The Shirley Playfair Lecture Series is an Annual Lecture which focuses on Competition Law and Policy and seeks to facilitate healthy discussions on competition in a public forum. It was held for the first time in September 2000 to honour the life and work of Mrs. Shirley Playfair, who died tragically while serving in the capacity of the first Chairman of Jamaica’s Competition Agency, the Fair Trading Commission.
THE ELEVENTH Lecture in the Annual Shirley Playfair Lecture Series was held on Thursday, September 9, 2010 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. The theme was “Competition and Regulation in the Banking Sector”; and the speakers were the Honorable Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance & the Public Service, and Mr. Bruce Bowen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited.
The programme started at 3:55 pm with a Welcome and Opening Remarks from Dr. Derrick McKoy, Chairman of the FTC; followed by the Honorable Michael Stern, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry Investment & Commerce, who offered remarks.
Minister Shaw’s presentation addressed the need for growth of the economy, as the ultimate and only solution to our economic dilemma. He emphasized that the financial services sector and the commercial banks have a critical role as the economy is nurtured to good health. He urged banks to implement measures to improve efficiency and competitiveness; and encouraged them to seek new technological methods outside the traditional bank client/teller contact in relation to how clients carry out their transactions.
Mr. Bruce Bowen, while acknowledging the special position held by commercial banks in the financial sector, pointed to the other institutions (e.g. credit unions and building societies) with which banks compete. He raised the point that the regulation of some financial services will necessarily lead to an adjustment in the pricing strategy of banks in relation to non-regulated services to compensate for any fall out in revenue.
Following the Lecture, a vibrant, interesting and provocative discussion ensued in which several members of the audience posed questions and directed comments to the presenters. This Discussion session was moderated by the Chairman and lasted for thirty about 30 minutes.
Several financial institutions were represented at the Lecture. These include National Commercial Bank, Jamaica National Building Society and the Credit Union League. Other attendees include representative of Government Ministries and Agencies, the business community, legal fraternity and the media. Comments and questions from these representatives were quite instructive; and therefore spurred further interests and discussions.
In the hour preceding the Lecture, both Chairman McKoy and Mr. David Miller, Executive Director, were interviewed on Power 106’s radio talk show “Both Sides of the Story”, hosted by Mr. Dervan Malcolm. Like the previous year, the show which was carried live on the radio, was also streamed live on the internet. Excerpts of not only the featured presentations but also the Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Minister Stern’s comments and the Executive Director’s closing remarks were carried live.
As part of the promotion of the event, on September 3, 2010 the Executive Director participated in an interview on the radio talk show Independent Talk, hosted by Ralston Hyman and Ronald Thwaites.