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UTC presents a new investment opportunity for people in ECCU countries


by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has been on a campaign to help people in the region grow generational wealth. One of the ways the bank has said the region is not exploiting as it should be is through investments in the international financial market.

One in 25 individuals invest in the Eastern Caribbean Securities Market compare to one in three who invest in the US Stock Market, missing out on opportunities to create long-lasting wealth in the region.

On the season 22 finale of ECCB Connects, the experts discuss a new investment opportunity available to citizens and residents of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

The UTC Global Balanced Fund Limited (UTC GBFL) provides people from all walks of life across the ECCU access to international capital markets through a Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) or Mutual Fund. The mutual fund allows persons to create wealth by investing in the international financial market, starting with a minimum investment amount of US$100 through six regional brokers—the minimum contribution after is US$20.

Sekou Mark, Chief Investment Officer at the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation (UTC), gives a brief overview of a mutual fund and its benefits.

“Simply put, a Mutual Fund is a vehicle on entity that pools investors’ monies together and invest in different asset classes like stocks and bonds, allowing them to own a stake in those companies and benefit from the returns. In the 22-year history of the capital markets and the ECCU, a product like this has never existed, and while there is a private Eastern Caribbean Securities Market with 14 securities on the equity exchange and quite a few fixed-income instruments trading in the market, this type of investment vehicle really provides an opportunity for the everyday man on the street to invest. So the mutual funds is really beneficial because it allows people who don’t necessarily have the investment background and the investment knowledge to become owners in some of those large companies and benefit from the returns on those investments.”

Omar Birch-Smith, Regional Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) Manager at Unit Trust Corporation Fund Management Services, explained how the Global Balanced Fund exists within an ecosystem embedded in the Eastern Caribbean.

“The UTC Global Balanced Fund is an investment company registered in St. Lucia, and one of the beautiful things about our underlying legislation that governs Collective Investment Schemes and Mutual Funds is that it really promotes transparency and independence. So what does it mean? GBFL—the mutual fund cannot manage itself. It must utilise the services of a fund management companythe fund management company for GBFL is UTC Fund Management Services STL Limited which is a St. Lucian companythat’s the company I lead, supported by two staff members who are ECCu nationals.”

Birch-Smith continued, “The firm requires an independent custodianthe independent custodian holds all the assets of the fund including cash, stocks, bonds, all our assets are held in custody by the custodian. You’d be happy to know that the custodian is the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Depository (ECCSD) located right there in St. Kitts. Our regulator, the entity [tha]t granted us the license is the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC), also domiciled in St. Kitts. As mentioned, the fund will be sold by licensed broker-dealers. There are six in the ECCU right nowthey cover territories St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Our hope is that a few more entities receive a broker-dealer license in the region so that they can also distribute the fund. Our investment advisorsa company registered in St. Kitts and in St. Lucia, and they provide coveragethey are licensed to provide investment advisory services throughout the ECCU. So we really brought all these parties together and created an ecosystem in the Eastern Caribbean, and we’re very excited that it will bear fruit and it will yield the sort of benefit that we anticipated that it will.”

Generating wealth to circulate within the region has been a financial challenge for the ECCB. Through UTC GBFL, people in the region will have access to the US and EU stock markets and corporate bonds in global companies.

“As Caribbean citizens, it’s really important for us to build our own spaceI know we’ve heard so much about de-risking and other things where we have international banks leaving the regionit’s important that we as Caribbean nationals build our ownwe’re really excited to be working along with actors such as the ECSRS which is the commission that regulates Mutual Fundsthe ECCSD who is our custodian, the broker-dealers from across the regions and others at the ECCB to bring as Omar mentions the very first retail Mutual Fund in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and something that is going to help people generate intergenerational wealth for them and their families.”

What are the benefits of the Mutual Fund?

  • Market Diversification 
  • Capacity Building through awareness efforts
  • Investment Literacy
  • Wealth creation
  • Job creation for securities professionals

The UTC Global Balanced Fund Limited (GBFL) is an investment company incorporated in Saint Lucia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Unit Trust Corporation.

The fund will operate as a Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

According to the UT, it is the largest mutual fund service provider in Trinidad and Tobago, with Funds Under Management totalling approximately US$3.6 billion.

Check out the full episode here for more details on how to explore the UTC Global Balanced Fund Limited investment scheme:

Connects Season 22 Episode 13 – The UTC Global Balanced Fund Limited

On this episode, we share details about a new investment opportunity available to citizens and residents of the ECCU – the UTC Global Balanced Fund Limited. This mutual fund allows persons to create wealth by investing in the international financial market, starting with a minimum investment amount of US$100.

Posted by ECCB Connects on Wednesday, July 26, 2023


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