The various stakeholders of the Territory’s financial services sector met with government officials at a think-tank forum held on 28 January as a means of formulating a plan to weather the financial services situation that has been predicted. Last year a $30 million decline in financial services revenues was recorded:as such the meeting on Tuesday was geared at stemming future declines and formulating a plan to put the vital sector on good footing.
The gathering was greeted by Minister for Natural Resources, Labour, and Immigration Hon. Vincent Wheatley and participants were informed that government prized their feedback, opinions and solutions on how to improve the short-term outlook of the sector.
In his remarks Hon. Wheatley said, “Over the last two or three years there has been a steady decline in financial services which is expected to continue for a short time yet to come by bringing the best minds in the industry here and I know that these are the very best minds in the industry, it is very hopeful that we will get some kind of solution to at least stabilize first and then grow back afterwards.”
The Minister noted that the Territory’s financial services uncertainty is taking place against a backdrop of other international matters that are of interest to the Territory. “The world is in an incredibly unstable place right now. This Friday its Brexit; we are not sure what that’s going to do. We have the coronavirus that’s out right now. We are living in a very uncertain time right now. The investors and so forth they like stability, they don’t really like uncertainty,” Hon. Wheatley stated.
Wheatley told the attendees, “We have been under attack for financial services for a very long time, I don’t think it is ever really going to stop. The goal post continues to shift so we have to be extra vigilant how we handle financial services. Right now, it [financial services]brings in around 60 percent of our revenue which is nothing to sneeze about. It is very important to the BVI’s economy right now.”
Hon. Wheatley told the gathering:“We know we have to diversify, we know we have to shore up, we know we have to always stay ahead of the game. It is a constantly changing game.”