Sharona Rambocus spoke to MIFC Newsroom on how Mauritius IFC is the 'to go country' to do business in Africa.  Sharona is a CFA Charter holder and also holds a Bachelor in Economics and Management (France), a Master's degree in Management (France), and Master's degree in International Financial Analysis (France).

Sharona acquired 9 years' experience in the financial services sector in Mauritius, managing Funds, being involved in deals structuring, M&As and corporate valuation, as well as managing a portfolio of high net worth individuals. As a Senior Manager in the International Business Development unit of ABAX, Sharona assists in business development whilst looking after the setting up and administration of business entities in Mauritius. Sharona is also the Vice President of CFA Society Mauritius and serves as a volunteer with CFA Institute.

How do you think new measures announced for financial services in the 2016/17 budget can increase the leverage of Mauritius as an IFC?

The value of an IFC is mostly based on its reputation. We do have the required eco-system to be called an International Financial Centre. With numerous of distinctive features, such as a strong regulatory and judicial system, economic and political stability, a qualified work-force, ease of doing business and an operational and functional stock-exchange, Mauritius already has a strong leverage and credibility to be the place for doing business.  

As regards to the measures announced in the budget, Mauritius will further position itself as a place for consolidation for investments and trade. In the medium and long term, we would see more companies do listings, finance raisings and set-up their head-quarters in Mauritius.

What is the perception of foreign investors regarding investment opportunities in Mauritius following the new financial measures announced in the budget?

We are well positioned to listen to and service foreign investors. We have received requests from potential clients, in view of setting up different types of businesses.  We had queries for the setting up of investment banking companies and law firms.  There have been requests for additional information as well.  So, the response was relatively positive.  

What are the competitive edges Mauritius IFC has in regards to wealth and asset management?

With respect to wealth and asset management, first and foremost, there is no exchange-control in Mauritius which sends a very strong and positive signal for investors.  Our stock-exchange is one of best in Africa and companies can be listed and be visible very easily, which gives comfort to investors.  We have a favourable tax-system, qualified labour-force, our judicial is strong and accessible.  Finally, Mauritius as an IFC also provides a wide range of services, such as stock-broking, auditing, banking, custody, which position Mauritius as a lucrative investment destination.  Mauritius has so much more to offer than just treaty-shopping.  

How converging towards Africa is an opportunity to further enhance Mauritius as IFC?

Mauritius is part of Africa. When the international players, DFIs and multinationals talk about Africa, Mauritius is the go-to country.   The island has the potential to consolidate and position itself as a strong and ethical IFC.  There is a growing interest from investors to use Mauritius as a platform for business and channel investments into Africa. Other than being tax-efficient jurisdiction, Mauritius has an excellent pool of bilingual financial and legal professionals.  

Finally, how do you perceive the new initiatives the government has initiated for the financial services sector? 

As I alluded before, the initiatives and measures for the financial services sector are positive and demonstrates venues for future developments. However, we need to be more pro-active to implement these initiatives and to enhance our image as the place for doing business in the African region. Promotional agencies have already embarked in numerous activities to promote the key advantages of the Mauritius IFC.  

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.