Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, cuts the ribbon to officially open First Citizens Investment Services. Also pictured from left are Deputy CEO of First Citizens Investment Services, Sharon Christopher; Country Manager, Elizabeth Morgan and another bank official.
(C. Pitt/BGIS)

A Government Minister is calling for more public education programmes, investment fairs and the use of innovative marketing strategies to woo more potential investors to our shores.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, made this observation last Saturday while addressing the official opening of First Citizens Investment Services’ upscale Warrens Great House, Warrens, St. Michael headquarters.

Noting that he welcomed any initiative to enhance the island’s financial services sector, the Minister said a well-functioning financial system made an important contribution to the growth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In fact, Mr. Sinckler argued that the transformation of Barbados’ predominately sugar exporting economy, to one that attracted high-quality international business and financial services, was as a result of private sector initiatives.

"The Government of Barbados continues to welcome with enthusiasm, both local and foreign investors whom we attract as the major drivers of our economic growth, job creation, technology transfer and as a means of enhancing the general quality of life for all citizens.?? The government also recognises the need for mechanisms to be put in place to reduce the likelihood of a collapse of this country’s financial system."??

Mr. Sinckler noted that while the complexities of the financial system had grown and institutional change and legislative reform had been implemented and updated for the banking sector, the legislative framework for the remainder of the industry must also be modified.

In light of this, the Minister of Finance alluded to the establishment of the Financial Services Commission for the regulation and supervision of the non-bank financial sectors.

"…The overall objective is to ensure that there is in place, an effective and efficient supervisory and regulatory regime that will govern this country’s overall financial system, and ensure that it operates at a standard that satisfies best practices," Mr. Sinckler emphasised.

He also underscored the importance of a new approach to doing business as the world economy continues to emerge from one of its worst periods of decline in recent memory.

"I believe that the time has come for an urgent rethink of our strategies and policies on how we conduct business in Barbados.?? This, I submit, must be done, and will be done as a national effort for reform, that will cut across sectoral boundaries, narrow economic interests and, of course, hopefully, petty political posturing," Mr. Sinckler opined.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer of First Citizens, Sharon Christopher, said the asset base of First Citizens Bank – the parent company – as at March 31, stood at US $4.8 billion; and profits before tax amounted to some US$54.1 million.


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