Financial services sector third pillar of economy


21-November-2011

He said the sector employs over 1,100 people, or 2.4 per cent of Seychelles’ workforce, while tax revenue from the sector in 2010 was R137 million – 17 per cent of total tax revenue.

The President was addressing judges, ministers, members of the National Assembly, bankers, business leaders and other guests during the Central Bank anniversary lecture at the International Conference Centre.

It was held under the he theme, Technological Innovation driving Financial Services.

Mr Michel said everything today revolves around technological innovations, and failure by any business or market player to appreciate this fact would be to its peril.

“We have all witnessed, time after time, how long-established, reputable businesses have been left behind or failed by virtue of being too slow to grasp the benefits of financial innovation. “Fully aware of this, a number of recent ventures and enterprises in Seychelles have shown acumen by better adapting to technological advances,” he said.

Mr Michel said technological innovation presents us with many challenges but also with exciting and rewarding opportunities which we should make the most of.

The opportunities will greatly increase next year when the Seychelles’ submarine cable becomes operational, boosting the country’s efforts to improve communications.

“The submarine cable will bring Seychelles so much closer to financial innovations through a significant increase in internet access and speed and higher volumes of e-commerce at substantially reduced costs,” he said.

Central Bank governor Pierre Laporte said the internet brought about major advances in financial services.

“New payment methods were developed for the internet, allowing consumers to easily effect payments online. These online payment mechanisms give consumers more choices of payment methods than ever before. Electronic bill payments have overtaken traditional methods,” he said.

He said the impact of information technology on financial services is not limited to business strategies but also influences public policy, in particular the nature of money and monetary systems.

“In the new landscape, the roles of financial institutions, technology providers and regulatory authorities need to be redefined.

“Innovations are not always without challenges. The changing nature of financial transactions and financial markets triggered significant new risks, created by interactions between globalisation and intensive use of technology. As the traditional risks, such as credit risks, have not disappeared, the overall risk level of the financial system has increased. On a positive note, the ability to manage risks has been significantly enhanced,” he said.

Mr Laporte, however, said banks must not underestimate the power of customer service.

“Customers expect only the best quality of services; in fact they expect excellent service as a standard,” he said, naming convenience, speed, simplicity, and low transaction fees.

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