Minority Shareholders Snub Cable & Wireless’ offer

Submitted by Atrue Freeman
Oliver Jordan, Chairman of the FSC

What does it mean that so many minority C&W shareholders have refused to claim the offered compensation for their shares (https://bse.com.bb/news/23569)? Perhaps the Barbados Financial Services Commission (FSC) could learn much from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Many jobs offer just a few opportunities for the holders of those jobs to demonstrate their suitability for the job. The remainder of the time, almost anyone could do the job,

Continue reading

Is the BSE Regulated?

This really is not acceptable. Is the FSC in a position to address these issues?




The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. (BSE) wishes to advise that trading in the security – Barbados Dairy Industries Limited – has been suspended until further notice effective November 20th, 2018 pursuant to Rule 3.01.5 1(a) and (b) of the Rules of the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc.

The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. (BSE) wishes to advise that trading in the security –




Banks Holdings Limited – has been suspended until further notice effective November 20th, 2018 pursuant to Rule 3.01.5 1(a) and (b) of the Rules of the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc.


Related Link: Trading Report 21 Nov 2018

Financial Services Commission Issues Cease Trade Order on Government Securities


Avinash D. Persaud, Chairman of the FSC (?)

The decision by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to suspend trading in government securities effective 5 July 2018, although routine based on government’s decision to default on debt, the implications will not be. If the unconfirmed news that Avinash Persaud is the Chairman of the FSC, it is understandable why Prime Minister Mia Mottley prefers a team player. The blogmaster understands the routine of the changing of the Boards once a new government or Minister takes charge although there is nothing that would have prevented his reappointment.

Mia Promises Jail time to CLICO Offenders

The cut and thrust of the 2018 Barbados Election campaign has tossed up many issues which confirm the political party that wins the election will have to hit the ground running to rescue and restore the country to the pedestal it once occupied in the region and the world.

There is one issue which has not received the airplay it deserves in the opinion of the blogmaster.

On more than one occasion the leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) – delivering on the 2018 election campaign platform – hinted at the fact should her party win the government, there will be an effort made to hold certain actors involved in the CLICO mess accountable. The blogmaster is aware promises made in the heat of a political campaign must be taken with some salt. However, given the black eye the CLICO collapse has given to Barbados, AND, the potential it poses to continue to deliver given its impact across the region, the blogmaster will continue to invite discussion on the matter in future blogs.

What the CLICO debacle exposed was that there was a catastrophic failure of the regulatory system- of which the political class and other key actors were complicit- to more efficiently manage the downside risk of the local insurance sector. An IMF report leaked in December 2017 identified the systemic risk posed by Sagicor – the dominant insurance player in the region – and the challenge posed to the local regulator (Financial Services Commission (FSC)) to effectively regulate given the complexity of Sagicor’s business model.

The IMF report found that the FSC, which was established in 2011 and is assumed to be the group supervisor of Sagicor, has neither developed, not implemented group-wide supervision processes and practices since its establishment.

It should be noted that to its credit the FSC was responsible for commissioning the report.

What has intrigued the blogmaster is the recent announcement that Sagicor acquired Harmony General insurance company. Harmony General was a small player in the sector, however, if the size and complexity of Sagicor was identified before the acquisition as a source of concern in the IMF report- the acquisition will serve to add a few more questions.

The blogmaster has no interest in the sale directly, it is more a quiet concern about how the sector is being regulated to militate against a recurrence of a CLICO.  The NEW leadership of Barbados must demonstrate firm leadership to implement learnings arising from the collapse of CLICO. We must punish those who failed to honour fiduciary responsibilities.  In this regard we have taken careful note of the lead role being played by Leslie Haynes Q.C. in BLP affairs. You may recall Haynes was very close to Leroy Parris and CLICO before its demise.

The blogmaster has also observed – lost in the din of the 2018 general election – general insurance companies have been disclosing end of year financial statements as required by law. A perusal of ALL of the finacials published so far list companies under financial stress. What is not clear to the blogmaster is how a sector that is under ‘financial pressure’ has not seen the urgency to significantly raise premiums to bolster the profit and loss. What is the blogmaster missing?

It is the expectation of sensible Barbadians the incoming government will demonstrate the leadership required to make available adequate resources to the FSC to do its job effectively. The other expectation is that players responsible for the CLICO collapse will do the ‘time’.

See the Financials of CGI, Brydens and Sagicor General insurance companies:-

Did the Financial Services Commission Perform Due Diligence on Banks Holdings Takeover Bid Deal?

Submitted by Atrue Freeman

Sir Frank Alleyne, Chairman,FSC

Sir Frank Alleyne, Chairman,FSC

Mr. Randy Graham, does the Financial Services Commission have the authority to examine a transaction that prompts a takeover bid, given the influence of that transaction on the takeover process?

Continue reading

Leroy Parris and Eight Million Dollars

Parris and pals in better times

Parris and pals in better times

If Barbadians were to dispassionately try to solve many of the ills affecting our little island, a priority item would be a flawed governance system. The revelation that head of the Fair Trading Commission (FSC) is the nephew of deceased late Prime Minister David Thompson should make those calling for greater transparency in government raise the level of advocacy.

In 2013 Leroy Parris of Professional Services Inc was ordered by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank to remove eight million dollars from that bank – CIBC First Caribbean International Bank Instructs Leroy Parris to Take a Hike. The reason has not been made public although John Public would have to assume CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank took issue with the source of the funds. Of interest is that the funds were reported to have been transferred to a credit union. Obviously, if true, the credit union had no similar concerns.

Continue reading

CL Financial bailout – Really learning from the past

It seems Barbadians have forgotten about CLICO and all the promises but what have we learned from the collapse? How have we sought to strengthen institutional capacity as a response? Is the Financial Services Commission (FSC) doing a job? Should Barbadians be privy to the sealed judicial report? What about those who were involved with CLICO Barbados and continue business as usual?

Afra Raymond’s journey in Trinidad covering CL Financial matters should serve to inspire others. This piece is recommended reading.

Credit Unions Must Deposit With Banks According to the Law

Hally Haynes, president of the Barbados cooperative Credit Union League

Hally Haynes, president of the Barbados Co-operative Credit Union League

The issue which has erupted about whether credit unions have been directed by the  Financial Services Commission (FSC) to shift deposits held with non banks to commercial banks continues to gain momentum. The President of the Barbados Economic Society Ryan Straughn added his voice today. The unravelling saga has raised several issues which should concern Barbadians whether members of the credit unions or not.

The Barbados Co-operative and Credit Union League (BCCUL) is the umbrella body of credit unions in Barbados and should be the only entity making statements on the matter.  The matter which is playing out in the media makes it seem that it is a City of Bridgetown and Financial Services Commission affair.  Of concern to many is the statement issued by the BCCUL which was reported in the Barbados Today “…further, the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd., the apex body for credit unions and co-operatives in Barbados, totally rejects the notion of any ongoing row between the FSC and credit unions on this or any other issue. The pertinent facts surrounding the issue are as summarised below”.

For anyone to suggest that the FSC has issued a directive to force credit unions to transfer all deposits held with non bank institutions to banks in order to force a take up of government treasuries is speculative at this stage. BU is willing to be proved wrong. Further, BU has had a look at the Co-operative Societies Act Section 34A and the law supports the fact that credit unions must be placed funds with banks or other credit unions regulated by the Act.

What it says to BU is that we should be also asking why under the old dispensation credit unions were allowed to contravene the Act. We have been critical of the Office of the Supervisor and its weak supervision of CLICO Insurance Ltd. Should we be similarly critical of the former Registrar of Cooperatives?

Here is what the Act states:

Continue reading

Financial Services Commission Needs To Deliver on its Remit

Bruce Bayley, Chairman of CGI

Bruce Bayley, Chairman of CGI

The observation has been made by BU et al from time to time that there is a lack of financial analysis by the local traditional media. While there is reporting about financial matters, the public continues to be cheated out of billions invested in the education system through the years which continues to produce accountants and graduates in many disciplines a dime a dozen. Our observation pertains mainly to financial entities where consumer risk is greatest for many.

Section 4.(e) of the Financial Services Act 2010 states that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) was established “to promote stability, public awareness and public confidence in the operations of financial institutions”. The last five years have wreaked havoc on the economies of countries all over the world, Barbados being no exception. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect that companies operating in Barbados are currently managing declining balance sheets and are therefore under financial stress.

BU believes that in the current environment the dearth of financial analysis has accentuated the risk for the general public. There seems to be the acceptance that if Company X meets its legal obligation to publish its Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss in the newspaper all is well. Unfortunately BU does not have the expertise and resources to effectively fill the void although we have sensitized our readership from time to time of the need to be vigilant in these matters.

Continue reading

Tales From the COURTS IX – The CLICO AFFAIR Involving the FSC and the BIPA

June Fowler, head of BIPA

June Fowler, head of BIPA   Photo credit: Caribbean360

BU is perplexed by the latest news in this mess, in which it is reported that the BIPA (Barbados Investors Policyholders Alliance) aka CLICO investors – represented by Mr Alair Shepherd QC – has refused to stay the action against the CLICO directors. It is noted that the FSC is represented in this matter by Mr Adrian King.

BU’s attention was initially grabbed (or as it transpires, misdirected and sidetracked) by the fact that Mr Shepherd and Mr King both practice out of Inn Chambers and BU asked for clarification that, although Mr Shepherd and Mr King both practice from the same chambers, they are NOT partners, but ARE, in fact, individual counsel who simply share facilities. As such, therefore, there is no impropriety, nor does BU even suggest such of the two counsel named.

That disclaimer and clarification having now been made, BU asks its family and legal eagles to weigh in as to whether BIPA has the standing to bring its action against the CLICO directors, or not. If not, as this whole CLICO mess is of massive importance to Bajans in general, on what basis BIPA has refused to stay its action? Is there any merit in pursing an action that will be stayed at the end of the day?

Continue reading

Another CLICO Mess On The Horizon Maybe?

A.M. Best Headquarters

What is of even greater significance is how we will respond to the revelations from a policy perspective. What are the changes that will be made to ensure that the same thing does not happen again or that there is reduced risk of its recurrence? – Mariano Browne

The quote by former CEO of a CL Financial subsidiary and minister in a T&T government is insightful. Political junkies become mired in ‘CLICO personalities’ but  BU insists we should focus on the catastrophic failure of the regional regulatory framework to alert the market that something was amidst at CL Financial. Three years after the collapse of CLICO and there is still doubt that any serious regional regulatory framework has been established to prevent a recurrence. In every territory that CLICO operated in the Caribbean there was a predictable response by the regulatory body. What does it tell us?

It must be stated that Barbados has moved quickly to establish the Financial Services Commission (FSC) with the objective to strengthen the regulatory environment relating to insurance, credit unions and functions administered under the Securities Act. In the case of the insurance sector, the office of the Supervisor of Insurance (SOI) was woefully inadequate and it is God’s mercy we have not experienced more failures in the industry. In fact under the watch of the SOI CLICO Barbados accumulated a short  reserve position which started in the boom years under the Arthur administration.

Continue reading