Manrique Blen joined Auxadi in a top management position after the acquisition of Resolve BPO.

Manrique joins Auxadi as Director of International Corporations, based in Auxadi’s Hub in Costa Rica, with direct oversight of the six offices in the region that now form part of Auxadi’s structure (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica), helping clients internationalise their operations not only in Central America but in the whole Latam region.

Auxadi’s Sr VP of International Corporates, Raimundo Diaz, sat down for a chat with Manrique.

Raimundo Diaz (RD): For those who don’t know you: who is Manrique Blen? Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Manrique Blen (MB): I’ve been working with Resolve BPO for quite a while, and before that I was with Deloitte in Costa Rica for 9 years. I worked at helping investors coming into the region, helping with compliance, accounting, and payroll – everything to do with launching a business. I was part of the international tax team, assisting with structures in many different countries, and in charge of expats and immigration – helping staff to work in CR. I also managed FATCA and CRS compliance for Deloitte Costa Rica.

RD: How would you define your first steps as part of Auxadi Group?

MB: Extremely interesting! At Resolve I missed Deloitte’s structure and size, the international aspect – I love the international aspect.

And I have found that Auxadi is the Apple Inc. of Accounting & Tax. Auxadi believe that everything can be improved; they are not stuck in the past or working with traditional methods. Even though Auxadi have been around for 40 years, there is a ‘startup culture’.

Central America has a lot to offer the world. Some of the world’s biggest companies are in the region, offering services to their global clients – and it’s important for Auxadi to be here.

Costa Rica has been working with FDI for 50–60 years now, and it’s very easy for global companies to invest here. There are no cultural differences, tax system is easy to understand, and many companies find that Costa Rica is a good location to keep control of their global or regional operations yet still be close to their US headquarters, to cover the whole Latam.

“Auxadi wants to talk! And they deliver what they say they can.
It really is a one-stop-shop, and every country and region in the Group is working the same way, producing the same kind and quality and service.”

Manrique Blen
Country Manager Costa Rica

RD: What has caught your attention the most about Auxadi now that you are part of the Group?

MB: Auxadi wants to talk! And they deliver what they say they can.

It really is a one-stop-shop, and every country and region in the Group is working the same way, producing the same kind and quality and service.

Auxadi are also transparent with staff about how things are doing in the business. Staff are aware exactly how the company is doing. Victor as CEO lets the whole Group know what the company’s plans are and what is expected. Building alignment and commitment is very powerful in Auxadi.

RD: What opportunities do you think Costa Rica offers for companies considering LATAM?

MB: There is a reason why the biggest companies bring part of their service to Central America, whether it be manufacturing or service. Costa Rica, for instance, has more than 88 companies producing and exporting medical equipment right now. We have robust regime to grant incentives and benefits to FDI, including free trade zones that operate tax free. But, most importantly, we have the talent!

Costa Rica is not the cheapest option, but companies still invest here for the location [Costa Rica has direct access to both the Pacific and the Caribbean] and the talent. Though it’s important to note that Costa Rica is not a tax shelter; there have been several changes in the free trade zone to avoid tax shelter status.

Also, Costa Rica was 2nd country to sign the FATCA agreement, and one of the first to implement CRS. We are working to be part of OECD and have been implementing lots of changes to be more transparent.

RD: What do you think Auxadi can bring to companies?

MB: Global structure and a one-stop-shop for accounting, payroll and tax, internationally. –.

We are the extension of the accounting depts of our clients in their expansion abroad.

Auxadi can help clients understand how Central America works – the mindset, the systems, the culture – but more importantly provide a unique global service leveraging on our online multicountry platform.

RD: How do you think LATAM will move forward post-COVID?

MB: LATAM has many different regions and different countries. It all depends on how the governments have responded and it’s not the same response throughout the region.

In Costa Rica, the vaccination programme is underway – covering everyone 60 years and over. Our economy was hit fairly hard with lockdowns and unemployment peaked some points above 20%, but the economy is now open, and unemployment has dropped. We also big tax reforms a couple of years ago which also affected the economy, but all through it the FDI’s keep coming!

We are seeing a recent trend of businesses returning operations from Asia to LATAM, due to Asia’s regional restrictions and lockdowns. Nearshoring will be a good concept for the region to promote.

If they are smart in what they need to do, Central America can seize the day. But LATAM depends on each individual government response to COVID.

RD: Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not working?

MB: I started my career as an attorney, first working in the corporate sector and then, felt in love with taxation and decided to focus my energies on this area.

I’m a professor in the University in my spare time, teaching tax law.  This is a way by which I try to spread my love for the subject, and really feel accomplished when one of my students decides to also dedicate its professional life to taxes and compliance.

At home I have 3 kids, so there is lots of Peppa Pig as background noise! I’ve been married for 9 years with an extraordinary life partner and, as a family, all of us love heading into the wild, walking in the rainforests. We don’t go camping yet, the kids are a little young and my wife isn’t enthusiastic, but we’ll get there, I think.

But I find walking in the forest is the best way to recharge my energies. Last long weekend we went to a cabin in the middle of nowhere with waterfalls and animals – close to nature. All my kids are crazy about animals. Even snakes!

RD: Thanks for speaking with me, Manrique – and it’s a pleasure to have you and Resolve as part of Auxadi!

Do you need more information?

Manrique Blen
Country Manager Costa Rica

Local Knowledge – International Coverage

Founded in 1979, Auxadi is a family-owned business working for multinational corporations, private equity funds and real estate funds. It’s the leading firm in international accounting, tax compliance and payroll services management connecting Europe and the Americas with the rest of the world, offering services in 50 countries. Its client list includes many of the top 100 PERE companies. Headquartered in Madrid, with offices in US and further 22 international subsidiaries, Auxadi serves 1,500+ SPVs across 50 jurisdictions.