Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2015 Contents BG4 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JANUARY 2015 • WEEK FIVE
The Caribbean Investment
and Finance Forum---
which the T&T Interna-
tional Financial Centre
(TTIFC) is co-hosting
with Latin Finance---will
help to promote T&T as
a leading financial centre
and a place to do business, says Varun Maharaj,
CEO of the TTIFC.
"This is a step in the further diversification
of T&T s economy. This would be T&T s two
days in the sun and the spotlight for all the
top investment bankers and other financial
professionals visiting T&T. T&T has the most
developed capital market in the Caribbean. A
good example is over the last decade, T&T
has been the source of capital for the Gov-
ernment and corporates around the region to
the tune of US$12 billion. This is the sum gov-
ernments have been able to raise out of T&T s
capitals markets," he told the Business Guardian
The conference will take place from March
4-5 at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Port-of-Spain.
According to the TTIFC s Web site, the 2015
Caribbean Investment & Finance Forum will
place regional public and private sector leaders
on the stage alongside international investors
and thought-leaders. It is an important oppor-
tunity to address the difficult questions and
the sensitive issues, to search for real-world
solutions, and to meaningfully drive forward
the regional agenda.
"This conference is a culmination of mar-
keting strategy that we have pursued over the
last 12 months to showcase T&T as an emerg-
ing international financial centre. Prior to this
event in March, we have had round tables and
other discussions in New York, Toronto, Lon-
don, Beijing and Dubai. So, coming out of
those round tables, there has been heightened
awareness of T&T and its role in global finance
and after Latin Finance agreed with us to put
on this conference," Maharaj said.
He said the forum used to be held every
year from 2000 to 2008 in the Caribbean but,
in 2008, following the international financial
crisis, the conference was not held.
"Latin Finance said they should be looking
at what is happening in T&T. We engaged
them in discussions and they agreed to come
back to the Caribbean and have this conference,
with us partnering with them," he said.
Maharaj spoke to the Business Guardian at
its office, Level 15, Tower D, International
Financial Centre, Port-of-Spain.
There would also be investment bankers
from the major money centres around the
"We interacted with them in New York and
all the other cities mentioned above. So they
have an awareness with regard to what is hap-
pening in T&T. By coming here, they would
experience T&T and see the business culture
and all other things that go with it. They would
have a proof of concept of T&T and what it
Benefits of conference
Maharaj said participants would be able to
make and build other contacts at the forum.
"Each participant can express the view upon
registering whether they want one-on-one
meetings and their interest area. Latin Finance
will facilitate one-on-one meetings.
"One of the main benefits of hosting the
conference in T&T is it relates to finance and
capital investment. There will be heads of
government and ministers of finance all coming
to the forum. They may have an interest in
infrastructure finance in their country. So they
may meet an investment banker from Morgan
Stanley or from HSBC; those meetings will
be arranged. It is not just a talk shop."
He said a major theme of the conference
is infrastructure and its financing which
involves financing roads, buildings and other
"This is how it can be used as a platform
to impact on the competitiveness of member
states of the Caribbean. So there will be the
investment bankers and there will be the min-
isters of finance and local financial institutions
participating. Coming out of the discussions
there will be a round table on infrastructure
financing. Ideas will come out."
He said another theme will be the leveraging
of other capital markets and the Caribbean
capital markets to streamline trade and invest-
ment in the region. This involves attracting
more foreign investment into the region.
Another aspect of the conference is financing
oil and gas.
"This would be about the opportunities that
exist there. Really what are the implications
coming out of that for energy in the region
and economic security."
The conference will also look at public
finance and management in the light of eco-
nomic growth and the growing indebtedness
of most of the Caribbean countries.
He also referred to former Barbados Prime
Minister Owen Arthur---an economist---who
spoke at the University of the West Indies
(UWI) last week about a "lack of fiscal space"
in Caribbean economies.
"Arthur is an economist and a politician
and, in addition to having people like that at
the forum, there will be investment bankers
who have had experience in other parts of the
world with similar experiences. They will bring
their experience to bear on the discussion."
Maharaj said through different initiatives of
the TTIFC over the last few months, the organ-
isation has been able to increase the contri-
International Financial Centre CEO:
T&T a regional
capital centre already
Chief Executive Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre
There will be heads of
ministers of finance all
coming to the forum.
They may have an
interest in infrastructure
finance in their country.
So they may meet an
investment banker from
Morgan Stanley or from
HSBC; those meetings
will be arranged. It is
not just a talk shop.
Continued on Page 5
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