CARIBBEAN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT ASSOCIATION LAUNCHED

On Friday, November 15, 2019 the official launch of the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) a non-profit organization that is aimed at promoting the expansion of private equity, venture capital, real estate, private capital, mezzanine financing and other Alternative Investment instruments took place at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. 
 
Anchored by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), through its Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP), and bolstered by a group of local and international investors, the Association is one of the deliverables under a Technical Cooperation signed in 2016 with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (now IDB Lab) for the establishment of a Private Equity-Venture Capital industry in Jamaica.
 
Milverton Reynolds, Managing Director of the DBJ, states: “The establishment of CARAIA at this time is appropriate when set against the background of the tremendous growth of Jamaica’s capital markets over the past 12-18 months. From the outset we at the DBJ would like to categorically stress that the Association is private sector lead.  We are only the convener and part of the membership base.
 
Allow me therefore to express my organization’s profound appreciation and thanks to the Advisory Board, under the leadership of Christopher Williams of PROVEN, for joining us in making this a reality.
 
The Advisory Council is comprised of: Christopher Williams, Chief Executive Officer, PROVEN Investments; Joseph  M. Matalon, Chairman, ICD Group Holdings; Nicholas Scott, Managing Director, Eppley Limited; Jason Morris, Chief Investment Officer, Sygnus Capital; Keith Collister, Executive Chairman, ATL Pension Fund; Brian Frazer, Vice President, Asset Management, Scotia Investment and Steven Gooden, Chief Executive Officer, NCB Capital Markets.”
 
Audrey Richards, Project Coordinator, Jamaica Venture Capital Programme under whose portfolio the Association resides states: “We are pleased to be able to announce CARAIA’s establishment.  Initially {over the short term) the Association will be Jamaica-focused but in the medium-to-long term we have our eyes set on the Caribbean and Central America. 
 
The Caribbean and Central American region share a number of similarities in the eyes of investors, and it is our intention that CARAIA will be the vehicle that will speak to the collective interests, thereby promoting best practices and attracting investments and capital to the region.
 
Christopher Williams, Chairman of the Advisory Council has been working with the DBJ-JVCP to ensure that the Association has the support and right membership base.
 
“We [Advisory Council] are proud to acknowledge our 16 Founding Members who readily agreed to capitalize the Association.  The Founding Members are: ATL Pension Fund; Eppley Limited; ICD Group Holdings; JMMB Group; JN Fund Managers; MPC Renewable Energies GMbH; Mayberry Investments; NCB Capital Markets; PanJam Investment; Portland Private Equity; PROVEN Investments; Sagicor Investments; Scotia Investments Jamaica; SEAF Management LLC; Sygnus Capital; and Development Bank of Jamaica.
 
In our deliberations over these past months, the members of the Advisory Board were focused in our outlook.  We wanted to ensure that this Association is inclusive and is representative of the players within the Alternative Investment space.  We did not limit ourselves to private equity and venture capital.  And so, our name reflects the full spectrum of the Alternative Investment industry.
 
Our strategic focus will be on research and information dissemination; advocacy at the local, regional and international levels; fostering of regional and institutional development, as well as governance and professional development for the members.
 
We want to thank the DBJ for taking the lead in the establishment of the Association.  They have been at the forefront of the development of Jamaica’s private equity and venture capital industry.”
 
The Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) has as its core function to promote the interest of its members through advocacy.  Its membership base is tiered - full and associate.  Full membership is comprised of: corporate and institutional investors and fund managers.  Associate membership is opened to professional (accountants and attorneys) business enablers; academic institutions, family offices, angel investor networks, umbrella group.
 
The Jamaica Venture Capital Programme is a Unit of the DBJ that has been mandated to establish a private equity and venture capital industry in Jamaica.  In 2013 the DBJ and the IDB signed a Technical Cooperation (TC) Agreement to conduct a market study and strategic and implementation plan to establish the industry.  In 2016 a follow-on TC was signed for the support of an entrepreneurial and early stage ecosystem.  To date the programme has seen tremendous success in mobilizing billions of dollars for equity investment in the region.  A strong focus of the programme was the Legal Taxation & Regulatory Framework; Knowledge Development and Executive Education Programme for Industry stakeholders; Funding sources (fund managers, angel investors); Entrepreneurship Development through capacity building of enablers and the establishment of the National Business Model Competition where over 2000 tertiary level students have benefited.