Financial services are undergoing profound changes with the arrival of new local and international entrants. A fast-growing sector in which newcomer Acuitas Communications aims to tap into.
Mauritius will soon welcome a new entrant in the strategic communications and public relations domain with the launching of Acuitas Communications, a sister company of Acuitas Communications London and Brussels. The purpose of the company based in Ebène is to offer a range of services from corporate to financial communication and public affairs, with a particular accent on the financial services sector.
There are a couple of reasons behind the choice to focus on the financial services sector, sustained Samantha Seewoosurrun, Managing Director of Acuitas Communications. To start with, a number of Acuitas Communications’ staff, much like herself, have a background working on financial services with the Mauritian government. “We were hired under a previous company to work for the Board of Investment for the promotion of the International Financial Centre (IFC) strategy,” she stated. This has provided the team with a strong foundation to understand the challenges facing the promotion of Mauritius and its financial services sector. It has also allowed for development of relationships with some of the key players on the market as well as people in the various financial institutions.
Some new challenges have aligned themselves on the horizon for Mauritius since the change in governmental regime in December 2014, but the fundamental challenges are still very much present, she said. Thus, the foundation work undertaken earlier, which consisted of carrying surveys on the perceptions of Mauritius by different stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations, investors and people from different parts of the business community to see if they would be interested in the Mauritius IFC, remains valid.
Build company’s profile
“The general feedback received was that people would be interested if they knew first of all what the financial centre was about, what kind products and services it could offer and what was its position on taxation, which still remains a challenge with some tax blacklists,” she observed, adding that the relaunching of the Financial Services Promotion Agency (FSPA) is a good thing.
Moreover, she considers that communications should be at the sharp edge of new market entry strategies. It is a huge challenge to strike a good deal in a new market if no one has ever heard of you, she pointed out. “We work with our clients to design and implement communication strategies to build the company’s profile and relationships in a sustainable fashion, seeking to find compelling local ‘angles’ with our partners on the ground,” stated Samantha Seewoosurrun.
Acuitas Communications is targeting two different and very specific types of clients from the financial services arena through its presence on the island. Firstly, established Mauritian players having strong internal communication teams but who are having difficulties showcasing their opportunities outside the country. “We are able to offer them something more international because our partners and affiliates are present in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US as well,” added Samantha Seewoosurrun.
The second targeted segment comprises companies that are new to Mauritius or on the verge of getting implanted here, to possibly use the island as a hub for Africa. Acuitas Communications would thus be accompanying them to familiarise themselves with the Mauritian media on the ground, show them how to unfurl their product range and engage on their expansion into Africa from here.
The company also intends to leverage on the geographic proximity of Mauritius to Africa. There seems to be, according to Samantha Seewoosurrun, some very accomplished PR professionals here, but few that can offer an international service.
“We think that Mauritius is extremely well positioned to expand its role as a hub into Africa. In the future, the hub element is something that Mauritius can use more and more to its advantage and in some respects the communications market has not developed in the same way as professional services have done,” she observed. Acuitas Communications has already been selected as PR agency for an international company making headway into the Mauritian market.
Samantha Seewoosurrun, MD of Acuitas Communications
The new Mauritius-India calls for communication
The recently announced changes to the Mauritius-India tax treaty will have major ramifications for the financial services sector, which reinforces the need for strategic communications, in her view. “The sector has reached a fork in the road. We anticipate that many existing operators will be looking long and hard at their current business models in the light of the changes to be phased in over the coming years. Some may decide to launch new products and services, and others might accelerate their efforts to enter new markets to diversify their businesses,” commented Samantha Seewoosurrun.