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Government insists Premier does not have a fintech adviser

Kerem Kolcuoglu (second left), with David Burt, the Premier, (Photograph supplied)

The Government has moved to end confusion about whether or not the Premier has a fintech adviser.

The intervention came after a digital consultant claimed he was serving in the post despite the Government insisting the previous holder of the position was not being replaced.

Kerem Kolcuoglu, founder of Penrose Partners, described himself as David Burt’s financial technology adviser at an event, and has also done so online.

Mr Burt has stated he is aiming for Bermuda to win a bigger slice of the lucrative financial technology market.

In a tape of a business question and answer session he took part in, Mr Kolcuoglu said: “Part of my day job is filling in space while the Premier runs between meetings.

“I am a fintech adviser to the Premier’s office and to the Economic Development Department of the Bermuda Government, so, my primary role is to keep the Premier connected to the fintech industry.

“And, within that falls the digital asset and blockchain sectors, so, I am also the managing partner and founder of Penrose Partners.

“We work specifically in the digital asset industry as a consulting firm and we have worked with multiple governments around the world, primarily on community and educational initiatives, as well as interacting with the private sector.

“We are based in Canada and in Bermuda and welcome a lot of the businesses that make the transition from North America or from Europe to Bermuda and help them integrate with the local digital asset industry in Bermuda as well as interact with the Government and have a clear understanding of our local regulations for digital assets in Bermuda.”

Referring to the event he was speaking at, Mr Kolcuoglu said: “So, I’ll be supporting the Premier in this discussion if any rabbit holes get explored too deep.”

The comments came despite the Government saying that the previous fintech adviser to the Government, Denis Pitcher, would not be replaced.

The announcement was made as Mr Pitcher was hailed by the Government as “pivotal” in Bermuda’s ambitious push to increase its stake in the technology market.

Referring to Mr Kolcuoglu’s statement, a Government spokeswoman said: “He incorrectly referenced the ‘fintech adviser to the Premier’s office’.”

The spokeswoman added: “The role that Mr Denis Pitcher held is not being filled. There is no discrepancy.”

The Government had stated it was seeking to replace a fintech analyst after the previous job-holder left in March and that the successful applicant would able to guide the development of the sector.

A government spokeswoman said: “While recruitment is under way to fill the fintech analyst post, the EDD is in the process of securing assistance from Penrose Partners, who has worked with the EDD in the past with fintech education and is familiar with Bermuda’s fintech ecosystem.

Mr Kolcuoglu told The Royal Gazette: “I incorrectly displayed the title of "fintech Advisor @Premier’s Office” for the Twitter space session.“

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Published May 02, 2023 at 7:29 am (Updated May 02, 2023 at 7:29 am)

Government insists Premier does not have a fintech adviser

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