REGIONAL rating agency CariCRIS, in an effort to extend its services, has officially set up shop in Jamaica at the PanJam building, located at New Kingston.

CariCRIS, short for Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services, is part-owned by regional central banks, several major regional commercial development banks, and CRISIL, an associate company of global rating agency Standard & Poor’s.

The Jamaica office will see the agency, which is headquartered in Trinidad, operating in 18 countries across the Caribbean, with T&T accounting for the largest share at 42 per cent and Jamaica the second-largest share at 25 per cent.

During yesterday’s virtual launch, CariCRIS CEO, Wayne Dass, said with a business relationship dating back some 15 years with clients in Jamaica, and a growing clientele over the years, it was only a matter of time before the rating agency located an office in Jamaica.

“Over the past two years or so, the Government of Jamaica has made tremendous progress in modernising its financial sector legislation, working closely with the regulators and the Financial Deepening Committee,” said Dass.

He said a key component of the revised risk-based regulations has been “the increased use of independent credit ratings to lift transparency standards and drive proper price discovery in the financial markets.”

According to Dass, this has led to a material increase in the demand for CariCRIS’ credit rating services in Jamaica.

“To properly respond to this increased demand and ensure we maintain the same high level of service that our clients are accustomed to, we have decided that an onsite presence in Jamaica by way of a small satellite office would serve us and our clients best. Notwithstanding the raging coronavirus pandemic around us, we think that the time is right now, and that we are doing this for the right reasons,” Dass said.

Also speaking at the launch, CariCRIS chairman Gregory Thomson said the rating agency is now formally approved as a recognised credit rating agency and an external credit assessment institution in the Caribbean.

Thomson said: “To date, we have completed over 1,000 ratings of sovereign, corporate and small and medium size enterprises (SME) entities in the Caribbean. Our ratings have been successfully utilised in large sovereign and corporate debt issues. To date we have rated debt to the order of US$3.4 billion.”

He noted that maintaining their independence and managing actual or perceived conflicts of interest can be a daunting task in this small Caribbean space, especially with the high level of interlocking directorships.

“Notwithstanding, we have been able to successfully manage this to date, through a carefully designed governance structure and suitably tailored operating policies and procedures. Our widely distributed shareholding - no single shareholder holds more than ten per cent of the company – and the absence of automatic directorship limits the influence of shareholders on the board,” Thomson added.

Delivering the key note address, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said his country, just like others in the world, continues to navigate the consequences of the pandemic and the aim is to focus stronger and recovering faster.

“What is of note is that our deliberate policy action it has allow us to remain stabilise in the worst economic crisis in the world’s history.”

Clarke noted the CariCRIS presence in Jamaica came up at the right time to increase financial soundness.

—Andrea Perez-Sobers

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

AMERICAN aircraft manufacturer Boeing has branded one of its Max 8 aircraft with Caribbean Airline’s (CAL) logo.

The image was captured and circulated on social media.

With its contract for 12 Max 8 aircraft from the Chicago-based manufacturer still in effect, CAL told the Sunday Express on May 7 by e-mail

THE Confederation of Regional Business Chambers says, while it’s commendable the Central Bank is making it easier for financial institutions to reintroduce loan deferrals and interest rate reductions for customers, it’s unclear how the interest rate reduction will be applied.

The Central Bank is making it easier for financial institutions to reintroduce loan deferrals and interest rate reductions for customers who are facing hardships as a result new measures introduced as a result of the spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

RUM and bitters producer, Angostura Holdings Ltd, yesterday reported a 45.5 per cent increase in its after-tax profit, for the first quarter of its 2021 financial year.

Angostura profit for the period ending March 31, 2021, was $19.06 million, which was 45.5 per cent higher than the $13.09 million the Laventille-based manufacturer reported for the same period in 2020.

MAJORITY State-owned National Flour Mills (NFM) yesterday reported a 62.4 per cent decline in its after-tax profits for the first quarter of its 2021 financial.

NFM’s after-tax profit for the three months ended March 31, 2021 totalled $2.63 million, down from $7.01 million the grain miller reported in 2021.

WEST INDIAN Tobacco recorded after-tax profit of $91.4 million for the first three months of its 2021 financial year, which was 12.8 per cent lower than for the same period in 2020.