Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 30th 2014 Contents BG8 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JANUARY 2014 • WEEK FIVE
Danny Montano, the senior partner and founder
of a mid-level local firm of accountants and
business advisors, says they have benefitted
from their association with the global accounting
firm Baker Tilly International.
The local firm, which Montano formed as a sole proprietorship
in 1979, became Baker Tilly Montano Ramcharitar in 2009,
said Montano in an interview earlier this month.
"It means that we are able to attract larger clients. Baker
Tilly International has brought credibility and quality assurance
to our practice. Our association with them has also meant
that we are able to attract quality staff as young accountants
are attracted to firms that carry an international brand," said
The local firm, which Montano formed as a sole proprietorship
in 1979, became Baker Tilly Montano Ramcharitar in 2009.
Montano approached Baker Tilly International the previous
year. He described the process of becoming a member firm
of Baker Tilly International as rigorous as it involved an audit
of their operations, as well as training of their staff and a
The interview was held at the firm's offices, which are
located on Queen St in Port-of-Spain, adjacent to the Richmond
The focus of the interview was Geoff Barnes, CEO and pres-
ident of Baker Tilly International, who said that the firm,
which is headquartered in London, was looking for "an ambi-
tious, professionally astute mid-level firm."
Baker Tilly International is an umbrella organisation for
about 156 firms in 131 countries. It is the world's eighth largest
accountancy and business advisory network by combined fee
income of its independent members.
Barnes said global revenues totalled $3.5 billion in 2013,
with 42 per cent of the fees coming from North America, 40
per cent from the European Union, including the Middle East
And Africa, 16 per cent from the Asia Pacific and 2 per cent
from Latin America, which includes the Caribbean.
About 26,000 people are employed by Baker Tilly Inter-
national member firms worldwide.
As do many of the larger professional service firms, Baker
Tilly International provides a broad range of audit, accounting,
taxation and consultancy services to enterprises and organ-
isations around the world.
Barnes said the one of the advantages of the local firm's
relationship with the global umbrella grouping is that there
is an insistence on a high standard of work. He said one of
the London-based executives visits each member firms at
least every two or three years.
Baker Tilly Montano Ramcharitar currently has two partners
and 18 professionals. The international benchmark is between
eight and ten professionals per partner, said Barnes, pointing
out that Baker Tilly has about 400 partners in London.
Montano said his firm has been "fairly successful" in attract-
ing clients from the Big Two locally---PriceWaterhouseCoopers
and Ernst & Young. Montano added "The larger firms have
been here longer and they play an important role, but one of
the advantages of being a mid-level firm is that the client is
assured of a close relationship with the partners."
Montano served as a Cabinet Minister in the previous admin-
istration between 2001 and 2007. He was President of the
Senate between November 2007 and May 2010 and acted as
President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on a number
Barnes described Baker Tilly International as a "premier
player in the middle market" and said the firm is looking to
grow organically and by way of "opportunistic acquisitions."
The local firm's managing partner is Leslie Ramcharitar,
who joined the firm in 1993, qualified in 1995 and was admitted
to partnership in 2001.
Local accounting firm stronger
under global umbrella Geoff Barnes, CEO and president of Baker Tilly
International, centre, chats with Danny Montano,
left, and Leslie Ramcharitar, partners of the local
accounting firm Baker Tilly Montano Ramcharitar
Royal Bank of Canada yesterday announced that it had
entered into a definitive agreement to sell RBC Royal Bank
(Jamaica) Limited and RBTT Securities Jamaica Limited to
Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited.
In a statement that emanated from Toronto, where RBC
is based, Suresh Sookoo, CEO of RBC Caribbean is quoted
as saying: "Consistent with our strategy of being a competitive
leader in the markets where we operate, we determined after
a careful and thorough review that the best decision for the
long-term future success of RBC Jamaica was to sell it to
Sagicor. Sagicor is a well established financial franchise in
Jamaica with the size, scale and complementary capabilities
that RBC Jamaica does not currently possess."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions,
including regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalized
in the coming months.
While the statement did not disclose the financial terms
of the transaction, it said that the purchase price approximately
reflects the book value of RBC Jamaica.
A Bank of Jamaica document, which provides data on
Jamaica's commercial banks up to December 2013, revealed
that RBC Jamaica's book value was J$11.29 billion, which
amounts to about US$105 million.
In the statement, RBC said that it "expects the transaction
to result in an estimated loss of C$60 million (before and
after-tax) as a result of International Financial Reporting
Standards, largely related to an estimated writedown for the
proportionate share of RBC Jamaica goodwill and other intan-
gibles acquired by RBC in connection with its acquisition of
RBTT Financial Group in 2008."
RBC said the transaction is not expected to have a material
impact on RBC's Basel III Common Equity Tier 1 ratio.
"The loss is based on current estimates and is subject to
change and will be reflected in the results of the first quarter
ending January 31, 2014. RBC will release its first quarter
2014 results and host an earnings conference call on February
"RBC has operated in the Caribbean for over 100 years
and remains committed to this region. This transaction will
allow us to successfully reposition our Caribbean business
for the future and focus on regions where we have significant
market share," said Dave McKay, group head, Personal &
Commercial Banking, RBC. "We are focused on strengthening
our business performance, service and competitiveness in
markets where we can be a leading competitor over the long
Contacted for comment yesterday in Barbados, Sagicor's
president Dodridge Miller said the financial services company
was not ready to make a comment on the acquisition.
It appeared that he was not aware that a public statement
on the acquisition had been issued in Toronton yesterday
The Jamaica Gleaner reported yesterday that RBC was
"said to be cutting its losses in Jamaica and selling its banking
assets to Sagicor Group Jamaica."
The newspaper quoted sources as saying that RBC Royal
Bank Jamaica, formerly RBTT Bank Jamaica, will cease to
operate, marking a pullout of Jamaica. The existing RBC
Royal Bank branches will eventually rebrand as Sagicor Bank,
Wednesday Business was told.
The sale to Sagicor would nearly quadruple the assets of
Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited from $21 billion to around $78
billion and grow its small network of six branches to 19.
Sagicor Bank is currently the second-smallest of seven in
Jamaica's commercial banking arena, with three per cent of
According to the Gleaner, the sale of RBC Jamaica would
rid Royal Bank Canada of a lossmaker, which up to last year
had accumulated deficits of $6.9 billion (C$69 million).
To manage its losses, the bank shuttered four branches
last year, leaving 13 in operation. It then had about 44 auto-
mated teller machines in its network.
The bank has also been trying to shed bad loans and rebal-
ance its non-performing loan portfolio. RBC's total provisioning
for loan losses at last disclosure of industry data by the
central bank was $5.87 billion.
Two of the more high-profile underperforming loans were
made to the hotel/resort sector: one for the purchase of the
former Wyndham Kingston, and the other as co-financing
for the Palmyra condominium development in Montego Bay.
Both properties were placed in receivership and are the
subject of legal challenges. RBC Jamaica has struggled to sell
the former Wyndham hotel, which was put up for auction
and then withdrawn from the block last year.
Sagicor snaps up RBC Jamaica
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