–T&T Finance Minister
Assets of depositors and policy holders at Clico, Clico Investment Bank (CIB), CMMB and British American Insurance will not be at risk, Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira said yesterday.
“In the last fortnight, it has become clear that a situation has arisen within the CL Financial Group which requires intervention by the Central Bank, and where necessary, the government, into the operations of the financial institutions comprising the group,” she said at a press conference at the Central Bank tower, Port of Spain.
The actions of the government mean that the State will have considerable leverage over the operations of CL Financial.
Nunez-Tesheira said it was assessed that the present circumstances may require an infusion of cash as well as additional steps to protect depositors and other liability holders, especially life insurance clients and pension fund beneficiaries.
Government and the Central Bank have also agreed to contract an international firm to assist in the restructuring of the companies, she added.
“We are going to weather the storm. All of us. And the only way to do it is to take action swiftly and decisively,” she said of the move to take control of CL assets.
Chief executive at State bank First Citizens, Larry Howai, said yesterday that the Central Bank invited the bank to acquire the liabilities to third party depositors at CIB.
He said the bank was assisting the Central Bank in ensuring that depositors in CIB were protected and that taking on these liabilities would not affect First Citizens’ strong balance sheet.
He advised CIB customers that there were legal matters to be worked out before payments could be made and by the end of next week, they would be provided with guidelines regarding the next step. Howai asked that citizens refrain from visiting First Citizens branches until that time.
Dr Terrence Farrell, chief executive of One Caribbean Media, which is 20 per cent owned by CL Financial told the Express by phone yesterday that the Central Bank and Government’s intervention would seek to dispose of some of the assets of CL Financial and there was a possibility OCM might be a part of this.
He said if OCM became part of an exercise like that, he hoped that the group would be consulted.
Farrell said CL Financial’s involvement as a shareholder in the group had been constructive and OCM would regret losing CL Financial as a partner.
OCM owns the Express, TV6 and the Nation newspaper in Barbados among other media companies.
CL Financial’s major member companies
Republic Bank Ltd
Caribbean Money Market Brokers
Clico Investment Bank
Clico Balance Fund
CL Capital Market Inc
Central American Money Market Brokers
CLF Latin America
Ibis Asset Management Ltd
Clico Energy Company
Primeral Oil and Gas
Colonial Life Insurance Company
Clico Holdings Barbados
Clico Fire and General Insurance
Clico International Life
British American Insurance
CL World Brands Ltd
Tru Value Supermarket Ltd
Clico Property Development Ltd