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More Private Individuals Investing On East Caribbean Debt Market

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

15 February 2008


The Regional Debt Coordinating Committee of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), has expressed its satisfaction with the relatively large and still growing number of individuals and businesses investing in the Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM).

At its 26th meeting in St Kitts on 7 February 2008, the Regional Debt Coordinating Committee (RDCC) noted that since the start of operations in November 2002, approximately 25% of bids on the RGSM have been from private individuals. The committee expressed its belief that this broadening of the investor base augurs well for the development of money and capital markets in the ECCU as a competitive alternative to traditional savings deposits.

The RGSM is a regional market for the trading of debt instruments of the member states of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) which comprise Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The market was established in November 2002 and operates on a fully electronic platform. The instruments on the RGSM take the form of Treasury-bills, notes and bonds and have varying maturities. These securities are backed by the full faith of the governments of the issuing member states.

The market was created to supplement the financing needs and lower the borrowing costs of ECCU member governments, and continues to be dominated by the commercial banks, which account for 31% of bids. Other participants in the market have included institutional investors, such as social security systems, insurance companies, credit unions and other financial institutions.

The committee noted, however, that in order to maintain the momentum in the growth of the market, further public education and awareness programmes were required by the participating governments and the licensed broker dealers.

Whitfield Harris Jr, Financial Secretary of Antigua and Barbuda, chaired the meeting of the RDCC, which oversees the development and operations of the Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM).

Representatives from the Governments of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and from the ECCB participated. The next meeting of the RDCC is scheduled for May 2008.


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