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CIBC FirstCaribbean Makes $100 Million Investment in BOSS+ Bonds

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has purchased $100 million in BOSS+ bonds in a move which Donna Wellington, the Bank’s Managing Director for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, says is a strong vote of confidence in the country’s economy.

The purchase by the island’s largest commercial bank was finalised during a livestreamed event at the Central Bank of Barbados on Wednesday.

It is CIBC FCIB’s first direct investment in Government bonds since the 2018 debt restructuring and Wellington said it signalled a strong commitment to Barbados.
“We firmly believe from all the signs that we’re seeing that the Barbados economy is on a trajectory to recovery following the challenges of the past few years. Re-entering the capital markets is a strong vote of confidence in Barbados and its prospects for the future,” she said.

The Central Bank's Director of Banking and Investments, Julia Weekes, (second right) witnessing the purchase while CIBC FCIB's Managing Director for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Donna Wellington, (right) looks on along with Central Bank of Barbados Governor Dr. Kevin Greenidge and Chief, Corporate Communications, Novaline Brewster.


Meanwhile, Central Bank of Barbados Governor Dr. Kevin Greenidge said the purchase signified the increased level of confidence the financial sector now has in the Government of Barbados’ fiscal and economic position.

He noted that while other commercial banks have invested in BOSS+ bonds in January and February ,CIBC FCIB’s was perhaps the largest to date.
The Governor said the event also marked the resumption of efforts to restart the capital markets.

He pointed out that as a result of the 2018-2019 debt restructuring, “financial institutions and investors became a bit skittish and the capital market basically became stalled.”

However, Governor Greenidge said the country was no longer in the position it was in 2018.

“Debt is manageable and sustainable. The fiscal is sustainable and the economy has started to rebound. We now need to plateau and keep it going, so now is the time that we bring a renewed effort. There are a lot of savings; there’s a lot of liquidity in the banking system,” he stated, adding that restarting the capital market provides an opportunity to move some of those funds into investments.

During the event, Julia Weekes, the Central Bank’s Director of Banking and Investments, gave an overview of the investment options currently available to the public and those which will be coming onstream shortly.

She said there will be new issues of treasury bills and they will be handled by the Treasury as usual.

“We are going to start with small issue sizes and build up based on demand. Unlike the past whereby investors bid for the prices, we’re going to set a fixed price. This is important to ensure that the small investor as well as the large has the same yield basis,” Weekes said.

The bills will mature in three or six months.

Weekes also revealed that there will also be a series of savings bonds starting as early as May. These five-year instruments will be offered at discount and they can be cashed in at any point in time.

Weekes added the Bank was awaiting details from the Ministry of Finance regarding the unit trust announced by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and the framework for the proposed reverse auctions was still in the works.