Sagicor Financial Corporation is defending its reputation as a well-governed and solid institution, following a report published on Monday by the Barbados Today newspaper.
Sagicor is headquartered in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The report likens Sagicor to “another Clico”, based on a review recently by the International Monetary Fund, IMF.
Clico is the Caribbean financial conglomerate which failed ten years ago, resulting in substantial losses and forcing regional governments to pay out millions of dollars to policyholders.
The comparison has not gone down well with Sagicor, which is calling it “grossly inaccurate” and “reckless”.
The Barbados Today article is based on a 16-page IMF report from a mission to Barbados in October by its monetary and capital markets department.
The report is not available publicly, but was obtained by the Bridgetown-based newspaper.
According to Barbados Today, it paints a frightening picture of the impact that “the failure or near failure” of the island’s most dominant insurance company could have on Barbados and the Caribbean, hinting that it could be worse than the CLICO collapse.
However, the report does note that Sagicor’s financial statements and actuarial reports do not reveal any untoward or serious financial or risk-related issues.
Still, the concerns are evident.
The report paints a worrying picture of a massive company that’s not adequately regulated.
It says the size and complexity of the Sagicor Group operating in 21 countries throughout the Caribbean is larger than CLICO before it collapsed.
And it says the group structure, business philosophy and operations are in many ways similar to those of the CLICO Group.
Yet, it says no formal college of supervisor exists, nor is the group subject to basic group-wide supervision.
It says engagement in non-insurance activities, in particular real estate investments, poses challenges for risk management oversight.
It also notes that the complexity of the group could potentially hide significant risks.
In a rebuttal today, Sagicor says it’s grossly inaccurate and recklessly careless that an article or a report can be published to suggest that Sagicor is under-regulated.
The company says this is not supported by the facts, and insists they are a well-governed, successful, solid institution.
They point out that they’re regulated and in good standing in all of the 21 countries in which they operate.
They’re also listed on the Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and London Stock Exchanges.
Additionally, the company says they’re rated by several international credit ratings agencies, including Standard and Poors, and Fitch, which have all given them ratings from stable to excellent.
Sagicor says they’re actually one of the most highly regulated financial institutions in the Caribbean.
And while they admit there are no provisions for the Group as a whole to be regulated region-wide, they say they’ve always treated the Barbados Financial Services Commission, FSC, as their Home Regulator and have an open and transparent relationship with them.
Sagicor’s total assets at September 30 stand at USD$6.8-billion, or JMD$850-billion.
That’s more than Jamaica’s entire national budget for the year.