The National Insurance Board (NIB) has elevated a former government nominee on the Board to the position of chairman.
Businessman Patrick Ferreira was initially appointed to the NIB board as a representative of the Government, but on Friday confirmed that by letter dated January 24 he is now chairman. He will now oversee the handling of the agency’s $31 billion asset base.
According to the NIB Act, the Board shall consist of 11 members designated as directors, who shall be appointed by the line minister and should include three members nominated by the Government, three members nominated by the associations most representative of business, three members nominated by the associations most representative of labour and a person, who in the opinion of the minister, is independent of the Government, business and labour, who shall be the Chairman.
Ferreira’s appointment has effectively breached the act.
However, despite the distinctions for the appointment of an independent chairman, Ferreira does not see any conflict in his appointment.
“I don’t see any conflict. A request was made of me to serve and I felt it an honour to accept,” Ferreira said in response to questions from the Sunday Guardian on Friday.
The NIB was initially chaired by former independent senator Helen Drayton. The Sunday Guardian was reliably informed that Drayton’s two-year term came to an end in January. Drayton could not be reached for comment.
Ferreira has longstanding experience in the business arena, having served as the Chief Executive Officer of Furness Rentals Division. According to a January 26, 2022 company update, Ferreira is now the chairman of Furness Chemicals Ltd, Furness Shipping and Marketing and Furness Personnel Services Ltd.
The website states that Ferreira holds certification in law and arbitration and serves as CEO of Furness Rentals Limited, Furness Properties Limited and Furness Investments Limited.
He also serves as director of National Insurance Property Development Company Limited (NIPDEC), a subsidiary of NIB, and a Director of Trinidad & Tobago NGL Limited, a subsidiary of the National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago.
According to the NIB Act, Ferreira, as chairman, now has oversight of the investment committee which is tasked with advising on the investment policy of the Board and carrying out other duties and responsibilities as may be delegated by the Board. If Ferreira cannot attend these meetings, then he has the power to nominate the Deputy Chairman of the Board to preside in his stead.
Audited figures from the NIB states that it has an asset base of $31 billion. The Sunday Guardian learnt that the audited figures have been presented to Finance Minister Colm Imbert to be laid in Parliament. At the end of June 2020, the fund was $28.9 billion, while at the end of July 2021 it grew to $31 billion–an increase of $2 billion.
Sunday Guardian reached out to the Ministry of Finance for comment but Minister Colm Imbert did not respond. However, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Brian Manning said that the ministry would be issuing a release “soon”.
NIB Act states:
Under the Establishment and incorporation of the Board:
3. (1) There is hereby established for the purposes of this Act, a National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (hereinafter referred to as “the Board”) which shall be a body corporate.
(2) The Board shall consist of eleven members designated Directors, who shall be appointed by the Minister, as follows:
(a) three members nominated by the Government;
(b) three members nominated by the associations most representative of Business;
(c) three members nominated by the associations most representative of Labour;
(d) a person, who in the opinion of the Minister, is independent of the Government, Business and Labour, who shall be the Chairman;
(e) the Executive Director as ex officio member.
(3) The Deputy Chairman shall be selected by the Board from among its members at the first meeting of the Board.
(4) In respect of each Director, the Minister shall in like manner designate an alternate member; and, subject to subsection (7)(a), any such alternate member may, with the approval of the Chairman, act in the stead of the respective Director at any one or more meetings of the Board.
(5) Appointment to the office of Director shall, subject to subsection
(6), be for such period, being not more than two years, as is specified at the time of the appointment. A Director shall be eligible for reappointment. (6) A Director may at any time resign his office by instrument in writing addressed to the Chairman, who shall forthwith cause it to be forwarded to the Minister.
Under Investment Committee
4. (1) There shall be an Investment Committee consisting of—
(a) the Chairman of the Board as Chairman;
(b) the Executive Director;
(c) the Chief Financial Officer who shall be an ex officio non-voting member;
(d) three other members of the Board nominated respectively by the Minister, the Directors who are nominees of Business and the Directors who are nominees of Labour; 22 Chap. 32:01 National Insurance LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Authorised investments. First Schedule. I