The St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board has been given recommendations to implement Risk and Investment Units to safeguard assets and validate potential financial investments.
During The Roundtable discussion with the media on Thursday, August 31st, while mentioning the financial state of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Dr Terrance Drew spoke of recommendations that have been put forward to bolster the Social Security Board.
According to him, the bank owes the Board approximately XCD$ 25 million.
The discussion of the Risk and Investments Unit arose when a question was posed about the Social Security Board’s attempt to construct a “self-contained community” in the Beacon Heights Housing Development which was never fully realized.
As the Beacon Heights Development Project has been in limbo for almost a decade now, there is now a need for the Risk and Investment Units, according to the prime minister.
In the first recommendation, an investment unit should be established.
“Social Security has been asked to do some two things, which were not there: To set up an investment unit. You must, with so much money and you’re going to invest, you need an Investment Unit, that’s one,” he said. “So that you make the right investment and let people who are experts in investment give the best advice on how you can invest to make Social Security do the right thing.”
He said this should be coupled with the Risk Manager.
“The other thing is we are going to have a risk manager or an expert who deals with risks. You have a fund that has these resources,” he continued. “In any other institution that has this type of funding, it would have a risk unit, a risk manager, a risk analyst to say, ‘Look, these are the risks you’re facing.’ So we are going to implement those two things. When you hear the upgrade in the administration of Social Security, you’ll get an Investment Unit, so that these questions can be answered. ‘How much do I need to invest, at what percentage rate to make sure that I can extend the solvency at a particular time?”
A risk manager at a social security institution or agency would be responsible for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks that might threaten the agency’s operations, data, or the benefits it provides to the public, according to one financial expert in speaking to ZIZ.
Meanwhile, an investment manager would be the person to assess investments.
The Beacon Heights Housing Development project began just over a decade ago.
In an October 18th, 2011 article released by the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, and posted to ZIZ Online, it says “…the Social Security Board spoke of its decision to develop the Beacon Heights project on approximately 90 acres at Dewars’ Estate as another branch of housing as it seeks to promote a different level of investment of its funds for higher returns in order to enhance the Fund.
It envisages the provision of at least 190 homes with very scenic views, with parks and gardens, and a commercial area. This advanced level development is expected to feature the absence of unsightly overhead utility lines, and the entire community will be somewhat self-contained.”
PM Drew did not give a date for the establishment of the unit(s).
In May 2023, the Social Security Board 19th May 2023 accepted expressions of interest from building contractors to construct residences at Beacon Heights.