Friday, July 17, 2009

A Professional Financial Services Sector – Right Here, Right Now

I have been on hiatus from this blog for a few months. Apologies. No excuses offered but I do have some good explanations! See, I have been rediscovering just how passionate and professional Mauritius can be. Lots of talk about tax havens and offshore banking abound globally these days; but from my view Mauritius is a broad-based regional financial and services sector with a huge commitment to value-added services and skills development.

I am very fortunate, besides my full time role of leading AfrAsia Bank, to be a member of and/or serve in leadership roles of numerous professional and networking groups in Mauritius. There really is a tremendous activity on that front here and when approached to contribute to these I feel it’s a real privilege to lead and learn in these forums. Take a look below at some of the groups I am active with as a director/committee member which give you an idea of the commitment that Mauritians have to personal development. I only join those in which I can put a great amount of effort into; and it’s one of the best investments I make since I learn many times in return from my involvement with some fantastic people in these groups.

Society of Financial Analysts of Mauritius/local society of CFA Institute. This is arguably the gold standard association and designation for the investment profession. With nearly 100,000 members globally, CFA Institute speaks first and foremost for the investor and protecting them with a robust code of ethics in their dealings with CFA charter holders. See www.membersocieties.org/mauritius

American Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius. Wow, Mauritius is about as far away as we can be from America! Yet trade, investment and personal links run deep and global these days and AmCham’s mission is to be a key facilitator of those. If your business or professional activities have links there, this is a fabulous network that has the high level attention of both countries’ governments too. See http://www.americanchamber-mauritius.org/

Mauritius Institute of Directors. A new association that is devoted to corporate governance particularly at director level within boardrooms whose job is to set the tone for organization. Well, with the last decade of malfeasance and poor ethics, there clearly remains a lot to do to improve director oversight. Encouragingly, MIOD has an incredible list of top local and global corporate in its membership already and I cannot think of a better way to learn how to perform at a board level role even before you actually get there. http://www.miod.mu/Default.asp

Mauritius Bankers Association. I have worked in a number of countries that have similar bodies but not many of which can match the level of representation, advocacy and contribution by all its members as this one.

Toastmasters (TM). This is the public speaking and leadership group which is truly active globally. I have been a member of TM in a few countries and it really does a great job to transform nervous speakers into competent communicators. There are several chapters of it active in Mauritius for nearly ten years now.

Maybe it's just my hubris. But I just cannot help think that all of these groups and the numerous others that exist here are part of the social and personal compact that make Mauritius an island of prosperity and harmony, in a region where that is not to be taken for granted. Even more, I think all these foundations are still to be fully appreciated by the international community/investor or even those of us that live here. When that happens, watch out – our best days are still to come.

I will be glad to hear about the associations you belong to or you will like to set up and how we can together make the international community / investors appreciate this professional financial sector, which is called Mauritius.

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