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April 30, 2008

PwC establishes Caribbean cluster group

PwC establishes Caribbean cluster group

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has officially grouped a regional network of eight member firms in the Caribbean in an effort to improve collaboration and resource sharing. The group, known as the C8, features firms in the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the East Caribbean (Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis), Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao and St Maarten) and Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

C8 features various strategy groups dealing with ways to improve the efficiency of core PwC service areas such as assurance, taxation and advisory. Although each firm is an independent entity in a legal and organisational sense, they are now able to draw upon regional resources much more efficiently.

PwC Jamaica territory senior partner and newly appointed C8 chairman Everton McDonald told IAB the C8 network connects the skills, expertise and industry knowledge of 80 partners and 1,400 staff in 15 countries in the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean.

“These eight firms, including Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean, are pretty dominant in our individual markets and there is a recognition that by collaborating we could use that position to offer distinctive client services within the region and take advantage of opportunities that this new level of collaboration will provide,” he said. “It also provides a means for us to share our talent and resources to meet our global PwC standard and pursue the global strategy.”

McDonald is the inaugural chairman of C8, a position that is to rotate between senior territory partners every two or three years. He described C8 as an umbrella organisation that helps firms where required.

“There are opportunities that in the past on an individual firm basis we might not have been able to take advantage of because of the resource constraint. Now we have the ability to move resources within the region to take advantage of such opportunities,” McDonald explained, adding that he expects the strategy to generate revenue growth across the region.

Forming regional cluster groups is part of PwC’s global strategy of regionalisation. Although complete integration of firms is not under discussion at present, McDonald said such a structure could evolve in the future. He added that the C8 group was also motivated by an effort of Caribbean governments to better integrate the different islands’ economies.

“There are various initiatives on a Caribbean level for the Caribbean economies to work closer together. There are a quite a few businesses in the Caribbean that are spreading their wings to do business in as many territories as possible including going into South and Central America. So we see our positioning as critical to be part of this movement for greater Caribbean integration and for the expansion for inter-regional business activities,” McDonald said.

McDonald said PwC is the leading firm across the Caribbean in terms of size and the amount of business the firm attracts. However, it is not the only Big Four firm to establish a specific Caribbean cluster: Ernst & Young and Deloitte have similar but smaller clusters covering the same region.

Arvind Hickman

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