The Global Investor

Episode 7: Gavin Strong of Control Risks — Assessing Risks for Corporate Customers Throughout Central America and the Caribbean

July 18, 2019 Season 1 Episode 7
The Global Investor
Episode 7: Gavin Strong of Control Risks — Assessing Risks for Corporate Customers Throughout Central America and the Caribbean
Chapters
The Global Investor
Episode 7: Gavin Strong of Control Risks — Assessing Risks for Corporate Customers Throughout Central America and the Caribbean
Jul 18, 2019 Season 1 Episode 7
Obris Podcast by Crown Private
Gavin Strong talks about assessing risks for corporate customers throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
Show Notes Transcript

Gavin Strong is the Control Risks director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Based in Mexico City, Gavin has his feet on the ground assessing risk for corporate customers throughout Central American and the Caribbean. Gavin will be speaking at our Panama Global Investor Summit on July 16, directing our focus to assess and view risk in the world, and practical implications for us as investors.

Gavin will be speaking at our Global Investor Summit in Panama City, this July 15th 2019. You can read more about it at https://obrisinvest.com/panama2019.

You can find more about Gavin and Control Risks at:
https://www.controlrisks.com/

Speaker 1:
0:08
[inaudible].
Speaker 2:
0:12
Welcome to the global investor podcast, the goal of this podcast just to offer investors and entrepreneurs insights and practical advice to dramatically improve the kinds of deals you invest in and the returns that you get. My name is James Evenston. I am one of the partners at crown private. If you're unfamiliar with Oprah's by Crown private, we are a membership syndicate of investors. Our membership and community are built up of likeminded, yet unique and adventurous individuals and family offices. Since we started Oprah's in 2012 we have developed quite a number of great global partnerships. One is with control risks, control risks as a specialist risk consultancy. Their team help clients build organizations that are secure, compliant, and resilient in an age of ever changing risk and connectivity. Today I'll be interviewing a Gavin strong control risk director for Mexico Central America and the Caribbean. Gavin is based in Mexico City, uh, and has his feet on the ground assessing risks for corporate customers throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
Speaker 2:
1:28
A little background on Gavin for you. Here is m a in Latin American studies from the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London. He also has a BA in ancient history from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and a diploma in political analysis from the instant Tuto technolo Chico Autonomo Dima Heiko. Uh, Gavin has lived in Nicaragua and Panama and traveled extensively throughout the Americas before moving to Mexico. He's a regular contributor for media outlets including CNN, the Financial Times, Al Jazeera and the Mexican national newspaper. Reforma we are very happy to have Gavin with us today. Uh, just a note that, um, he is joining us at our Panama Global Investors Summit from the 15th to the 19th of July. So the timing of having this conversation with Gavin is of particular interest as we look at risk in the world as well as assessing risk and the risks in the world as well as, uh, focusing in on Latin America. All right. Hey, welcome Gavin. Thanks for joining me today. Nice car. [inaudible] mostly off shoots. It's a speed seat. Where do we find you this morning? So I'm currently in Control Risks Office in Mexico City, uh, in the port Allanco neighborhood. Uh, it's a great part of town. We've got a lovely view
Speaker 3:
3:00
of the CHAPULTEPEC parks who we can actually see the giraffes for Maria. Unfortunately we are on the 20th floor. That does mean that where there's um, earthquakes and the like, it's, um, can be a little bit scary, but aside from that, so it's a great part of the world's been.
Speaker 2:
3:17
Absolutely. So you have a front and center view of the castle up on the hill. Oh, wonderful. Wonderful. I'd like to start with a bit about your own, uh, how your own background shapes how you view the world. Um, would you care to tell us, uh, how your experience and background shaped how you see the world?
Speaker 3:
3:35
Sure. Um, so as I'm sure you can tell from my accent, I'm originally from the U K um, and I guess growing up, uh, my father was in the army. So we actually spent a lot of times sort of traveling around the world. And I guess as a result of thought it, that's no surprise that, that I've actually been an ask pat for quite some time. So, but she now been based in it lasted America for, for 10 years. Uh, slightly scared to say, uh, and I've been in Mexico City now for, for seven. Um, and in terms of how that sort of impacted upon my, my view of the world, well, I guess that's, I mean, certainly my view of the world has changed, um, over the last few years. Uh, there certainly wasn't, um, an element of which I kind of saw the world through the rose tinted glasses of Bret to thought that the British empire was marvelous and, and did more good than bad. Uh, that, that sort of position has definitely changed as a result of, of spending time, um, in emerging markets and developing countries, including countries that were once part of the British empire. Uh, so I think all of that has certainly had a pretty profound impact on how I view the world today.
Speaker 2:
5:01
And what about just everyday life? You, you spend your, your work day looking at the, uh, the fires that are burning throughout the world and, uh, in your locale as well. How do you, how does that affect you as you're walking around the streets of Mexico City or wherever else you go in the world on a daily basis?
Speaker 3:
5:21
Sure. Well, I mean, I think from a personal perspective, uh, I'm, I'm certainly acutely aware of how fortunate I am. Uh, how fortunate, uh, I've been to have the opportunity to, to travel, uh, across the world, but particularly extensively. Um, it lasts in American I think as well to actually live here. Um, it gives me a sort of, almost an added dimension to my experience here in this particular region. And I think from a, from a professional perspective that's, that's quite useful. In terms of my relationship with clients. Um, we do have very strong relationships with sort of companies, local companies, but, um, we do a lot of work with, with foreign clients. So, uh, investors for example, from the US who are looking at opportunities in Mexico or the rest of the Latin American. I think at times whilst they valued, uh, the sort of on the ground knowledge that our all local staff have, I think they also at times enjoy the opportunity to perhaps speak with someone that has a similar background and get their insight as to what it's like living, working, uh, in this part of the world.
Speaker 2:
6:34
Gotcha, Gotcha. Uh, control risks is all about helping corporations and other clients, uh, mitigate risk and to make choices to, to protect their, their business, their people, their products. Uh, can you tell us about the business of risk analysis? Um, what, uh, what does that entail?
Speaker 3:
6:57
Sure. Um, well, like I think in the first place, uh, it does require a kind of academic level of understanding of our markets. So, uh, yeah, clients to interact with our own list, people like me will find that. Yeah. We, we have this sort of mall assist as far most focused in, in the part of the world that we look at. And that's, that's, it's extremely important. So I think to have that sort of basis of knowledge. But I think, uh, we also coupled that with proven on the ground experience. So, uh, certainly from the perspective of Control Risks, we're not desktop panelists with people that spend a lot of time on the grounds, uh, with our clients, with our sources. That might be, um, you know, in pop more of the sort of challenging parts of Mexico from a security perspective. Some states like [inaudible] or it could be in sort of emerging markets with or frontier markets within the region. So, so I personally spend a lot of time in countries like what's a molar, a Nicaragua, a guy on a, uh, and I think that's where we can provide a really useful insights. So when a client comes to us with a particular problem that they want us to help them solve, it doesn't matter where in the region they're looking at. We can help and we can help because we've got on the ground in country experience.
Speaker 2:
8:30
Tell us about what you, what you're assessing. How are you assessing, uh, or more than what, than the how, but, uh,
Speaker 3:
8:38
well a lot of that, obviously it depends on the profile of the client. Um, whether that simply an investor looking at a particular opportunity, whether it's a company that protects, that perhaps already has operations in a specific, I'm as concerned about certain issues or whether it's a, a particular, uh, project, uh, owner operator, someone who perhaps is, has just bought a Greenfield site and is setting up, uh, some sort of renewable energy project for all the construction, um, to the operation. And then perhaps at some point in the set of a thought asset. Um, but in, and so the general terms we look, I guess at, um, political risk is, is a massive focus. Um, so that can be simply that of key political stability. Uh, you know, what's happening in terms of, of the government. Is it able to perform its duties? Is there any chance that there might be, um, some sort of tutor tower, which we have unfortunately seen in, in, in the region and in the last decade also, um, to more specific risks that, that, that companies have to deal with.
Speaker 3:
9:56
So is there a change in the regulatory environment that will make it more challenging to operate in a particular sector? Uh, what's happening in terms of, of corruption trends, um, is the political class doing what is necessary to improve things from that respect? And actually the unintended consequences is a crack down on corruption, uh, fermenting political instability. So that's something, you know, uh, that we've seen in Guatemala in recent years. Uh, and then some of the more sort of tangible risks. So looking at the security environment, um, what are the sorts of threats that companies face depending on whether we're operating in a particular country and what are the sort of, um, measures that they need to put in place to mitigate those, those risks. And then, um, a particularly important issue that sometimes gets overlooked, but a bubble in a country like Mexico where the headline issues and securities is the sort of social side of things.
Speaker 3:
10:57
So, so wat, if, if for example, it's a mining company, uh, what are the sort of issues they may face in terms of community pushback? Is there a legacy of environmental degradation that they need to be aware of? Uh, are there certain expert expectations among local communities until terms of job creation? Uh, and, and sort of factors like that. So it's a very broad gamut of, uh, of risks and issues. And we don't necessarily look at all of them at the same time. It's very dependent on the client. Um, so yeah, I think that in a nutshell as the, the things most from a risk perspective. Can you give us a few examples of projects that you've done recently? You don't have to divulge the names of the client. Sure. Uh, so in, in Mexico, a lot of our recent work has been, uh, around the changing government, uh, at the sort of federal government level.
Speaker 3:
11:55
So, as I'm sure you would have heard in the u s has been a lot of noise surrounding, uh, on, on new president amyloid. Uh, and in particular the sorts of policies that he might implement that may have an impact on, uh, foreign investors in Mexico, particularly in the energy sector. So a lot of the work that we've been doing that has been looking specifically at, um, what's been in the sort of sphere of, uh, policy monitoring. What are the sort of things so that the president and his administration are saying and doing and what does that mean for our clients? But then it's not just the monitoring side of things, it's then how do we use that information to support our clients going forward. So we have had, um, companies that are facing, um, contractual disputes, uh, and, uh, not only that their contracts might be counseled, but also what implications that may have for their other assets in the country.
Speaker 3:
12:56
So there's, there's work around sort of political stakeholder analysis, identify who the key decision makers, uh, within the federal government as well as state own companies like pemex and how um, they, um, should look to engage with them. Um, going forward, it's not necessary loggly lobbying per se, but it is all, is a way of supporting them, making sure that they know what the motivations of a particular, uh, political official may have, uh, is in Central America. A lot of our work has been around, um, political instability. So, um, the ongoing political crisis in Nicaragua. What, what implications does that have for companies in terms of business continuity? Uh, do they have evacuation plans in place just in case things deteriorate so significantly that they can't keep personnel on the ground? Uh, we've done more, uh, work, uh, interesting work in neighboring Honduras. Kind of similar in that it's focused on political stability, but looking specifically at the implications of protest and what that means from a kind of supply chain risk perspective.
Speaker 3:
14:10
Whether companies can get their product from May to be, whether employees can travel to work on a daily basis and be safe, that kind of thing. Uh, and then an issue that we're looking at the region as a whole as is, uh, the, the sort of imposition of sanctions, um, by the international community above all the u s government on, on particular public officials and companies, uh, across Central America and that, and the potential implications of that has. Um, and then finally, um, we do increase increasing amounts of sort of, uh, work in the Caribbean, uh, and not, not just the islands, but some of the Caricom countries like Billy's a Garner, sir, Suriname, um, around sort of market entry. So it's not always about risk, it's also about opportunity. And we have seen increased interest from clients. I'm looking at the ridges more sort of frontier markets. So we're doing a lot of work in that space.
Speaker 2:
15:10
Well, last question, uh, regarding of the kind of general concept of the control risks and what you do, what do you enjoy most about your, your work?
Speaker 3:
15:20
The people hands down? Uh, both the people that I work with, uh, in our office here in Mexico. Uh, but also, um, the sources that I use and the context that I have on the ground, uh, across the region that the journalists in Nicaragua who sending me, what's our whatsapp. So on a daily basis telling me where protests are happening, where the security forces are deploying personnel, uh, to the academic, um, a Guatemala City who's, who's giving me Intel into what potentially will happen in terms of the government and whether they'll stay in power until the end of their term in office or whether we can see some sort of house to take place. And then also our clients. Um, I particularly like, um, the client engagements where we give them the opportunity to, to support, um, them throughout the project life cycle. So it's not simply we need a political risk report, please send us that. And that's the end of the relationship. Now we're looking at a potential opportunity in this market. Initially we need a market entry threat assessment. But from there we want you to help us implement our risk mitigation plans. And, and the, those I think are the most sort of rewarding relationships because they're, you not only are developing a sort of business relationship, but also a personal relationship that ultimately can turn into friendships. So I think, yeah, certainly the people I think is that the best thing about our work.
Speaker 2:
16:57
Great. And, uh, control risks has, uh, folks like yourself and teams like what you lead, uh, all over the world. Correct. Um, yeah. Yeah. Yep. So what I'd like to do is I'd like to shift over to looking at how you and your colleagues are viewing the world today. So the open ended question, uh, that I will start with is, um, how does the world look to you at this point in time?
Speaker 3:
17:25
Uh, it's pretty uncertain. Um, I think a lot of, uh, uh, emanates from what's happening in the White House. Um, I think there's a sort of tentative change in the world order and, and, and some of that possibly predates, um, president Trump taking power. But certainly I think his actions and policies to date have properly put that process into fos forward. And I think that's most noticeable in terms of the relationship between the U S and China. Um, and I think from a geopolitical perspective, that's obviously fermenting a great to live on certainty, but I, but I think as well that's having a tangible implications for companies, particularly those that are exposed, um, in both markets. Um, uh, and not certainly something that we're, we're keeping a close eye on. Um, I think there are other ways in which that sort of changing world orders manifesting itself. I think we're saying, um, India flex its wings, um, uh, a lot more sort of proactively than it was in the past.
Speaker 3:
18:35
And it did. It's interesting, you know, looking at that situation from, from a British perspective of how the relationship has changed between the UK and India, particularly as the UK tries to find a new place in the world, um, as, um, states looms at who knows when that will happen probably will, what's, uh, who knows exactly when that will happen but it is on the horizon but it's, but it is, uh, and I'll be the first who admit it as, as a, as a Brit, that perhaps our position in the world is not as significant as it once was, but it is nonetheless an indication of how well do order is changing. Um, and, and I think that, uh, bring it back to Latin America cause it's difficult for me to look at the world and not take Latin Americans consideration. There is certainly an opportunity, I think for some of the regions, big powers, most, most noticeably Mexico and Brazil to become more assertive when it comes to sort of global leadership.
Speaker 3:
19:42
Uh, unfortunately from the sort of Mexico perspective, I don't see that happening under the current administration. Why is there an opportunity for them? And why would you recommend the big leadership? I think, uh, the main reason why there's an opportunity because I think the United States sort of traditional position as being seen as the world, uh, not only the world global superpower, but also sort of a global leader in terms of to pick it up, get it, go ahead. Sure. So I think that's an opportunity for, for some of the larger powers within Latin America to become a bit more assertive, uh, both in terms of regional leadership and also global leadership. Uh, certainly taking advance to the fact that, um, the u s is positioned in that respect has been on the mind in recent years. And I think, um, it, countries like Mexico and Brazil can perhaps forge, um, a path without
Speaker 4:
20:48
always sort of deferring to, to the leadership of the u s
Speaker 2:
20:54
so it was really an opportune time because there's so much uncertainty and amongst [inaudible] at the top who's going to be an end up on top. So those who are further down in the hierarchy that has been established and it's continuously changing hierarchy that there, that there's opportunity for those folks to assert themselves. I like hearing that view. I think that's actually a great view because it makes, it gives them more hoe it gives additional hope for, um, for, for other countries besides the most dominant ones. Why India though? What's what's happening that's causing that to emerge as they are?
Speaker 4:
21:35
Well, I left in the first instance. It's a humongous country with, with a, a massive, uh, population. Uh, it's historically had, um, a pretty tense relationship, uh, with, with China. Uh, and I think going forward, uh, it will on to sort of procure project a stronger image of itself. Uh, particularly as it sort of consolidates its position is born of the sort of world's economic powerhouses. And it goes back to the point I made about the changing relationship between the UK. And it is interesting that I think over the course of the next year or so, Indian property will replace, um, the UK in terms of the slice of it's committed, not in itself. I think it is an interesting reflection of where India is going and not respect. Um, so not certainly I think, um, from a control risk perspective as well. Uh, it's a market where, um, we already have a very significant presence that we have offices in Delhi and Mumbai. Uh, I'm part of that reflects that sort of increasing client interest. That
Speaker 2:
22:47
interesting. Yeah. I can remember a year, several years ago reading an analysis that compared China and India in terms of becoming a dominant power in the world. And it is an advantage that India had was the, uh, not that it's a slightly smaller population, but a significantly younger population that, uh, I don't know what the average age is or the median age, but, uh, they're, they have a significant workforce and brilliant education system as well. Not that China doesn't. Um, what, uh, what, what are the, looking at the map behind you that, and it's a co color coded for, uh, for regions of areas of concern. Where do you see some really good things happening in the world? So we're where no one needs you and your services, Gavin.
Speaker 4:
23:42
Wow. Well, they're kind of, I think it's difficult to say whether they're are, I think even in parts of the world where there are, uh, obvious opportunities, um, there's still an element of risk. Um, I know, I mean looking outside of, of last of America, I still difficult for me to look past. Yeah. A country like India in terms of the opportunity in, in a variety of sectors for, for investors to look at. I think that's it. That's fast, big on all sorts of, uh, one to watch. Uh, we had, I guess previously there was some, um, optimism about, you know, countries like, uh, Iran, uh, as potentially, uh, markets that were going to open up at some point in inverted commerce. But I think I've fought, she gave back to what I was talking about in terms of some of the challenging chip political dynamics.
Speaker 4:
24:43
I think, uh, things in that respect in looking a little bit trickier than perhaps they were through three or four years ago. Fortunately. Um, I'm, but let's be honest, Jason, I, and I'm extremely biased because of where I'm based, but I do genuinely think there are not, so, uh, lots of great opportunities in, in this part of the world. Um, and it's difficult for me to look past Mexico despite something negative headlines running the security situation and, um, the clear challenges, um, as a result of the change in government, there are lots and lots of, of opportunities. It's providing you do your due diligence and providing you take time to make sure you have the sort of requisite mitigation plans in place. Um, but I think as well as you will know, the world is getting smaller and smaller. And so I think there are lots of interesting opportunities in, in more sort of frontier markets.
Speaker 4:
25:42
Um, so for example, uh, in, in Central America, I guess we have sort of two focuses, main focuses of our Central America business, uh, sending Panama, uh, from, uh, from financial services and sort of legal technologies perspective. But also, uh, Guatemala for us is, is certainly one to watch. Uh, the potential that in the regional context is pretty significant. Uh, Guatemala's already dominating, uh, the sort of regional electricity grid to the point that Guatemala actually exports electricity to Mexico. And I think, um, in that, in that context, particularly given that the current Mexican president is very key to, to buy the, the south of Mexico, I think there are lots of interesting opportunities that are, um, as I mentioned in terms of frontier markets, I think in, in, in the Caribbean as well. Um, go on as obviously garnered a lot of attention for the massive oil fines that, but I think there are opportunities in some of the larger markets like the Dominican Republic, uh, to make a Trinidad Tobago, whether it's, um, energy, but oil and gas and sort of power generation or, um, mining, hospitality services, financial services that this, there are a lot of things companies and investors can, can look out across the region.
Speaker 2:
27:09
Right. And yet we know as promising as they are, that every country has significant risks that need to be, uh, addressed. Uh, you know, before we drill further into Latin America and, uh, uh, kind of the, the, the reason for this podcast is that you'll be speaking with us in Panama just about a week and a half from now. But before we go there, I'd like you to, uh, tell me what are a few spots in the world that just really concerned me and I couldn't, this doesn't necessarily need to be geographic spots. It's what are the three big biggest concerns that you have right now?
Speaker 4:
27:48
Um, I'm right to say, I mean, one of my biggest concerns is, is the Trump administration and the fact that it's likely that Trump could win another term in office. Um, so I'm concerned what will implications that will have not only the geopolitics politics, but I also think, and this is my second concern, he attitudes towards migration and migrants, uh, across the world. That's, it's definitely a hustle, a hot topic of conversation, uh, in Mexico at the moment. Um, given that that's such a key issue between the Mexican and the u s government and also deep between those two governments and, and conscious like Watson Model Salvador and Honduras. And I'm, I'm concerned that sometimes the sensitivities around that particular issue and unfortunately some of the, um, less than savory opinions that people including in the political class have on this issue sometimes blinds us to coming up with an effective, uh, policy longterm strategy to deal with the issue of migration.
Speaker 4:
29:04
Um, so in looking at particularly essential American migration to the United States, because that's not forget actually Mexican migration to the u s has been falling, uh, piecemeal over the last few years. So we're really looking at the issue of, of migration from the northern triangle of Central America to the United States. And frankly, the Trump administration's, uh, submissions to that problem. This is, is simply making it more difficult for migrants to make that journey, whereas actually we should be looking at the long term root causes. So insecurity in those countries, lack of economic issue, uh, opportunities and inherent systemic issues within the sort of political system of those countries. In some, the, the sad thing to say is some that, uh, progress hot made have been made in that respects. If you look at what's happening, Watson modern in terms of the crackdown on corruption there at the last three or four years, there were tangible gains.
Speaker 4:
30:05
Indeed, a president was forced out of office, back and pro small locations. But it seems a lot of that has been reversed mainly because, um, this being mixed signals being sent from, from the White House in that respect. So that's that something that concerns me. Uh, I think, uh, another massive concern of mine and it's eight, it's an existential threat to humanity. I apologize about, sounds a little bit jump dramatic, but it's true and that's climate change and the world's response to it. Uh, it's a problem of our own making and, and I'm concerned. Um, I'm not, I'm not a parent yet, but it's something on the horizon. I do because I am concerned by the future, the well because I, I feel that perhaps the damage is being has been done and any solutions that may come in the coming years may be too little, too late. So that, that certainly a massive concern.
Speaker 4:
31:03
And then finally perhaps a little bit niche. Uh, and it's very much a personal concern of mine and not necessarily representative. What could power control rescues the world. I am concerned about social media. I think fool all the good it does. Um, there are a lot of sort of negative, uh, consequences that I think needs to be properly looked into. I think I, I guess I'm the sort of older end of the on 35, so on the older end of the millennials spectrum. So I should probably be fully embracing social media and all of that, but I am concerned that it, Hans, what's ry narcissism and insecurity amongst sort of younger parts of that, of the population. So I guess that's something that concerns me as well.
Speaker 2:
31:55
I, I think that's fair. You know, I think the first two that you brought up, um, I'm sure you're going to bring those up when you're speaking with this Panama. I think that you will actually create a bit of a, have a good discussion there because we have, uh, we'll, we'll have folks present who are individuals present who are from all over the world and they have their own views of migration and as well as views of the, how they see the u s administration, whichever administration is, how they affect, uh, the, the world. Uh, and I think you might get a little bit of a pushback, uh, as, as well. Uh, we're, we're generally libertarian in our, in our makeup. Uh, definitely some well thought out opinions, however, so I'll look forward to that. Uh, I, before we wrap up, I'd actually like to drill into Panama specific. Um, you have been speaking a bit about Latin America and clearly that that is where your, uh, your strength lies and your experience lies. Uh, we'll be in Panama, one of the, one of the, uh, most, um, promising spots on the planet right now to give us your impressions of Panama. And let's, let's start with what, what, what do they have going for them besides a brand new administration, uh, and, and a lot of optimism. And then we'll dig into what are some of the risks there,
Speaker 4:
33:22
there, you know, we'll look it certainly within ascension American context is kind of an a waste of sort of public security and political stability. Um, we definitely haven't seen the same sort of political upheavals and Panama, um, that we've seen in other parts of the region. Although it is interesting to note that, uh, I, I, and I'm perhaps I may be contradicted by one of the delegates in a couple of weeks time, but as I understand it, since the sort of return to democracy and part of modern adverted commoners, uh, the incumbent party has never won the general election. So there is instability in that, uh, every, every sort of five years when there's a general presidential election, there's a change in administration. So that does obviously implies some sort of instability and uncertainty, certainly from a policy perspective. But I think broadly speaking, um, yeah, it's a country where investors on the whole that are on top too.
Speaker 4:
34:27
It's, it's, um, a favorable place to do business. It's a safe place to do business, which I think is important for, um, well it didn't in, in this then it's is important that at every company, whether you're a Panamanian company or an international company, it's important to know that your, your employees can travel to and from work and, and feel safe. Um, so I think that, yeah, that's, that's as sort of the positive side of things. And as well, Panama is a country that over the loss of, beyond the last decade I would say has enjoyed a persistently high levels of economic growth. Um, it's very much the sort of stand stand up performer in that respect. Uh, and I guess not only in the, in the region, but I think in terms of, uh, globally, I, I struggle to being off the top of my head of many countries that have enjoyed such consistently high levels of back anomic growth over the last 10 years.
Speaker 4:
35:28
And that was indeed even, even during the sort of global economic downturn probably more actually, um, proved pretty resilient, uh, to sort of external economic headwinds, which is, which is kind of remarkable given that it's a, it's a country that, uh, very much makes full use of its position as a sort of focal point of global trade because of the Panama Canal, but also as a sort of, um, regional financial wealth glow, deep sort of financial and logistics hub. So clearly it sort of economic fundamentals are in a pretty solid place and not, not certainly get through from a business perspective.
Speaker 2:
36:12
It's why, why do you think they, whether the, the financial crisis so, well,
Speaker 4:
36:20
um, I think, um, because I, I, that whatever happens in Panama from, for political perspective, it's an, it's an investor friendly destination. So whilst then there may be a downturn in a canal tropic for example, which obviously remains a sort of lifeblood of the Panamanian economy. There are always companies looking to invest significant amounts of money there and it's, and it's a remarkable, certainly, certainly every time I traveled that the amount of development that's going on, you know, the construction of high rises, um, the development of sort of very bespoke, uh, business parks that often have quite favorable to taps regimes. I think all of those sort of factors coupled with the fact that it's a politically stable country, uh, relatively safe country. Um, I think all of those things help it sort of mitigate that, you know, those sort of wider economic issues.
Speaker 2:
37:23
Yeah, yeah. I have a much shallower, uh, understanding than you have of it, but I tend to agree with you on that. And I just this morning I had a call with, uh, someone from Panama Pacific Hoe, which is one of their economic, uh, development zones. And, uh, they former US air force base that they're developing. Uh, they have almost 250 foreign companies just based in that small section of, of Panama City. And uh, uh, it, it really is promising. I find it interesting as I interact with people now anticipating the event and the, the, the, they think of Latin America or Central America, uh, with concern. Maybe it seems, it seems people, most people don't really know that I know. Don't really know what, uh, um, safe haven, not haven, but a safe spot and promising spot. Uh, Panama is, and I think it's also quite interesting that, uh, the, I think it was gallop that put out a report just recently of, uh, I'm going to make this really shallow, but the happiness index in, in world and Panama came out number two, the other Latin America, Central American countries. Most, we're also in the, in the top 10, 10 or so of that. It's absolutely fascinating. Well, I think that we should probably wrap up. So I'm going to ask one more question of you and that is, let's go back to control risks. Um, how do you think that control risks positively and positively influences the world?
Speaker 4:
39:04
Sure. Um, I think, well in the first instance, the, the relationship that we have with our clients is key. So we're not only helping them, uh, mitigate risks. We're actually helping them identify opportunities. Uh, and in that respect, it means not only supporting clients, um, to ensure that they do things well, but also that they do things right in the correct fashion. So when they're looking at particular, uh, opportunities or particular projects, are they, you know, managing, uh, as they should be, their environmental and social footprint. Um, all the implementing, um, robust compliance mechanisms. Um, and I think most importantly, are they providing the right support in terms of juicy of cats and their employees. I think if we can continue supporting clients and companies across the world to that, that has to be a positive influence know.
Speaker 2:
40:06
Excellent. Well, Hey, I look forward to spending a few days with you and Panama in a very short period of time and having you, uh, uh, provoke us with the, with your thoughts, uh, on the world in Latin America. Thanks very much for joining us. Gavin Laurel
Speaker 4:
40:24
tool jays. Thank you so much again for the opportunity to speak review and I look forward to to see you and the rest of the team are part of more in a couple of weeks.
Speaker 2:
40:32
Absolutely. Thank you. If you are listening to or watching this podcast before the 15th of July, you might want to consider joining us in Panama where Gavin will be speaking about a risk and assessing risk for uh, companies and foreign companies that we invest in. Uh, you can head over to [inaudible] Oprah's invest.com/panama 2019 and I'm registered to join us. Uh, if you're an active investor, accomplished and accredited, I recommend that you consider obras by crown private. Uh, did you so head over to Oberson invest.com and to learn about our group. Okay. And, uh, we are currently welcoming new members to join in this time. Our members and guests are an amazing group of self-made and accomplished investors. They come from 15 countries and counting and really a wide variety of professions. We share the common pursuit of surrounding ourselves with great people. In great places and gaining significant returns and investing. Thank you for joining me this week. See you in Panama.
Speaker 1:
42:01
[inaudible].