$7.4 million BOSVG shares transferred to the NIS
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February 24, 2012
$7.4 million BOSVG shares transferred to the NIS

The financial sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines received a boost this week with the handover of close to one million shares in the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG) to the National Insurances Services (NIS).{{more}}

On Tuesday, February 21, at Cabinet room in Kingstown, with the signing of the required documents by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Derry Williams, and Reginald Thomas, Executive Director of the National Insurance Services, five per cent of the government’s investment in the bank was transferred to the NIS.

Five percent represents 500,000 shares at a cost of $8.23 per share.

Additionally, four percent of the shares, which were originally allotted to the employees of the Bank at the same cost, will be held by the NIS, since the bank’s staff members were not able to take up all 400,000 shares.

C.E.O Williams said that in retrospect, four per cent may have been too much to offer his employees, but was still grateful that they were given the opportunity to have a stake in the company, which is now owned by East Caribbean Financial Holdings (ECFH) of St. Lucia.

“We’ve discovered that the subscriptions for the shares were rather low, clearly given the financial circumstances that most people are facing, it seems a bit challenging.… at the end of January we’ve had 87,675 shares subscribed, which leaves a shortfall of about 312,325 shares.

He explained that the new arrangement that has been put in place allows for the full four percent of shares to the transferred to the NIS, with provisions; thus giving the NIS a nine percent stake in the institution.

“The employees of the bank will still own the shares once they are owned by NIS,” Williams stated.

“I would like to thank the NIS, who have partnered with us on many occasions in the past and clearly, even though the bank has been divested, we still maintain our relationship; in fact probably even better.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government and Prime Minister, who has been very instrumental in making sure that such an allocation was made in the divestment strategy by the government.

NIS Executive Director Reginald Thomas shared the same view as Williams, indicating that past cooperation between the two institutions, and now this arrangement have strengthened them both.

“…This is an investment of worth. We are all aware of the fact that the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is now taking serious steps towards living its commitment and simply magnifying the fact that it is the bank that will give us more.

“The National Insurance Services, therefore, will be working with the bank and have demonstrated our confidence in the initiatives and the efforts which are being unveiled by the bank.”

Thomas says that as the bank grows, it is expected that the worth and value of the shares will do likewise, and enhance the investment portfolio of the NIS.

“The general public and the stakeholders in the National Insurance Services can be assured that we will continue to take steps to grow the investment portfolio of the institution; that we will strengthen our partnership with the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, so that the bank can indeed provide more.

According to Thomas, the investment in the shares represents $7.4 million or 1.8% of the NIS’ total investment portfolio, which stands at $402.8 million.

He pointed out that the NIS also has 1.2 million shares in the bank’s parent company, at a value of $13.56 million.

Prime Minister Gonslaves, speaking at the ceremony, took the opportunity to debunk what he referred to as falsehoods, pertaining to the divestment of the NCB, and called on the general public to ‘seek truth from facts’ when it comes to the process.

He said that the institution would have been in trouble, had it not divested.

“When we set out this policy, people were telling us that we were selling our crown jewels; we were selling our patrimony… that kind of a vulgar chauvinism which has no place in modern discourse; certainly not within this region….”