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Philip Armstrong

Takes the Reins of Pan Caribbean Bank’s Push for the Future by Andre Burnett

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We’re young, we’re hungry and we’re almost like entrepreneurs ourselves, what we want is for progressive, ambitious owners of Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to see themselves in us as the same way we see ourselves in them.

hilip Armstrong, the youngest CEO in the elite club of commercial bank heads in Jamaica, sums up his long term plan for Pan Caribbean Bank with a mix of pleasant optimism and the trappings of a well calculated gambit. You see, Philip Armstrong with one “l”, the banker with a degree in Avionics, has decided to make it a point of duty of the fledgling bank to partner itself with Jamaica’s entrepreneurs in an effort to further the goals of both parties. Philip Armstrong is in the Business Lounge. yourmoney ezine


business Lounge

Philip Armstrong

Takes the Reins of Pan Caribbean Bank’s Push for the Future The Campion College graduate, worked for a year as an avionic engineer, a field of aeronautics involving the computer systems aboard an aircraft before deciding that the field was not for him. After working as a stockbroker and finishing an International Business degree which was completed in Germany, Mr. Armstrong worked for five years in New York before the call of his homeland lured him back to work at Citibank for 4 and ½ years after which he joined the Pan Caribbean group in 2002. Armstrong who is deputy CEO of Pan Caribbean Financial Services was named CEO of Pan Caribbean Bank in March, 2010 and took control of the bank which started in 2008 with an initial capitalization of $3.3 billion and finished 2009 recording $400 million in growth. “The growth comes from a growth in the size of our deposits, i.e. savings and chequing accounts since the more deposits we have is the more assets we can obtain and the cheaper it will be for us to lend, says Mr. Armstrong. When asked about the short term strategy of the bank, Mr. Armstrong explained that there was none, all the focus was on the long term goal. The CEO explained that there is an opportunity for a bank as small and nimble as Pan Caribbean to take advantage of the shortcomings of their competitors by showing the young ambitious business owners of the country especially, that there were still banks that are invested in them.

For a commercial bank to grow, it has to be a collaborative effort, as you get stronger we get stronger

Philip Armstrong’s tenure at Pan Caribbean is still in its embryonic stage, but the confident CEO who found Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” to be particularly telling in his approach to challenges and anxiety, seems to be very confident that he has what it takes to steer the bank along the road to financial success.

Philip Armstrong on the effects of the JDX on Pan Caribbean’s strategy: “The JDX impact will be felt and of course our Government security is going to be affected. The positive is that our bank is small and we are split almost 50/50 between loans and government bonds so the impact will not be as significant as it might have been. Right now our focus is to grow the deposit base as quickly as possible”.

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“For a commercial bank to grow, it has to be a collaborative effort, as you get stronger we get stronger.”, explains Armstrong, “right now you need us, but the time will come when you will be the one helping us with your deposits and that is how we will all grow.” yourmoney ezine


Mind your business

Why Jamaican Companies Must Follow T&T Politics by Francis Wade

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ollowing Caribbean politics - it used to be curious pastime for Jamaican executives with a few minutes to spare. Last-week, when Trinidad’s President dissolved their parliament, it should have sent a shiver through the spine of every single Jamaican business-person. After all, one of the few threads holding together the recent IMF agreement with the Government of Jamaica was a promise that Air Jamaica be completely divested, saving taxpayers over US$100m per year. Enter Prime Minister Patrick Manning of T&T, who is apparently committed to hosting showy summits, building tall buildings and engulfing the Caribbean with his airline. He’s simply THE driving force behind the agreement to acquire Air Jamaica.

the largest shareholder. As on e of our most powerful “CEO’s,” his political future and the widening charges of corruption are more than just something to notice in passing.

Francis Wade

We need to wake up and pay serious attention to what happens next, because a change in government in Trinidad (which the polls are predicting) could have a tremendous impact on our economic landscape. The fact that most Jamaicans couldn’t name the head of the opposition party is startling. And ... no... it’s not Basdeo Panday.

And he’s also the most likely to pull the plug on the entire deal, once the political reality hits home that the majority of Trinidadians are dead set against the acquisition of Air Jamaica. Now, in order to be re-elected, he’ll actually have to convince Trinis that the acquisition is a good move for the country.

We need to wake up and pay serious attention to what happens next, because a change in government in Trinidad (which the polls are predicting) could have a tremendous impact on our economic landscape.

In a few short weeks, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the leader of UNC/CoP, might very well assume leadership of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. And Lascelles de Mercado. And much of JMMB. And the future of Air Jamaica, thereby helping us to pass or fail the next IMF test. It’s time for us to pay attention. advertisment

The chances aren’t very good that he’ll be pushing the deal, given his unpopularity. Most believe that the main reason he called a snap election only half-way through his term was to ward off a no-confidence vote scheduled for the following day. If you are a Jamaican business-person hearing this for the first time, you might just have gotten your first shiver. Add to this reality the fact that Manning’s government also owns Lascelles de Mercado, our second or third largest Jamaican company (depending on the tool of measurement.) This gives it control over subsidiaries such as J Wray & Nephew, AJAS, Lascelles Division, Federated Pharmaceuticals and Globe Insurance, plus ownership of brands such as Magnum, Appleton and Sangster’s Rum Cream. It also owns more than 40% of JMMB, our third largest financial institution. It’s yourmoney ezine


insights

Dark Clouds: The Implications of Climate Change and Weather by Andre Burnett

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It was the year that Microsoft became the world’s richest company and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 7000 points for the first time. Stock markets around the world crash because of a global economic crisis scare and a weather phenomenon known as El Niño formed in the oceans between Australia causing unstable and unusual weather patterns in countries in the northern and southern hemispheres. El Niño doesn’t readily fit into this selection of events from 1997 but it seems that this weather phenomenon that has been around for over 300 years has a more telling effect on the people and economies of the world than any of the other examples could ever hope to have. Named by 19th century Peruvian sailors who noticed that the irregular patterns occurred around Christmas time, the oceanic disturbance which occurs irregularly every 2-7 years and can persist for up to a year has been identified as the source of the extended and severe drought affecting sections of Jamaica in early 2010. El Niño is identified by an increase in ocean temperatures and a subsequent anomalous change in atmospheric pressures, although which comes first is very much a “chicken-egg” conundrum.

The paradox implied by the unpredictability of a predicted weather pattern is mind tickling but what does this mean for developing countries like those in the Caribbean who depend so much on the products of their natural environment to survive?

of the effects of such a weather pattern. Although any pharmaceutical company with a healthy stock of rehydration salts might see the silver lining to this particular stratus. Of course many strides have been taken by meteorological interests to predict El Niño occurrences and categorize them in terms of their different extremes. South American countries such as Peru and Brazil have used such forecasts to guide the planting habits of local farmers so that they plant crops that will mitigate the damage done to the agricultural sector by the extremes of El Niño. This type of adaptability is the reason that although the unpredictability of this phenomenon is daunting, there is always room for ingenuity. Bring it on El Niño.

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Seasons are shortened or extended; floods wreak havoc because of increased rainfall in one country while the crops of another are ravaged by the drought no one predicted. And if scientists are right, the overall increase in our planet’s temperature will see “The Child” being allowed to play more frequently. The paradox implied by the unpredictability of a predicted weather pattern is mind tickling but what does this mean for developing countries like those in the Caribbean who depend so much on the products of their natural environment to survive? How will our economies, still so fragile after the recent financial crisis, deal with the stresses of infrastructural damage from floods and hurricanes? A spike in cases of gastroenteritis in Jamaica concurrent with the present water shortage is a microcosm of the possible health implications yourmoney ezine


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