Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Consulting firm hires former Puerto Rico Treasury secretary

By on March 15, 2019

Fuentes to lead key growth areas at Birling Capital, contribute to island’s development from ‘other side of the fence’

Editor’s note: The following originally appeared in the March 14 – 20, 2019, issue of Caribbean Business.

The president and chief executive officer of the financial consulting firm Birling Capital, Francisco Rodríguez Castro, announced this week the appointment of CPA and former Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Teresita Fuentes as vice chairperson and member of the firm’s executive committee, as well as director of its corporate, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and Acts 20 & 22 advisory areas.

Teresa Fuentes (CB file)

“I’m joining the Birling Capital group, basically doing a lot of what I was doing when I worked in public accounting. Much of the consulting I did was for business with global companies that are always doing transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions or acquiring some line of business, or had some discrepancy with an exemption decree that required consulting or have investments and are eligible for tax credits,” Fuentes recalled, noting that she will be in charge of related duties in her new position with Birling Capital.

Fuentes explained that among the first steps she will take in her new role is developing a strategic plan to identify companies that could use her specialized consulting and present these entities a value proposition.

“Puerto Rico is going through very complex economic situations, the tax systems are just as complex and businesses, more than ever, need good advice on a wide range of services, which is where the synergy that Birling can provide to these businesses comes from,” the CPA explained, stressing “that is our interest, to begin to approach companies to see what their challenges are and how we can help them.”

Fuentes stressed that Birling Capital developed a suite of services that enable it to deal with debt issues, treasury, asset management, acquiring or selling a business, and sophisticated advice on incentive matters, providing a valuable service, she said, that banks cannot offer, especially during uncertain times such as the one Puerto Rico is living.

The finance expert, who was briefly head of Treasury, focused on Puerto Rico’s economic expansion, an objective that aligns with her new role as well. She is now intent on helping businesses achieve their potential, which would accomplish the same goal of benefiting the island.

“Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I would like to help them [businesses] grow, to be successful. That they develop to give opportunities to young people, so they can stay in Puerto Rico and not leave…for these businesses to flourish because that’s what our economy needs,” she said.

“We cannot depend on the government. Businesses have to do a series of things, some easier than others, but with the right advice they have to refocus and not depend on the government because the government has its hands full,” she assured.

Fuentes acknowledged that the island is experiencing challenging times, but she believes that with each obstacle an opportunity for growth exists and that is the approach businesses in Puerto Rico should develop.

For his part, Rodríguez Castro was enthusiastic about the veteran CPA joining his firm.

“Teresita is a leader who has made important contributions from the public and private sectors, both to her clients and to Puerto Rico. We are very pleased that she is joining the Birling Capital team,” he said.

Fuentes graduated magna cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico, with a degree in business administration and accounting; and from the executive leadership program of the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago. Her experience in accounting includes national and international firms such as Laventhol & Horwath.

Enhanced leadership

Birling Capital also recently hired CPA César E. Hernández-Monagas, as head of the Hospitality, Healthcare and Government Practices team. He was CFO of International Hospitality Enterprises Inc. for more than 22 years.

The firm focuses on institutional, government and middle-market and family-owned corporations. Its senior leadership combines decades’ worth of advisory and transactional experience and also offers consulting in the retail, education, insurance, banking and government markets, as well as public-private partnerships.

Birling’s CEO, Rodríguez Castro, writes a column for Caribbean Business, where he delves into the week’s political and market developments, utilizing his 25 years of experience working with government, multinational and public corporations to provide a unique understanding of their implications.

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