- BC Business
Over the past five years at AdvantageBC as I served as President & CEO, we celebrated many successes while overcoming a number of challenges. Through it all, the commitment from our staff, our board and our members has been constant. Without that, our impact as the voice of international business in British Columbia would not have been possible.
Moving into the next five years, the AdvantageBC team plans to continue its important work advancing our key strategic initiatives and creating value for our membership.
Last year, I advised the Board of my plans to retire by the end of 2018 and we undertook an executive search. I am pleased to report that a strong CEO, Clark Roberts, QC, has been selected and will start in February 2019.
As for me, I will reconnect with Image Group, the company that Laura and I started 26 years ago (and in my absence, she has built into the largest promotional products company in BC). My email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org). I plan to remain a strong supporter of AdvantageBC as a member of the Board as we step into the next phase of exciting growth.
What AdvantageBC can do, and what our organization has accomplished, is relevant to businesses across the globe. We have continued to build on the competitive strengths of British Columbia and this was demonstrated in Vancouver rapidly climbing the ranks of the world’s financial centres – from 33rd on the Global Financial Centre Index in 2008 to 18th in 2018.
Looking back on my time with AdvantageBC, many moments have served as reminders of the importance of the work that our team does. Our team attended dozens of events and met with our industry partners, promoting British Columbia as a favourable location for international business.
In my first year with the organization, we achieved a huge milestone for British Columbia’s trade and finance relationship with Asia. On November 8, 2014 the government announced that Canada was designated a Renminbi Settlement hub, following AdvantageBC’s report, Establishing an RMB Trade and Investment Hub in Canada, with the Working Group for International Financial Services for BC.
In 2015, we launched the first annual Pacific Finance and Trade Summit, which focused attention on the significant opportunities for Vancouver and the rest of Canada to provide timely, efficient and cost-effective trade settlement and investment services using China’s currency – the Renminbi — throughout the Americas.
The Summit was attended by 250 participants from federal and provincial governments, Canadian and Chinese banking and financial industry leaders, legal and accounting professionals, and corporate leaders from companies involved in two-way trade and investment between North America and China.
In 2016, we released a report, The Case for Extended Payments Settlement Hours in Canada, with the objective to foster support for the extension of payment settlement hours in Canada. Extended payment settlement hours will create a more favourable environment for Canadian financial service companies to compete in a changing global marketplace as well as enhance Canada’s position to capture future business opportunities in Asia.
We were successful in getting Payments Canada to commit to extending their payment settlement hours and effective September 17, 2018, Payments Canada extended the closing of Automated Financial Transfers (AFT) payments from 4:30 pm Eastern time to 9:00 pm Eastern time. The new settlement regime will allow BC based companies to initiate same-day transactions throughout the entire business day with a real-time overlap with the business day in Asia.
One of the challenges I faced in my time as President & CEO with AdvantageBC was the unexpected cancelation of the International Business Activity program, which is administered through the Ministry of Finance. However, this gave our organization the opportunity to renew our strategic plan.
As an industry leader, AdvantageBC has the capacity and the potential to shape the future of the international business community. We are delivering research on international competitiveness, collaborating with other organizations to maximize our impact, and offering new services to our members.
It has been an incredible journey and I hope that you will continue to help AdvantageBC make an impact on the international business community in British Columbia, as the best is yet to come.
I want to thank AdvantageBC’s staff, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Governance Committee and Audit Committee for your dedication and commitment over 2018.
Thank you to our members for your continued support of AdvantageBC, and a special recognition to our partners and advocates for helping us continue to grow as an organization.
President & CEO