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Jan 28, 2003

First local money market fund opens to investors

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A new financial institution opened its doors today, and while the concept of the Belize Unit Trust Corporation and its associated money market fund is new to Belize, it is well established elsewhere in the Caribbean and beyond. What makes the unit trust attractive is that it allows small savers to receive rates of return formerly available only to large investors, while at the same time those bigger players can make their cash work harder by taking advantage of the flexibility of daily interest and immediate withdrawals. The company’s C.E.O., Corine Robinson Fuller, told News 5 why the average Belizean, faced with investment choices ranging from CDs to syndicates, should take a close look at the money market fund.

Corine Robinson Fuller, C.E.O., Belize Unit Trust

“To begin with, you start small, twenty dollars. Secondly, you are able to withdraw your money at any time. And thirdly, you get a good rate of return.”

Stewart Krohn

“What is a good rate?”

Corine Robinson Fuller

“Seven percent. We’re offering seven percent right now, and that’s guaranteed for the next three months. We invested in government bonds, in CDs, in debentures, in Belize.”

Stewart Krohn

“You don’t invest any of it in Trinidad or in the U.S.?”

Corine Robinson Fuller

“Not in the U.S., even though those are some of our options. We want to start the investment in Belize, and then if opportunities arise outside of Belize, we’ll look at those too.”

Stewart Krohn

“What everyone wants to ask, how safe is the money once you put it into this fund?”

Corine Robinson Fuller

“Well, it is guaranteed, for example, we’re not investing in stocks or equity, once you put in your twenty dollars, or whatever multiple of twenty dollars, when you’re ready to withdraw, the value will not go down, you will get back your twenty dollars. And also the interest that has accrued on your account; every six months we pay interest. Why is it stable? It’s because we’re investing in various instruments. We’re diversifying the risk investing in various instruments, so that it’s not only one thing we’re investing in. Another thing that I think is important to know, is that our major shareholder is the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, which is a company that has expertise and has been in business for over twenty years. And even though we don’t own the fund as such, they own the company, and we’re relying on their expertise to help us along.”

And for that expertise the Belize Unit Trust Corporation receives a management fee no higher than two percent. That company is seventy-one percent owned by the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, with the remaining twenty-nine percent shared between St. John’s Credit Union and Provident Bank and Trust. Like interest on savings and credit union accounts, returns to unit holders are not subject to taxation. The company’s offices are located on Central American Boulevard, just south of the Cemetery Road roundabout.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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