Invest TCI is facilitating the development of the Financial services sector to build a diversified economy and ensure longevity for the next generation. It is crucial Turks and Caicos Islanders understand and embrace this emerging landscape and begin to take steps to ensure their inclusion. The first step is access to information and providing a better understanding of the sector. Invest TCI will be publishing a series of ten articles on the potential for financial services in the TCI to bring more light on this sector so that as we embark on this ambitious program to develop this industry and in turn the country, Turks & Caicos Islanders will be part of this.

As Turks and Caicos Islanders we are rightly concerned with our national identity.  It not only shapes the perception of those on the outside about who you are but more importantly knowing your identity offers a true understanding of yourself, what you represent and ultimately your purpose in life.  It is a well-known fact that the TCI has proudly emerged over the last 25 years as one of the most elite tourist destinations in the world. It was even quoted in a recent Spears breakfast in London hosted by Invest TCI that the country is the ‘tourism Mecca’ for the high net worth (‘HNW’) community. An earned compliment, and a status that must be guarded and nurtured ,  but this is by no means all we can be. What if we could establish a global identity beyond the status quo of crystal-clear beaches? An identity that also solidifies us in the financial world, adding a second, diversified string to our hospitality bow? If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that a vacation is an early casualty in a global crisis. Our recently empty beaches are proof of that. What hasn’t become an afterthought is the management of one’s wealth and assets. It’s even more of a priority in this economic climate. Financial services have continued. Now, imagine as a country playing a role in the economic and financial affairs of the most important individuals in the world. Our country now has an additional value-added purpose to offer them, alongside vacation and leisure. This purpose can open doors that would otherwise remain closed if the initiative to utilize our potential as an international financial center (‘IFC’) is not taken.

We can have a brand both as a high-end tourist destination and also as an IFC. A combination of a beautiful by nature, high end tourist product driving our economy together with a globally sound, responsible and expert financial services industry led by a highly skilled and intelligent workforce. Both sectors need a high-quality workforce and high standards. Therefore, our identity on the world stage will accurately reflect the high quality and high standards of our reputation and offer as a tourism destination and as an IFC. Financial services offer an elegant counterpart to our tourist industry, so we not only have an opportunity to be more diverse and balanced as an economy but also be taken more seriously as a nation.

The Bigger Picture

By molding an identity beyond tourism, we are molding an image in the minds of those that haven’t yet visited TCI of a nation that offers more than just natural beauty. Importantly, an identity as a financial center presents an opportunity for our school leavers to be a part of a sector that is currently unknown to them. A FS identity opens a new professional door for our youth to explore and offers them options for the future. Young persons considering potential career prospects aren’t confined to hospitality but can undertake work experience in a financial services firm, learn about the sector in school and see it as part of their country’s DNA. An identity as a financial services center presents hope and possibility to younger persons who want to contribute to the advancement of the country  and who want to work in financial and professional services.

Pursuing skills in this sector equips TC Islanders to be able to work in any major world economy and add direct value to their employer. Asset managers, hedge fund managers, brokers, investment dealers, financial analysts, trust officers and the like are all professions that are relevant in any financial center across the globe.  The development of this sector in TCI offers a stepping stone to numerous global opportunities. Children will be taught about financial services and its roles in schools to help them have a greater chance to pursue and succeed in a highly skilled sector. The promotion of financial services to the younger generation will shape their mindsets to be guided to work towards careers such as these. It is by understanding new concepts and skills and being able to apply these skills to advance the country and solve outstanding issues that will offer a positive cycle of personal development, global relevance and nation building for the next generation.

 

Conclusion

We now understand how identity plays a role in big picture thinking when it comes to us as a people, our advancement and our future self-image. How are we viewed by the rest of the world? Our strength as a nation globally will be vastly enhanced with a strong financial services identity. High net worth individuals who visit  for vacations may consider greater investment in our economy. Investment is not limited to just physical developments, and the hospitality industry.  Solidifying ourselves as a financial services hub in turn also offers credibility for further investment in the country in other sectors. An obvious comparison is the evident opportunity for advancement and the quality of everyday living in more developed overseas territories such as Bermuda and Cayman by comparison to TCI. The developments in FS in those countries have not only led to greater exposure for their citizens to the real world, but also the ability  to be part of a globally relevant sector. A strong FS sector in TCI will offer new experiences, a shift in mindset and more career options for the next generation of TCI Islanders. The development of any sector is an economic means to an end. Invest TCI is committed to delivering the end goal of greater prosperity and advancement for TCI society to the benefit of all its citizens.

 

Benjamin Durham

Invest TCI Business Analyst

 

Benjamin is a Turks & Caicos Islander who has recently returned home after studying and working in London for the past 11 years. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics and an LLM in financial law. He is currently employed by Invest TCI as its Business Analyst, and to also assist in promoting and marketing the TCI financial services industry.