EDITORIAL: To stemming the recession
In a recession, it becomes necessary to take pre-emptive action to protect the economy and the people from the greatest damage that can be done by the confluence of decisions made by human beings. After all, that is what economics is about, the study of human psychology as it relates to the use of money and the purchase and supply of goods and services.
As an example, the collapse of the mortgage market in America was due to actions taken at the level of the mortgage marketers, the sellers of the houses and the purchasers, all seeking to take advantage of what they thought was a good thing, while it lasted.
That the new homeowners decamped, and left their houses to be repossessed by the mortgage companies when reality hit home and they could not make the payments, is yet another aspect of human behaviour, and the rest is history.
Human behaviour also drives our international business sector, and this week, while the sector is discussed, it would be important for us to consider the human aspect of this critical industry.
Establishing a company in our financial sector is often the result of clear, deliberate decision making by investors.
They may desire freedom from restrictive conditions about capital outflows in their home countries, or they may wish to retain a larger portion of their profits if the venture proves successful; or it may even be based more rationally on the grounds that they wish to take advantage of our very well developed tax treaty network.
Whatever the reason, human factors play an important part in the decision making, and these factors cannot be minimized in the matrix of elements that go into the caucus of decision making by international investors who are considering whether to establish a bank, an insurance company, an international business company, or simply a private international trust company.
We must, therefore, make sure that in addition to the framework of our legislation, we seek to provide investors and their employees with a safe environment for themselves and their families. We must provide competent and pleasant service without being subservient or obsequious and we must keep an eye on international developments so that we respond in a timely fashion to reasonable requests for the tweaking of legislation.
The international business sector is service-sensitive, partially grounded as it is in the hospitality industry. It is simply not a matter strictly of doing business only.
These people will live among us, they expect world-class service at all levels; and as our experience earlier this year showed, we have competition in the form of The Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caymans, ready to take our business whenever we are perceived to have dropped the ball and failed to provide the required level of service.
We have all the ingredients necessary for success in the sector, and this year’s week of celebrations next week provides an opportune time for all of us to recommit to making our island the premier international business centre of its kind.
It is one way of pushing back against the recession.