Kabir Ruhee

Kabir Ruhee

CEO of Rogers Capital

Finance / Mauritius

“Mauritius has the fastest growing wealth market in Africa”

Rogers Capital is a key player in the Mauritian financial services sector, with a well-established track record in the fields of asset management, wealth management, private equity and corporate advisory. The company has defined three strategic poles for its activities: corporate services, technology services and financial services. Kabir Ruhee, Rogers Capital’s CEO, tells us more.

How would you describe the health of the Mauritian banking and financial services sector?
Mauritius has emerged progressively as an international financial center of choice and substance. The financial services sector in Mauritius has grown significantly since its early days in the 90’s and is still growing at a commendable rate of circa 5% per annum with an overall contribution to GDP of approximately 10 to 12%.

What are the key trends you’ve witnessed within Mauritius financial services industry?
Our capabilities have significantly matured. As examples, we deliver world-class fund administration or trust management services in line with international best practices. From a regulatory point of view, our jurisdiction has pioneered initiatives in transparency, disclosure and the exchange of information. One must not discount such initiatives as those are key differentiating areas vis-a-vis other competing jurisdictions. Besides, our inflows mix is progressively shifting towards investments into mainland Africa, a trend that will further accelerate in the coming years. Today Mauritius is a well-respected, competitive and highly connected jurisdiction whereby the rule of law constantly prevails.

What sets you apart in Mauritius’s financial services industry?
We believe we have a unique value proposition for our clients, as regards the complementarity of the various components that constitute Rogers Capital today. The extensiveness of our offerings combined with depth of capabilities is a key differentiator especially when it comes to substance. Notwithstanding our traditional fiduciary offerings, we are one of the leading systems integration providers in Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean region with proven expertise and credentials into the fields of software engineering, cloud services, digital transformation, infrastructure management, connectivity and disaster recovery management. We also provide high value services in the areas of corporate finance, captive insurance and outsourcing.

With the increasingly saturated financial services sector in Mauritius, what kind of added value services, or unique innovations does Rogers Capital offer?
We have substantially beefed up our capabilities by investing heavily into the development of our human capital. Rogers Capital is a vigorous talent grabber. We have also made the conscious and informed bet that information technology will drive tomorrow’s business models. To date, 45% of our workforce comes from our technology businesses. Those are software engineers, infrastructure architects, telecommunications specialists, information security consultants or functional subject matter experts whose focus is predominantly to innovate and drive agility. We are also firming up our plans pertaining to the launch of some innovative fintech services.

Why do you believe that Mauritius has witnessed a rise in Asian private equity firms, investment banks and hedge funds looking to use the island as a gateway to make cross-border deals in Africa?
It would be fair to say that Mauritius is a safe FDI conduit to mainland Africa. Notwithstanding the network of double-taxation treaties that we currently hold with a number of African jurisdictions, Mauritius possesses the right attributes to position itself robustly as the preferred foreign investment platform of the continent. As a matter of fact, and without being pretentious, Mauritius is regularly cited as an example for African countries on a number of criteria. Those include inter alia the quality of our public institutions, the comprehensiveness of our regulatory systems, the ease of doing business in our country, our ICT development index, our systematic first rank in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and more. Mauritius has the fastest growing wealth market in Africa and ranks amongst the leading African countries in terms of talent attraction. Our country is also a founding member of COMESA and IOC and plays a pivotal role in SADC. In a nutshell, despite the relative small size of our country and economy, we are influential in the region on the basis of our track record and ambition.

How do you plan to position Rogers as a partner for Chinese investors looking to tap into Africa through Mauritius?
China’s footprint on the African continent is big and bold. According to fDi intelligence, its capital investment into Africa increased by more than 500% in 2016. Year in and year out, China sets new investment level records in Africa. The Rogers Group has pioneered the global business sector in Mauritius ever since its inception in 1992. The setting up of our China desk will allow us to offer a significant portfolio of offerings to our Chinese and African customers. Notwithstanding our treaty driven fiduciary activities, a whole suite of high value services including but not limited to corporate finance, outsourcing, and human capital sourcing are now available under one single host.

What’s your go-to market strategy for China?
Our understanding of key African jurisdictions is going from strength to strength. So is our experience in the structuring and management of cross-border transactions and investment vehicles notwithstanding our knowledge of the legal framework and business environment prevailing in those countries. In addition to being an investment friendly country with a robust and modern regulatory framework allowing freedom with the movement of capital, Mauritius has recently brought in some fiscal incentives to promote global headquartering administration, treasury management center services, investment banking, asset and fund management activities, and global law firms with regional offices among others. Such opportunities are here to be seized by Chinese businesses and Rogers Capital through its China desk intends to play a pivotal role in this respect.

What kind of message would you like to address to China?
Mauritius is positioned as an increasingly sophisticated international financial center (IFC) of repute and is being widely used as a preferred jurisdiction for trade and investment in Africa. Our country combines the traditional advantages of an IFC with access to a market of over 500 million consumers being a member of major African regional organizations such as COMESA, SADC, IOR-ARC and IOC. Chinese businesses aiming at investments into mainland Africa should consider the various opportunities that the Mauritian IFC offers to them. This also includes the provision of asset protection against expropriation through our network of Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) signed with key African countries. We equally invite those Chinese ventures that are already based in Africa to consider the benefits of the Mauritian IFC.