Saturday 30 May, 2020

Imbert knocks ‘mischievous’ Opposition claims: NIF bonds legal

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has taken Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to task for claims made at the United National Congress’ (UNC) Monday Night Forum questioning the legality of the National Investment Fund (NIF) bond offer.

Persad-Bissessar levelled allegations against the Finance Minister amounting to financial impropriety, claiming that he was acting unlawfully and putting financial institutions at risk.

She accused Government of encouraging insurance companies to break the law by exceeding an alleged statutory limit of 25 percent of capital in any single investment.

Imbert on Wednesday took note of the allegations labelling them “false and mischievous and without any truth whatsoever”.

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Despite Persad-Bissessar’s assertions, the Finance Minister denied that there is any such limit on investments by insurance companies in bonds or other similar financial instruments.

Imbert further stated that when the new Insurance Act is proclaimed at the end of the year, insurance companies will have a transition period of three years to adjust their investment portfolios, i.e. up to the end of 2021.

And, with the NIF bond offer having been oversubscribed by 82 percent, the Minister said insurance companies, among other investors in the 20 year bonds, will get between 30 percent and 40 percent of their applications, depending on the final distribution.

He categorically stated that there has been no breach of law as it relates to the NIF bond offer.

“Accordingly, no insurance company will exceed its investment limit in NIF Bonds, and further, no breach of the Insurance Act or other law will occur. It is noteworthy that even if an insurance company had qualified for more than 25% of its capital in NIF Bonds, it could easily address that issue within the 3-year transition period.”

Imbert said the latest allegations brought forward by Persad-Bissessar were baseless and unfounded, and a “pattern of misinformation and attempted sabotage from the Opposition that is becoming more and more prevalent”.

He added that the claims made by the Opposition Leader are clearly designed to mislead and to undermine the success of the NIF Bond Offer.


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