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Gomez: More offshorebanks laying off persons

An increasing number of offshore banks are laying off staff, charged a local financial advisor, asserting The Bahamas will be in trouble if significant growth isn’t seen in the industry.

“More and more banks are downsizing,”said Jerome Gomez, CEO of Global Corporation Management.”They don’t make the news because they are downsizing one here, five there.

“Those persons are going to find it hard to get similar jobs. Those are high paying jobs that also put you in the world, dealing with international clients.”

He was the guest speaker on the Star 106.5 FM show’Jeffrey’, hosted by Jeffrey Lloyd.

Gomez said the layoffs are occurring because the financial services industry has experienced very little growth over the past 10 years. He added that new banks have not been coming to The Bahamas, and the number of persons interested in conducting business through the nation’s offshore sector has dwindled. Instead, tourism seems to be the primary focus.

Gomez asserts that while financial services will never employ more people than tourism, there needs to be as great an effort to promote the industry.

“Unless we put a real focused effort into it, we’re going to lose that business over time,”he said.”We really have to look at revamping[the industry]… One of the ways is going back to a ministry of financial services or a department for it.”

His suggestion comes as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Zhivargo Laing toldGuardian Businessin a recent exclusive interview that a department, as opposed to a specific ministry, may be the best way forward.

“The decision[to establish such a ministry]is the purview of the prime minister, but we have had discussions about the same,”said Laing.”What I am saying is it is a desirable thing to have that kind of continuity and focus via a stable entity and agency of the government, and I could see something like that being developed. But this ministry talk, to me that’s shallow, non-substantive talk.”

He said it is now time to move the discussion to having a core entity in the government to deal with the financial services sector.

“That’s more a department, much like customs is,”said Laing. He added that such departments, once established, could only be undone by legislation.”If you want a stable, focused group of professionals whose responsibility is financial services, then get a department.”

Between 2002 and 2007, a ministry of financial services and investment was in place.

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