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Covid-19 ‘game Changer’ for financial sector

Employing young Cook Islanders and passing on knowledge and expertise should be a priority for service providers at the Financial Services Development Authority. 

When the country’s borders closed, the Financial Services Development Authority looked towards other parts of the economy to develop and market products Cook Islands already had. As part of the industry’s five-year strategic plan, objectives include promoting and developing the financial services industry in the country. The financial industry service providers are the trustee companies, banks and insurance companies (licensed insurers and licensed captive insurers). Marie Francis, who has taken on the Authority’s chief executive officer role from Allan Taylor, is overseeing the industry’s five-year strategic plan. “Because the borders are closed, we had to look towards other parts of the economy to look at developing and marketing other products that we have,” says Francis. “We have contributed to the Cook Islands economy through the products, employment of people, promoting the country’s financial services that now internationally are becoming more technology based and driven.” The economic contribution has come from products that have been around for over 30 years. “We have a good reputation in terms of professional services we deliver, the employment of about 260 staff in financial services and the many opportunities for people to work in the industry,” she said. “We’ve proven ourselves, we’re still here, we work well with the regulators and we have a good reputation internationally so we ensure that we meet the compliance standards internationally.” No country in the world has escaped the financial downturn effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Francis says “because we are a small nation in the Pacific, we have always been constrained by our borders, now everyone else is facing what we have been going through, this is a game changer for us”. The objectives to establish the market position for the industry to take into the next five years include the introduction of new entrants, products and services, providers within to look at opportunities to engage and partner with other service providers and to be recognised as an environmentally friendly industry that can provide professional careers in the country. The industry will also look at how to support businesses in the country and develop financial technology to provide more efficient and modern services.

Written by Melina Etches, click here for link to direct article

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