FSC mum on calls to halt Barita's APOWednesday, September 15, 2021
BY DURRANT PATE
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has been mum on calls for it to halt the additional public offering (APO) of Barita Investments amid swirling controversy about certain transactions involving itself, its parent company Cornerstone Financing Holdings and Barita Finance Limited.
Questions have also been raised about certain financial transactions involving Barita Finance, which is a special purpose investment vehicle used to facilitate specific investments for Barita Investments as well as Cornerstone Financial Holdings. While the FSC has intervened in the matter last week, ordering Barita Investments to amend its APO prospectus, which has been done, the financial regulator has been silent on calls for the APO to be halted.
Last week the Jamaica Observer sent four questions to the FSC for response about the issues relating to Barita Investments, Barita Finance and Cornerstone Financial Holdings and whether the regulator would heed calls for the APO to be halted. The four questions sent were as follows:
• Does the FSC have any concerns at this time regarding Bartia's APO given recent reporting about the timing of certain financial transactions involving its majority shareholder, Cornerstone Holdings, in Barita and its associate entities?
• There has been a suggestion that the FSC needs to halt the Barita APO given the timing of these transactions, would the FSC be exploring the possibility of doing this?
• Is the FSC comfortable that this APO is above board given these transactions, which have raised eyebrows in financial circles?
• What would justify the FSC allowing this APO to go through given the concerns being raised?
Up to press time, there was no response from the FSC. We tried again yesterday for answers to our questions but we were notified that as a matter of policy and procedures, the regulatory body doesn't necessarily comment on issues regarding licensees.
The Business Observer spoke to Cornerstone Financial Holdings last week and the company through its chief investment officer, Jason Chambers, insisted that there is nothing covert in the management of the related entities.
“There is absolutely nothing underhanded happening. Cornerstone and Barita are made up of serious professionals with reputations that they have built up over several years. These are well-qualified professionals whose backgrounds and experience put them way above reproach or question,” Chambers told the Business Observer.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login