Speech on the Future of Financial Services Industry in Seychelles

June 09, 2017

Chairperson of Seychelles Investment Board, Honourable Members of the National Assembly, Representatives of Central Bank of Seychelles, Representatives of Financial Services Authority, Representatives of the Commercial Banks, Representatives of the Offshore Industry, Representatives of the Insurance Industry, Representatives of the Bar Association, Distinguished Speakers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning. It is an honour and privilege to be invited to launch the Financial Services Industry Day. I am also delighted to join a group of distinguished speakers with an agenda to discuss the future of financial services industry in Seychelles.

The theme “Shaping for the Future” is indeed is a very pertinent, rich and topical issue at a time, when financial services all over the world are evolving at spectacular speed. The changes driving the modern banks are;

1. greater competition,

2. new regulations,

3. changing customer expectations,

4. new technology,

5. demographics, and

6. new operating models.

The challenges are clear. Banks and financial services firms in Seychelles need to get ahead of these challenges and reposition themselves, if they want to survive.There is an urgent need to do things differently. This is the way forward, and of course, our future depends on a modern financial system, if we are to make further economic progress. There should be “No if, but when”. At this point, I would like to congratulate the Chairperson, Members of the Board, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and management team of the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) for putting together such a comprehensive program within a short period of time. It is a reflection that we have talents in Seychelles, who can take our country to a new level of development.

In this modern era, the business of financial services is no longer a matter of balancing the books with debit and credit entries. It goes far beyond the mechanical accounting of the daily transactions. Under the Government’s strong economic leadership, banks and other financial services firms have the opportunity to shape the industry to their advantage. They should be ready to embrace new technologies, introduce innovation, and invest in quality infrastructure and human capital. No doubt, if Seychelles wants to grow, then the financial services industry will also need to grow. A strong and growing economy is important because of the job opportunities it provides for its citizen. Seychelles attractiveness as a 5-star tourist destination should not depend on its natural beauty alone, but the quality of its financial services and a stable economic climate. Financial services firms need to be more responsive, and flexible to execute their business model effectively.

I am sure that today’s forum focusing on: (1) innovation, (2) opportunities/compliance, and (3) legislation will generate a number of interesting points for discussion. I will allow our distinguished speakers to share their wealth of knowledge and experience on these 3 topics.The information revolution is not just changing consumers' preferences and behaviors. It is also changing industries by enabling new information-driven solutions that match consumer needs. The traditional banking system is not working anymore because customers’ expectations are high. The time has come for financial firms to be more radical in their strategic approach. They need to define the service model that they want to aspire.

There is now a shift from balance sheets and physical distribution network to data management. It means that understanding how a client transact is more important than the assets, he or she brings to the bank. This a new operating model, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s competitive market. One way that the financial services industry can help their clients make better investment decisions is by providing clear and concise information about their financial products.

Where, there are benefits to be derived from a financial transaction, there is also an equal amount of risks involved. Financial services firms must constantly appraise the risk/reward ladder with every business opportunity. As the commercial banking transactions get more complicated, the task of the Central Bankers gets even heavier in safeguarding a sound banking system. Given the current global economic environment, I foresee two major risks, which financial services firms face; (1) cyber security and identity theft, (2) retention of highly qualified professionals.

To address these challenges, financial services firms must remain alert and proactive in their management style to take the right decision at the right time. My message to the young people in attendance, it is a special day for you because there is an abundance of opportunities waiting for you. Make up your minds, join this industry. We are ready to welcome you on board. For those people that had worked tirelessly behind the scene to organize thisevent, I salute you for your meticulous planning and hard work.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to remind our distinguished audience that whatever we do in life, time waits for no one. So let us focus on our agenda to shape the future of our financial services industry. I count on your support.

Let us put a dream team together because the future belongs to all of us. Can

we do it? Of course, we can!

In conclusion, I hope that your discussions today prove to be thought-provoking and rewarding in the best interest of the Republic of Seychelles.

Thank you.


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