Looking Beyond the Horizon
Vast oil wealth has made Trinidad & Tobago the Caribbean's financial center, but limited opportunities at home are driving banks offshore.
Trinidad & Tobago's financial industry is in ferment.
Recently, insurance company Guardian Holdings launched a TT$400
million ($63.8 million) rights issue, Royal Bank of Trinidad
& Tobago (RBTT) has expanded into Central America and the
republic won an upgrade to A- from Standard & Poor's. New
York investment banks have largely turned their backs on the
region. But Trinidadian firms as well as a handful from
Barbados and Jamaica are on the acquisition trail. In
2003, RBTT stepped into the Spanish-speaking Caribbean with its
purchase of the Dominican Republic's Banco Mercantil for just
$1. Mercantil was one of three banks that collapsed during the
Dominican Republic's financial crisis of 2002-2003. RBTT
expanded into Barbados last June with the acquisition of
Caribbean Commercial Bank for an undisclosed price. It entered
Costa Rica this July, opening an office in San José.
Jamaica's National Commercial Bank (NCB) was taken over by
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