry."
He said the financial industry in T&T con-
tributes 11 to 12 per cent of the country s GDP
and the TTIFC would like to see that move
to between 15 and 20 per cent in five years.
"I think it is realistic once we pursue this
in a consistent and disciplined fashion."
He said the drive to increase the number
of people employed in the provision of financial
services shows the importance of diversifying
the economy as T&T can no longer remain
reliant on oil and gas revenue.
"If T&T waits any longer---and it appears
as if there is going to be a temporary buoyancy
in the price of oil possible towards the end of
this year---then the country may not pay atten-
tion to diversification as we should. So I think
the time is now. We need to get going and
Maharaj said TTIFC will continue engaging
the participants who were in T&T for the out-
sourcing summit and he is optimistic of closing
"We have categorised the interest in terms
of short-, medium- and long-term interests.
We are going to engage those with a short-
term interests regularly by teleconferencing
and other means. There are international con-
sultants who have put out literature which
indicates that when offer a conference like
this, for every 20 delegates you have, you may
have five showing keen interest and, out of
those five, you will be able to close one deal
in two years---you have done well. We want
to do much better than that," he said.
He said there is a fight for investment and
there has been a disruption in the international
"What has happened in the BPO industry
is that some of the traditional players are falling
by the wayside and the companies that are
coming to the fore are more software com-
panies with a BPO practice, rather than core
BPO. So, we are seeing automation, robotics;
the higher end work is becoming more impor-
tant. That is where our focus is."
Caribbean's financial capital
Maharaj stressed that T&T is already the
Caribbean s financial capital and, by positioning
T&T as an international financial centre, this
is just taking T&T s role to another level.
"T&T has been the country which has struc-
tured and raised capital for governments and
corporations in the region in excess of US$10
billion over the last eight to nine years. That
tells you the sophistication of our financial
services sector. All the way north to the
Bahamas, and all the way south to Suriname,
T&T has done investment banking deals."
He said that Jamaica has been in the BPO
industry for over ten years but this has mainly
been in the call centre sector, which is really
the lower end of the industry.
"They are now moving into higher end of
work in accounting and other areas. But I
believe how they have positioned themselves
in the long term, they may experience certain
challenges in their BPO industry. The call cen-
tres they have experience in is now being auto-
He said the TTIFC is creating legislation in
T&T that will see the corporation as the only
one of its kind in the region.
"It is similar to Dubai s. This model calls
for a special economic zone (SEZ) which will
have its own rules. There will be a financial
services regulator. There will also be a quasi
court which will adjudicate on those rules and
there will be a business development arm."
He said the financial legislation is in draft
form to be reviewed both by the Ministry of
Finance and the Attorney General s Office,
then it will move on to Parliament.
"The Minister of Finance in his mid-year
review spoke about the IFC and rolling it out.
Now is the time to diversify the economy, we
cannot wait any longer."
IFC all set to make its mark
...Finds success at outsourcing summit
CEO of the T&T International Financial Centre.
PHOTO: DION ROACH
Links Archive June 29th 2016 July 1st 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page