International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Emerging Issues on the Horizon: Financial Services Industry in Trinidad and Tobago
Moolchand Raghunandan, Narendra Ramgulam, Koshina Raghunandan-Mohammed, Inshan Allaham

Confucius’ wish for his enemies to live in interesting times would have been different now given the gale-force winds of change blowing furiously through the financial services sector in recent years, moving the industry in challenging new directions. Similar to the case of the Titanic ship, what is visible is just the tip of the iceberg since the transformation of the industry is far from complete, and many players remain unprepared for the rigors of open competition. The liberalisation of the financial sector will become the battleground on which the struggle for new and existing customers will be fought. These cross currents are going to reshape the financial services sector, increase effective competition, empower consumers, encourage more flexibility and urge measures to improve the regulatory system. Such measures will increase customer value and set in motion dramatic changes in the structure and business paradigm of the industry. Even as this occurs, however, it is critical to acknowledge the fact that the gale force winds of global financial pressures today complicates the emerging issues on the horizon for the financial service sector. In the context of globalization and the interconnectivity of world markets, the local financial services industry undoubtedly is being and will continue to be affected by global pressures that are taking place currently and those that are still to come. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to provide an understanding of the major changes affecting the financial services sector especially as it pertains to the banking industry. The forces of change such as globalisation, technology, demography and changing consumer preferences and their implications are discussed. A synopsis of the challenges and opportunities which includes treasury management techniques, use of the value added concept and protection of shareholder value will be examined. In addition, global developments today and its impact and challenges for the local financial services industry will also be considered. Suggestions for the way forward will also be made. The paper concludes by challenging the industry's stakeholders to manage the relentless myriad of existing and forthcoming changes, in a way that best serves the collective interest of Trinidad and Tobago. From the literature reviewed, it would seem that the financial services sector is moving the industry in challenging new directions. It is being fuelled by the liberalization of the financial sector and the current financial crisis. Arising out of this, there would be challenges and opportunities as this sector will continue to be affected by global pressures as it impacts on the local financial sector.

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