There has been considerable activity in the Mauritian banking industry as the country enjoys an upsurge of FDI. A new Islamic bank has opened its doors and women are at long last receiving the recognition from the industry that they deserve.
Mauritius is rapidly becoming a financial hub connecting Africa with Asia and Europe. Investors seem to enjoy the friendly business climate of the island nation and the ease with which funds can be moved in and out of the country.
FDI inflows have been steadily increasing, despite the general financial squeeze worldwide. In its Monthly Statistical Bulletin, the Bank of Mauritius said FDI in 2010 was Rs13.9bn ($470m), an increase on both 2008 and 2009 figures which stood at Rs11.4 billion and Rs8.8 billion respectively.
Inflows went mainly to financial and insurance companies, real estate, health and social work and the construction sector. Europe (mainly UK and France) topped the sources, followed by Southeast Asia and South Africa.
Siew Meng Tan leads HSBC
Siew Meng Tan has been appointed as the new CEO for HSBC Mauritius. Tan joined HSBC in 2004 and has over 25 years of banking experience in Singapore with major global financial institutions. She takes up her position after four years as HSBC’s head of commercial banking in Singapore, where she managed over 150 staff responsible for large corporate and SME business segments in Singapore.
She does not considers her new appointment as a promotion but as a progression. She does not believe that a woman should act as a man to reach the top. “People say I am aggressive but I find myself proactive,” she said.
Prior to joining HSBC, she spent five and a half years with Citibank where she was responsible managing a portfolio of top-tier corporates. Her other banking experience include stints at Barclays de Zoete Wedd, an investment bank, where she was responsible for business origination; and eight years with DBS Bank where she started her career.
The woman-friendly bank
Bank One has rewarded five talented women – all of whom have excelled in the fields of arts and culture, social, sports, history and business – with Emma Awards. This will henceforth, become an annual feature.
This year’s awards went to comedian Miselaine Duval, social worker Rita Venkatasamy, sportswoman Fabienne St-Louis, historian Vijaya Teeluck and businesswomen Françoise Baptiste.
“We have rewarded these women for their exceptional achievements, for their dedicated work, their engagement and their passion in their respective fields. They have contributed to making Mauritius a better place to live for the coming generations,” Bank One’s CEO Raj Dussoye says. These awards are open to all Mauritian women.
Bank One takes good care of women. It is the only bank in Mauritius that has launched a special savings account for women, just called ‘Emma’. Its 2,000 holders have several advantages over other clients.
An Emma account also allows women to go to hairdressers, private hospitals for medical tests and to pharmacies for cosmetic products, all at reduced costs. They also get getting free insurance cover against accidents.
Emma was launched at the end of 2008 after Bank One observed that an increasing number of women were entering the economic, political and education fields and that they needed some financial space to evolve.
Moneywise is new watchdog
Moneywise was launched by the Institute for Consumer Protection (ICP) to check all transactions between banks and clients. “We will intervene in favour of consumers,” said chairperson Pramode Jaddoo. The first item under scrutiny will be bank charges. Moneywise will ask the banks, through the Mauritian Bankers Association (MBA), to revise their charges. Those who agree will have their names published in the press.