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Unit Trust chairman Gerry Brooks

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It is time to modernise the Unit Trust Act, chairman of the Unit Trust Corporation Prof Gerry Brooks has said.

Brooks made the statement as the UTC held its virtual Annual General Meeting yesterday.

“Four decades have elapsed since the original Unit Corporation Act (UTC) was enacted in 1982, when the mutual fund industry was in its nascent stages and the UTC was the only player. Since then, financial markets have undergone profound transformation. Y2K and the technology revolution have facilitated a total shift in customer and market expectations. The pandemic has reshaped the world, resetting priorities, creating seismic shifts in economic policy, investment, and market architecture,” Brooks said.

Brook argued the UTC Act must be refreshed, and that amendments have been proposed to modernise our legislative framework.

“Changes to the UTC Act are imperative! These changes will allow us to compete in this new environment, meet the needs of our customers with new products, and provide greater flexibility to capitalise on opportunities in new markets. The early passage of our proposed legislative amendments will enhance the Corporation’s financial performance, reinforce good governance, and widen our network of investment and institutional partners, both here and abroad,” Brooks said.

In the UTC’s Annual Report Brooks urged the Government to accelerate the passage of the “vitally needed amendments.”

The Act has to be amended in Parliament.

UTC’s executive director Nigel Edwards said despite the “enormous challenges” caused by COVID-19 the corporation, once again, showed why it’s the “most qualified and trusted investment partner for investors seeking consistent financial goals.”

Edwards said UTC delivered growth in net sales of $805Mn in 2020; 10 times more than the corporation’s net sales in 2019.

He said the last eighteen months have taught two major lessons:

Lesson 1: Forget about saving and investing for a rainy day. What this pandemic has taught us is that saving, and investing is no longer an option – it is critical – it is necessary

Lesson 2: Those who think long term about their investments and remain invested will be rewarded; consider that one year after COVID-19 shook the investing world, stocks internationally and locally have since recovered, creating wealth for those who stayed the course.