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PANAMA - Economy

Luis Eduardo Ocando B.

Country Managing Partner, Tax, Law Leader – Panama, & Market Segment Leader Mexico – Central America, EY

Bio

Luis Eduardo Ocando B. is Country Managing Partner, Tax | Law Leader – Panama & Market Segment Leader Mexico – Central America at EY. He is a member of the expanded executive committee of the Panama, Central America & Dominican Republic firm of EY (EYCA) and member of the EYCA Tax Executive Committee. He is a tax lawyer with more than 35 years of experience in Venezuelan and international taxation and has been recognized by International Tax Review as one of the most renowned tax advisors in Venezuela for seven consecutive years.

“Our teams are what differentiate us in the market, and these are differentiated by their talent and values, as we promote respect for diversity and inclusion globally.”
EY works to build a better world of business and help create long-term value for clients, people, and society.
What main areas of opportunity have you identified in Panama?

During the pandemic, Panama demonstrated over again that it is the main logistic center in the region. Many of the vaccine warehouses were in Panama, and distribution to other countries was carried out from here. Almost every day, cargo planes came to Panama from many countries transporting medicine, vaccines, and different kind of products. All this showed that the talent and work of Panamanians is also a great value. On the other hand, the war of Russia in Ukraine is really complicated now, along with the crisis in China and the inflation around the world. There is speculation that we are at the beginning of an economic crisis, and therefore we need to be prepared. However, Panama is a great country that offers many opportunities, especially in logistics and services and this should be enhanced every day.

What is EY’s competitive advantage, and why do people choose your services?

We are one of the biggest accounting, tax, and consulting firms in the world. The difference between EY and its competitors is that we operate as a one single firm in Panama, Central America, and the Dominican Republic; however, we do not necessarily have all the resources here or in other of the countries. The overall difference we have in the market is that if we do not have talent here, then we find a talent that can do the work within our region, thus giving added value to our customers. The market says we are one single premium around the world, though that is not necessarily true when you share the same profit and loss. We have 300 people sitting in Panama, but more than 1,600 sitting across our Central America region. Regarding sustainability, for example, the problem is that the Panama Canal is a water company and not a transportation company. A big part of the Panama Canal is an artificial lake, and the water comes from rain. It does not have a pipeline going to another place to find water. The Panama Canal is working hard on sustainability to keep the water source system close and find new ones in order for the Panama Canal to continue operating. It offers us many opportunities regarding sustainability. EY exists to build a better world of business, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society, and building trust in the capital markets. Through data and technology, EY’s diverse teams, located in more than 150 countries, deliver confidence through auditing and consulting, helping clients grow, transform, and operate. Our teams are what differentiate us in the market, and these are differentiated by their talent and values, as we promote respect for diversity and inclusion globally. Locally, in Panama, we carry out different activities to promote inclusion and diversity, which allows us to stand out in values, what is essential for us.

Can you elaborate on your Better Working World Data Challenge Project and the business model behind it?

Our purpose at EY of building a better working world has never been clearer—EY is committed to being carbon negative by 2023. We’re working on that now. Water, air conditioning, lights, and everything else is set up to meet the sustainability KPI that Panama has. Everything we do relates to sustainability. For example, nobody has an office as unique space; we all sit together in open spaces, and we do not have or keep papers—we have migrated almost all of our archiving methodology to digital. We have been certified as a Great Place to Work for the last eight years because people are happy to work with us. We are extremely flexible and are focused on sustainability. We are motivated to keep our people happy, which also keeps our clients happy.

 

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