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February 6, 2009
CLICO’s parent company CL Financial bailout causes jitters

So far, it appears that the reassurance blitz launched here in SVG on CL Financial Group’s behalf has worked.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT understands that while local investors have been calling the various CL Financial Group owned entities demanding information, there are no long lines of people, in person or on the phone, demanding that their investments be returned.

The worst was feared after news broke last week that CL Financial Group, headquartered in Trinidad, was going to be bailed out by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, to the tune of about $1 billion, after it became Trinidad and Tobago’s first casualty of the global financial crisis.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke to George Frederick, Manager of British American Insurance, and Laureen Kirby, Manager of CLICO Universal Life Insurance, who both said that people seemed to be exercising calm in the situation.

Frederick hit the airwaves last Tuesday and told listeners to a morning call in radio programme that his company was not affected by the situation in Trinidad.

He said that the many calls by investors seeking information were understandable, since the Trinidad situation has been making its rounds in the media.

He cautioned that a panic reaction will be ill-advised.

”If a panic reaction takes place, then there will be a problem,” Frederick voiced.

This was the overall caution given all week by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and officials of the troubled US$100 billion conglomerate.

At a press conference on Monday, and in Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves also asked for calm in the situation and said that he had been given assurances by CLICO officials, along with officials from the Trinidadian and Barbadian governments that the investments in all of the subsidiaries of CL Financial Group are safe.

Chairman of CLICO Barbados Holdings Limited, Leroy Parris, also flew to St Vincent to hold a press conference to allay fears about investments, and to stress that Barbados’ operations are distinct and removed from the parent company or fellow subsidiaries in Trinidad.