Merrill Lynch interested in sovereign wealth fund

Representatives of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management have met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Guyana after recently indicating an interest in engaging in discussions with those charged with the responsibility of setting up Guyana’s Sovereign Wealth Fund says Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge.

They are interested in Guyana’s proposed sovereign wealth fund, Greenidge said noting that they have a variety of expertise in the setting up of such funds, and providing options for collaboration that they can offer.

Carl Greenidge

Merrill Lynch, the investment arm of the Bank of America Corporation, Greenidge told the media yesterday at a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Takuba Lodge, Georgetown, asked the Guyana delegation for a meeting on the sidelines of the recently- concluded United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA.

“They wanted to be briefed on what we are doing in relation to oil and petroleum and how they might help,” he said.

Merrill Lynch, he said, was interested in speaking to those who are responsible for setting up and organising the fund. “So we channeled them to the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan).”

At the New York meeting, Greenidge said, the ministry’s function was to listen to Merrill Lynch’s officials.

“We listened to them and explained what we are doing in a variety of areas and facilitated a meeting between themselves and the Ministry of Finance. I believe the Minister of Finance was not able to see them but the Governor of the Central Bank did.”

The investment arm, he said, has capacity and extensive experience in the management of the equivalent of sovereign wealth funds. They did not discuss with them their interests, but explained, what is currently in place in relation to dealing with the fledging oil sector.

Merrill Lynch is not a stranger to Guyana, Greenidge said. When he was the minister of finance in a previous government, he said, the investment division facilitated the Bank of Guyana and the Bank of America working together. “They are not new to Guyana.”

Meanwhile, at the same UNGA meeting, the Guyana delegation to the UNGA also met with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), a US-based organisation of a large number of international corporations that facilitates mutually beneficial, person-to-person relationships between business and government leaders worldwide. “I make mention of this,” Greenidge said, “so that you can understand that as a result of both the diplomatic initiative and of the development of petroleum resources, a number of these international multilateral agencies have taken an interest and would like more extensive cooperation with us.”

Interestingly, he said, the meeting was chaired by Jamaican-born Ginelle Baugh, BCIU’s Vice President of Finance.

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