No Comments from the T&T Pension Fund… | Local company

Trinidad and Tobago’s largest and most important institutional investor, the National Insurance Board (NIB), sold or reduced its stake in Barbados-based CIBC FirstCaribbean between October 31, 2021 and September 15, 2022, Sunday Express investigations revealed.
CIBC FirstCaribbean central depository records show that NIB held 7,000,000 shares of the bank as of October 31, 2021, its fiscal year-end, with T&T the bank’s fourth-largest shareholder.
NIB is not on CIBC FirstCaribbean’s list of top 20 shareholders as of September 15, 2022, which was the record date for the bank’s third quarter dividend.
This means that NIB has either sold all of its 7,000,000 shares in CIBC FirstCaribbean or sold enough shares to be removed from the bank’s top 20 shareholder list. Number 20 on CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Top 20 list as of September 15, 2022 is a company called Nicholas House Ltd, which owned 1,448,521 shares of the bank.
The Sunday Express sent four questions to an NIB spokesperson on Thursday morning asking the financial institution whether it had sold all or most of its 7,000,000 shares of CIBC FirstCaribbean. If he sold the shares, NIB was also asked why he did so. The financial institution was also asked whether it generally seeks to sell its shares in locally listed companies to raise cash.
Contacted Thursday afternoon, the spokesperson said the NIB would not comment on the questions.
Contacted for a comment with three questions, Finance Minister Brian Manning – who is leading the department’s consultations on raising the NIB’s retirement age – forwarded questions on the matter to the investment manager of the BIN. On Friday, several attempts to reach Navin Rajkumar, executive director of investments at the NIB, by telephone proved unsuccessful.
The Sunday Express also called NIB chairman Patrick Ferreira at his workplace on Friday and left messages for him. Until late last night, he hadn’t answered. As president of the NIB, Ferreira chairs the institution’s investment committee.
While the NIB was not ready to answer questions about the sale of local shares, the statutory institution’s director of business services, Feyaad Khan, told a February 9 meeting. 2022 of the Public Accounts Committee, that the NIB is not actively trading existing shares. shares in the local stock market.
Khan said this was due to “the impact on local financial markets if we were to actively engage in the sale and purchase of stocks”.
Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee, Khan said 57% of the NIB’s investment portfolio is made up of local and international equities, 28% is made up of bonds and fixed income instruments and between 10 and 12% is held in cash and cash equivalents. The NIB holds up to 12% of its investment portfolio in cash and cash equivalents to meet the institution’s ongoing liquidity needs – to pay benefits and manage its operations, Khan said.
“We hold investments in almost all (local publicly traded) companies and if we actively start selling, buying and trading these securities, you would induce a lot of volatility in the local markets, which we don’t want.”
As of June 30, 2021, NIB’s investment portfolio had total assets of $31 billion, as it was augmented by approximately $3.25 billion in realized and unrealized gains, representing an increase of 13.38% of total return, according to its 2021 annual report.
“The growth is primarily driven by the equity portion of the investment portfolio, which grew an impressive 16.7% over the period. These returns were timely as the recessive impact of Covid-19 on the local economy and the lack of recommended structural changes amplified the National Insurance System deficit for fiscal year 2021,” the annual report states.
The NIB is the institution responsible for paying the minimum retirement benefit of $3,000 per month to people who have worked and contributed to the institution.
Who buys?

While some investors are selling shares of CIBC FirstCaribbean, the bank’s lists of its top 20 shareholders as of October 31, 2021 and September 15, 2022 indicate that some investors have bought large blocks of shares.
As of October 31, an investor named Peter Wing Chuan Ayuen owned 1,830,000 CIBC FirstCaribbean shares. Over the next ten and a half months, Ayuen acquired an additional 2,034,700 shares. He now owns 3,864,700 shares of the majority Canadian-owned bank and is the only individual on the CIBC FirstCaribbean Top 20 list as of September 15, 2022.
A Google search of Ayuen reveals that he was once a top ten shareholder of Scotia Securities (Jamaica) with 1,601,000 shares as of July 31, 2015. He is in the top ten list of Scotia Securities Jamaica as of January 31 2016, with 1,734,375 shares. .
Scotiabank took the investment company private in 2018, delisting it from the Jamaican and T&T stock exchanges by offering to acquire all shares held by minority shareholders at a price of J$38 per share.
The local securities company Bourse Securities Ltd. also acquired shares of CIBC FirstCaribbean between October 31, 2021 and September 15, 2022.
As of September 15, 2022, Bourse Securities Ltd holds 3,000,000 shares and is in the top 20 of the bank. He was not in the top 20 list as of October 31, 2021.
The 3,000,000 shares held by Bourse Securities are divided into two accounts: a registered account with 1,500,000 shares of the bank and the other account in the name of the company with 1,500,000 shares.
Bourse Securities was founded in 1995 by Subhas Ramkhelawan, who returned as the company’s managing director after several years as chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange. The former CEO of Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd (MHTL) is the current chairman of Bourse Securities.
The third entity to acquire a significant block of CIBC FirstCaribbean shares is Fortress Mutual Fund Ltd, the Barbados-based mutual fund company that was founded by Roger Cave in 1996.
Fortress, part of the Cave Shepherd group, owns 1,800,000 shares of CIBC FirstCaribbean as of September 15, 2022, but was not on the bank’s top 20 stock list as of October 31, 2021.

Uneven results

For the nine months ended July 31, 2022, CIBC FirstCaribbean reported net income of US$124.85 million, 37.8% higher than the US$90.58 million the company earned for the same period in 2021.
The bank’s revenue for the period from November 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022 was $432.86 million, an increase of 8.4% over the same period in 2021.
The bank’s outgoing CEO, Colette Delaney, in her comments on the financial statements, said: “Our financial results for the year to date continue to reflect a strong performance due to additional income from higher interest rates. US interest, higher activity-based fees and lower provisions for credit losses largely reflect improvements in model assumptions and credit migration.
But CIBC FirstCaribbean reported a loss of US$158.6 million in its 2020 fiscal year, due to additional provisions of US$156.9 million for credit losses and lower revenue due to lower interest rates and business activity in the United States.
CIBC FirstCaribbean also reported a loss of US$148 million in 2014, when the bank took US$115 million of additional loan loss expenses and a non-cash goodwill charge of US$116 million. .

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