Front Page
September 23, 2005
CMMB gives steps to financial freedom

Vincentians seeking to achieve or maintain financial freedom turned out on Wednesday to a seminar hosted by the Caribbean Money Market Brokers (CMMB) at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Conference Room, Kingstown.

The audience of about 60 persons paid rapt attention as the two-man team of Sean Spiers, Country Manager CMMB, St. Lucia and Ben Crayston, Account Manager, Personal Client Services, CMMB explained the steps they needed to take to achieve financial freedom, that is, get to the stage where their “passive income from investments exceeds their normal expenditure.” {{more}}

Spiers, who was first at the podium walked participants through the investment process and gave ideas as to where funds for investment might be obtained and the different types of investment vehicles currently available.

He outlined the differences in risk and returns associated with the different types of investment such as bank deposits, term investments, treasury bills, government and corporate bonds, equities, mutual funds and money market funds.

The CMMB St. Lucia Country Manager also looked at the performance and outlook of the five regional stock exchanges – the Barbados, Eastern Caribbean, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago stock exchanges, as well as US, European and Asian stock markets. Participants were also given a guide as to what to look for when choosing a company in which to invest. Sound management, a compelling business story and the company’s long term potential were some of the characteristics cited.

Ben Crayston, Account Manager, CMMB then walked participants through the use of an interactive Personal Investment Guide – “Five Steps to Financial Freedom” given to each participant. The booklet shows how to prepare a personal balance sheet and income and expenditure statement, plan one’s personal budget, assess one’s risk profile, allocate an investment portfolio, prioritize investment goals and choose an investment advisor.

Crayston also showed participants how they should go about setting their financial goals and planning for retirement based on their age and financial situation. He also stressed the importance of establishing an emergency fund prior to allocating funds to medium to long term investments.

For the participants, the two-hour seminar seemed to have been time well spent. Following the formal presentations, the team from CMMB fielded questions from an obviously motivated audience. They seemed to have been convinced about the necessity of planning and investing, as their questions did not center around the wisdom in investing, but rather the protection of their investments, the stock exchanges to which they have access through the CMMB and the fees charged by CMMB for their services. All seemed to go away with the message that financial freedom can only be achieved if one plans for it and acts on the plan. As Insurance Executive and participant George Frederick put it, “you can either work for money, or make money work for you.”

The CMMB was formed as a joint venture between Jamaica Money Market (JMMB), Clico Investment Bank (CIB) and CL Financial in 1999. The company’s capital base has grown from US$1M to US$300M during its five years of existence, and they presently manage US$1B in assets. CMMB has offices in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St. Lucia.