The SAI-Bank delegation has been making some important business trips to the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and Colombia.
FELABAN in Punta Cana
In the Dominican Republic our delegation, headed by our Managing Director, Commercial Manager and Business Development manager, travelled to the FELABAN (Federación Latinoamericana de Bancos) conference in Punta Cana. This was a 3-day banking event where 1700 bankers from all over the world came together to discuss and learn about interesting topics such as Correspondent Banking, Green Banking and Green Bonds. We also discussed the challenges which may occur in the world of banking along with recommendations on how to solve them. We also discussed the introduction of new products into our market.
We linked with other bankers through an app made specifically for these types of events in which one can conduct meetings with bankers one has an existing business relationship with or in which one can get an overview of everyone who is attending the event so one can get in touch with them and create new relationships.
This event proved to have enormous benefits for SAI-Bank. Aside from the forging of business relationships it also proved to be an environment that was conducive to reinforcing one of the most important relationships of all when it comes to banking: the relationships with correspondent banks. SAI-Bank has two, namely Bancrédito, located in Puerto Rico and the facilitator of our dollar transactions, and Novobanco, located in Portugal and the facilitator of our euro transactions. They both also sent delegations to the event and we were able to have constructive dialogues with them.
Additionally, we also spoke to other prospective correspondent banks. It is of essential importance for us to expand our correspondent bank network as it will give us more options on what we can offer our clients with regards to rerouting payments and transfers.
Another fruitful trip for the SAI-Bank delegation was the one we undertook to a conference in Panama. The main purpose of this trip was to meet with representatives of trust companies and make new connections. Following the Panama Papers crisis of 2015, banks in Panama have become increasingly slower to open accounts for clients, often taking upwards of 3 months to do so. Thus SAI-Bank saw the conference in Panama as a golden opportunity to visit trust companies based there and offer our banking services and pass them into our compliance.
It was a smashing success as we gained many new clients and forged exciting new relationships, thanks in no small part to Paul de Sousa’s previous experiences working for trust companies and contacts he had retained from that period.
In October of 2018, the SAI-Bank delegation attended a very important event in Mexico called STEP, which stands for Society for Tax and Estate Practitioners. This is the biggest estate planning event of Latin America and it took place on the 4th and 5th of October of last year. We participated in the event under the umbrella of CIFC (Curaçao International Financial Center).
This was another extremely beneficial event for us. There were 350 people present at the event and the majority of them were attorneys and trust company representatives who can be potential client “feeders” for us.
During this event, we learned a great deal about what was happening in the market of tax as many countries are sharing information regarding this subject. We also received substantial information about how the banking system is being viewed and the challenges of starting a business. It is of great interest for us as SAI-Bank to learn about these subjects and to get an overview of what is going on in the world so we may tailor our services to the ever-evolving demands of our clients.
The STEP, of which our Head of Commercial Department and Business Development Paul de Sousa is a member, exists in 105 countries. When one becomes a member one gets access to the worldwide STEP network and one gets a TEP behind their name. There are three STEPs: STEP Europe, STEP Latin America and STEP Caribbean. This event took place in the capacity of the Latin America or LATAM chapter, which is SAI-Bank’s principal focus. Thus it is essential for us to attend this type of event. In addition to being a good opportunity to acquire clients, it also helps us build our reputation as a bank.
Our Paul de Sousa recently tagged along with his team on two missions from the Dutch Kingdom to Colombia. The first pertained to a “barrio sector” event in which two Dutch entrepreneurs travelled to Colombia to conduct negotiations with officials. The second was a mission undertaken by Curaçao’s MEO (Ministry of Economic Development), the companies Deloitte and EY and Curaçao’s Chamber of Commerce in which our then-minister of economic development Steven Martina travelled to Colombia to discuss trade relations and for Curaçao to present themselves within the Dutch Kingdom as being open for business.
During this mission, there was an important breakfast meeting from CIFC with Colombian entrepreneurs. During this breakfast, the SAI-Bank delegation (SAI-Bank was also a co-sponsor) presented the possibility for a Dutch Caribbean stock exchange which would, in essence, become the Curaçao stock exchange. Representatives from EY and Deloitte also presented Curaçao’s new tax environment and what it means for international entrepreneurs and what it would mean for Colombian entrepreneurs in particular..
It was this change in Curaçao’s tax environment that served as one of the main reasons why this particular mission took place in Colombia. These changes will namely be taking place for over a year and the Curaçaoan delegation wanted to inform Colombian entrepreneurs of the opportunities this presented for them as they are experiencing a changing tax environment and a new government themselves.
Making all these trips is a new tactic on the part of SAI-Bank and the reason is pretty straightforward: we went to get a buzz going. We want to gradually get our names out internationally and inform these different markets about our reliability, serious reputation and security as a solid bank. And for this reason, our Paul de Sousa is tasked with presenting our brand to places that have people the bank is interested in and with attending these types of events to put them on notice that we are also in the market. This in turn also translates into new business.
An additional point by Paul de Sousa
“It is essential that we keep doing these trips next year and also present our Latin America bank to other regions and be able to cater to clients from around the world. We are also currently working with Profound Projects to digitize the bank, this means that your phone will become your office. This will open new doors. Europe is already doing this. That’s why we have to keep moving forward, if we don’t we will stay behind.
The idea is to get there one step at a time. I believe it is possible to blend the knowledge of the trust sector and the knowledge of the bank along with all the relationships we have forged to make us a success story in the region.”