Meet Graeme Robertson, Chairman Intrasia Group

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Tell us about your business

Intrasia Group represents my family office and is primarily involved in the provision of corporate, financial and investment business services.  Most of our operating companies are managed from Mauritius but our Holdco is administered from Singapore.  We have an international clientele comprising corporates, high net worth individuals and family offices where we structure for tax effectiveness or financial and corporate management.  Our investments are mainly in African resources through public-listed or private companies in Australia or Mauritius and where we exercise some control.

In Singapore, Intrasia Corporate Services and Intra Capital are some of the operating subsidiaries.  In Mauritius, subsidiaries Intrasia Management (Mauritius) Ltd and Intrasia Corporate Services Ltd run the corporate services and associated companies, AfrAsia Bank Ltd and Ekada Capital Ltd handle the financial business, particularly for Australian businesses with investments in Africa and Asia.

What’s your role all about?

I am the chairman, big on strategy and direction but small on management which is handled by more competent people.

What’s the hot topic in your sector right now?

As we emerge from the major impact of CoVid 19 with increased border restrictions and governments  increasing taxes and fiscal imposts to replenish depleted coffers or the inflationary effects of printing more money, corporate structuring and international tax planning  become an important topic touching tech, resources, industry etc.  Through Intra Capital we are busy sourcing non- mining investment grade debt for financing in Australia and Asia and are witness to many popular topics such as non-meat protein, digitisation, cyber crime, tech, the rise and demise of bitcoin etc.

Why are you a member of AustCham in Singapore?

AustCham is a great institution which provides excellent networking potential for its members.   I joined the Indonesian equivalent in the 70’s and was an active member so it was a logical step to continue with AustCham Singapore as a Australian-born Singaporean.  Inspired by the work done by AustCham Singapore, we established AustCham Mauritius (including Madagascar and Seychelles) of which I am currently the President.   Different from AustCham Singapore where there is a large Australian community, AustCham Mauritius is more internationally inclusive.

Where do you go to relax in Singapore?

Relaxation to me is physical activity so I play tennis nearly every day at Club Damai at Grand Hyatt Hotel or on private courts.  Otherwise you can find me playing golf at Sentosa or working-out at One Degree15’ Marina.

What are your predictions for the next 12 months?

CoVid – The Singapore Government approach to CoVid is conservative but is very effective and well-managed.  The recognition that the Virus will be here to stay  and that vaccination and testing will relegate it to the realm of other viruses like the flu is pragmatic and sensible.   On the other hand the ostrich approach of the Australian Government and States is pathetic on vaccine roll-out and the use of border restrictions to combat the virus is like using Donald Trump as a goodwill ambassador for internationalism!

Singapore could be performing better in relation to international travel and recording of vaccines as against the terribly onerous 14 days confinement for fully vaccinated travellers who travel fully vaccinated to avoid quarantine confinement.  I expect with my travelling routine to waste nearly 2 months on quarantine and I have been fully vaccinated.   Mauritius is one of the more successful countries in dealing with CoVid and from 15 July to 1 October 2021 fully vaccinated travellers will serve the 14 days quarantine in resort hotel ‘bubbles’ where they can use all facilities whereas non vaccinated people serve 14 days in a quarantine room.   This certainly encourages vaccination.

Non CoVid –  Otherwise, expect increased travel difficulties next year as airlines unlikely to re-commission aircraft to match consumer demand.   Zoom, Teams, Blue Jeans and the array of inefficient conferencing platforms will lose vocal support and that horribly boring noun ‘webinar’ will appear less and less on our computer screens.  Most of the world will awaken to the reality that there is a nasty community virus which the press will label the ‘Alpha Variant’ and it will be necessary to regularly vaccinate.   Australia may redesign the illegal immigration holding islands into quarantine centres for anyone caught sneezing.

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