TOGY talks to
Financial side supportMay 22, 2017
TOGY talks to Richard P. Young, the chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC), about the market’s competitive advantages, the development of financial services for oil and gas companies in the country and the local expertise developed with the presence of the hydrocarbons industry.
The state-run TTIFC investment promotion agency seeks to leverage local expertise in oil and gas accounting and finance to create a financial services centre in the country, as well as develop the financial and capital market.
• On the benefits of Trinidad and Tobago: “Trinidad and Tobago is an attractive market considering the number of English-speaking people, the business and accounting graduates and the inexpensive infrastructural costs.”
• On development of a financial hub: “We know that Trinidad and Tobago has a wealth of experience in the finance and accounting area, particularly in energy since we have been in oil and gas for more than 100 years. This means that we have developed a cadre of professionals who understand finance and accounting in the energy sector.”
• On local expertise: “Because of our long history in oil and gas, we have expertise in the hydrocarbons industry, including on the procurement and commercial side, where we also have expertise in production-sharing contracts.”
Richard P. Young went in depth about the development of an oil and gas financial services centre in the country, the emergence of the energy industry in Guyana and China’s role in infrastructure funding in the region. Most TOGY interviews are published exclusively on our business intelligence platform TOGYiN, but you can find an abridged version of the interview with Richard P. Young below.
What areas has your organisation been focusing on over the past year?
Work continues on establishing Trinidad and Tobago as the leading international financial centre in the region. We are actively seeking to attract financial institutions from China, as well as other countries. We are also putting in place the ideal legislative and commercial framework that will create the right environment for financial institutions to conduct various types of business in the most efficient manner. Over the last year, we have increased our focus on building the business process outsourcing industry, which remains one of our key mandates.
How are you targeting collaboration with the energy industry?
We know that Trinidad and Tobago has a wealth of experience in the finance and accounting area, particularly in energy since we have been in oil and gas for more than 100 years. This means that we have developed a cadre of professionals who understand finance and accounting in the energy sector. There is no reason why Port of Spain cannot be a hub to provide those services. Faced with this golden opportunity, it is something that we are now trying to conceptualise to see if we can make it a reality.
What expectations do you have regarding close neighbouring countries such as Guyana?
At the governmental level, we are trying to see how best to partner with Guyana to help develop their energy sector. Recent successful exploratory drilling revealed that Guyana has one of the richest oil discoveries in decades. The TTIFC has conceptualised a project to provide BPO finance and accounting services to Guyana, which is being discussed with officials in the country.
What kind of relationship does China have with Trinidad and Tobago?
In 2013, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and administration came to visit, which was a big feat for a small country like Trinidad and Tobago. It was unique because he had not visited any island but ours. During that visit, President Xi announced that the Chinese will allocate USD 3 billion in concessional financing to fund infrastructure projects in the Caribbean countries that have diplomatic ties with China.
As part of our plans for the Trinidad and Tobago IFC, we will approach Chinese financial institutions about establishing a presence. We hope that, given the long and well-established history that China has in Latin America and the Caribbean, Chinese financial institutions will want to have a presence in the region and that they will choose to set up in Trinidad and Tobago. I know they would want to expand that existing relationship with our government.
For the full version of this interview and more information on TTIFC, such as its partnership with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, see our business intelligence platform, TOGYiN.
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