Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2014 Contents Guardian Holdings Ltd (GHL) said
on Friday that an issue of a conflict
of interest "does not arise" with
regard to the retention of its former
group actuary/chief performance officer, Neil
Dingwall, by the Central Bank as a special
advisor on the restructuring of Clico.
Questions about Dingwall's potential conflict
of interest were posed to GHL, the Westmoor-
ings-based regional financial services company,
on Friday following two statements on the
English native's role at the two local insurance
In a shareholder notice dated June 6, GHL
said as follows: "Guardian Holdings Ltd wishes
to announce that Mr Neil Dingwall has left
direct employment of the Guardian Group
and as a result is no longer a member of the
senior management team with effect from
May 31, 2014.
"Mr Dingwall has been retained as a con-
sultant to the Guardian Group."
That statement was posted on the T&T
Stock Exchange's website last week Friday.
Last week Friday, June 6, in a statement
issued to the Stock Exchange, GHL announced
that Dingwall, had "left direct employment"
with the financial services group effective May
31, but had been "retained as a consultant."
On Tuesday last week, the Central Bank
issued a statement, which was signed by its
Governor Jwala Rambarran, that it had retained
Dingwall as a special advisor "to advise the
Bank of the restructuring strategy for Clico."
As outlined in the Central Bank statement,
Dingwall's functions include:
• Advise the Central Bank on the review
and development of Clico's operational plan
for implementing Clico's restructuring;
• Advise the Central Bank on the prepara-
tions for the offering and sale process for
Clico's traditional portfolio including the selec-
tion of appropriate matching assets and split-
ting of the liability portfolio;
• Advise the Central Bank on streamlining
the operations of Clico including the cessation
of new business.
The Code of Professional Conduct of the
Caribbean Acturial Association (CAA) states:
"A member shall not perform professional
services involving an actual or potential conflict
of interest, unless the member's ability to act
fairly is unimpaired and there has been full
disclosure of the actual or potential conflict."
Dingwall is the immediate past president
of the CAA.
On Thursday night, CAA's current president,
Lisa Wade of Eckler Ltd in Barbados, was
asked by e-mail whether Dingwall can be
retained as a consultant by GHL and, at the
same time, serve as a special advisor to the
Central Bank on the restructuring strategy for
Clico, especially as the Westmoorings-based
group has expressed an interest in acquiring
She said by telephone on Friday that she
would enquire into the matter and respond
by this week.
A prominent regional actuary, questioned
on the matter, said: "The information provided
does create a perception of potential impair-
ment of objective/independent judgment. But
I do not have all the facts, including the nature
of the "consultancy". For example, maybe
things changed between June 6 and 10."
Responding to a specific question on whether
his company was interested in acquiring Clico's
traditional portfolio, GHL chief executive, Ravi
Tewari said: "We see our core business as
insurance and we see our core market as T&T.
So naturally, acquiring the Clico portfolio,
sanistised properly, is something that would
always have appeal to us."
His comments were reported in the April
13 edition of the Sunday BG.
On Friday, the Sunday BG asked Tewari
whether Dingwall's retention as a consultant
by GHL posed a conflict of interest with his
appointment as a special advisor to the Central
His response was: "Further to your enquiry
below in respect of Mr. Dingwall's role with
GHL and the CBTT, the issue of a conflict of
interest does not arise.
"Mr. Dingwall ceased being an employee of
Guardian Holdings Limited on May 31st, 2014.
As is not uncommon with specially skilled
employees who may leave the direct employ
of Guardian, during the month of May nego-
tiations took place with Mr. Dingwall towards
his obtaining a retainer contract with the
"However, on June 9th Mr. Dingwall advised
GHL that he was no longer interested in pur-
suing a retainer arrangement. Accordingly, all
related discussions with Mr. Dingwall were
"In summary, Guardian did not consummate
a retainer arrangement with Mr Dingwall. Fur-
ther all parties agree that, under current cir-
cumstances, such an arrangement is not appro-
priate and all discussions on this matter have
ceased. This negates any possible conflict of
Responding to further questions from the
Sunday BG, Tewari confirmed that Dingwall
"has no relationship with the Guardian Group."
He said that when GHL issued the notice
on June 6: "Mr. Dingwall had not informed
us of his change of mind (I believe he was
overseas for part of that week) and we were
unaware of any possible appointment as an
advisor to Clico."
The Central Bank is engaged in finding a
buyer for Clico's traditional insurance portfolio
and has hired international professional services
group Towers Watson to conduct a valuation
of the insurance company, which collapsed in
Clico has stopped issuing new business and
has informed its workforce of their termination
by the end of June.
Clico's largest asset, its 56 per cent stake
in Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd, is the
subject of an arbitration tribunal that in
November 2013 directed that the shares should
be offered to MHTL's minority shareholders.
The panel is due to deliver its ruling on the
price of the Clico shares by the end of July,
sources told the Sunday BG last week.
The Ministry of Finance is working on con-
cluding a new shareholders' agreement with
CL Financial, Clico's parent company, that
will outline the process by which the State
will recover the approximately $20 billion
injected into the group after its collapse.
JUNE 15 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG3
GHL: No conflict of interest
in actuary's Clico assignment
Neil Dingwall, former group actuary/chief
performance officer at Guardian Holdings Ltd.
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