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Jun 22, 2020

The Need for Building Investor Confidence in Belize

Michael Ashcroft

The willingness to engage in opportunities and associated arbitration channels available based on the perception of risk and return is a primary concern for anyone wanting to invest money in Belize.  The investment of thirty million U.S. dollars in purchasing the assets of Scotiabank Belize is a significant move for C.I.H.L., which requires a particular confidence, despite the current economic climate.  Lord Michael Ashcroft shares his position on how to attract foreign investments and the importance of facilitating such transactions.

 

Isani Cayetano

“This is quite an investment being made on your part.  Speak to us on the confidence that you have and perhaps the overall investor confidence in either the banking sector or even the Belizean economy for that matter.”

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“Well investor confidence is sometimes government’s, it’s not just Belize but around the Caribbean, don’t fully realize that those with foreign currency the world is their oyster, they don’t have to come to Belize.  So if other countries are offering better opportunities that is where the capital will go and Belize has got to get itself into a position.  At the moment its debt, its Super Bond is rated at Triple C, that’s like standing in the basement and the only worst rating is a D if you default but that’s only if you’re sitting down on the chair in the basement.  And there is an argument that sitting down on the chair in basement is actually more comfortable than standing in the basement.  So we have to work our way through getting confidence.  We also have to work our way through how friendly we are to foreign currency investors and how easy or difficult we make it for them and I’ve already gone on record to say that the land registry department needs a thorough overhaul where they have the mandate that they can question every transaction and whatever somebody pays for an asset they can review it and put a different number on it and it’s taken sometimes months to get a transaction through.  You can’t have foreign currency investors in the States buying apartments down here and not knowing for months on end whether they will get their title.  So we have to find ways to encourage these investors.”


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