In a 1986 presentation to the House of Commons, Graham Clarke, then Chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade (VBOT) postulated, “(Vancouver) is Canada’s natural gateway to the Pacific. No other centre can claim this distinction. If the infant financial services industry can reach maturity, Vancouver will become the front door to the commercial opportunities in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.” Thirty years later these words continue to ring true.
What started as a nascent, fledging financial services industry in Vancouver during the mid-1980’s has grown significantly over the past 30 years – in part as a result of the decision to create what is now AdvantageBC. Despite challenges, the demand for international financial services offered in Vancouver continues to grow and provide growth opportunities and benefits to the business community throughout British Columbia.
As both member and industry expectations continue to evolve, your Board devoted much of our time in 2016 to guiding the strategic direction of AdvantageBC and exploring opportunities for the advancement of the financial services sector in British Columbia. Specifically, the Board oversaw the diversification of our outreach platforms, undertook initiatives to strengthen Canada’s brand globally and advanced our research to better serve our members and the community in the years to come.
Led by our dedicated team, AdvantageBC continued to perform well in 2016. We completed the year with a total of 156 core and associate members and hosted a number of successful member events.
Together with the provincial government, we hosted the second annual Pacific Finance and Trade Summit in May, highlighting the financial tools available to enhance Canada’s trade in goods and services. The goal of the Summit was to cover the practical and innovative approaches to help Canadian business gain a competitive edge when doing business in the Asia-Pacific region. The Summit once again provided an excellent networking platform for our business community and brought together participants from all over Canada and across the globe. Future summits are being planned.
Original research plays an important role in understanding and capitalizing on the strengths and opportunities within the B.C. financial services sector. AdvantageBC research initiatives in 2016 included: studying Canada’s financial services industry as a whole to understand the unique successes and advantages of the industry to British Columbia, exploring the opportunity to extend the Canadian payment settlement hours, and developing a greater understanding of the global opportunities for B.C.’s FinTech sector.
In 2016, 12 directors were elected to the Board for a two-year term and 11 directors continued to serve the second year of a two year term on the board. Throughout 2016 five new directors joined the AdvantageBC Board: Creative B.C. President and CEO, Prem Gill, KPMG Tax Counsel, Grant Russell, HSBC Bank Canada Regional Head of Business Development, David Price, Vertical Insurance Group CEO, Brad Shantz, and Bank of China Senior Branch Manager, Jennifer Guo. Each brings their own special set of knowledge, insight and expertise to AdvantageBC.
Former directors Liang Jiao from Bank of China and Ananth Krishnan from HSBC Canada stepped down from the Board as they were transferred out of Vancouver. Long-serving director Tony Martin, KPMG’s International Tax Partner, stepped aside for his colleague Grant Russell to join the board, while Don Rose retired from the Board upon his retirement from Shaw Sabey. Each former director contributed to the board in their own way, and we thank them for their efforts in promoting and helping to drive forward AdvantageBC’s mandate.
I extend my personal gratitude to each member of AdvantageBC’s staff, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Governance Committee and Audit Committee for their enthusiasm, continued support, dedication and guidance throughout the year. Furthermore, I thank all of our members for their support. I encourage all of our members to continue to engage in AdvantageBC’s activities, use our research, attend our events and get involved with our organization as much as possible.
We look forward to an exciting and rewarding 2017.
Ron Bozzer, Board Chair
AdvantageBC Annual Report Archive