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November 17th, 2014

Unit Trust raises bar on financial journalism


November13, 2014: Local business journalists, both seasoned and rookies, were given an opportunity to take their craft to another level at the Business Media Workshop hosted by the Unit Trust Corporation on 15th and 16th October, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.

Following the conclusion of the two-day workshop, reporters and editors from across the media spectrum, were presented not only with Certificates of Participationbut digital voice recorders, a useful tool to assist them with their jobs. The UTC hosted its first media workshop in 2012 and made quite an impact.

The workshop was facilitated by Leo Gough, Investment Writer who has worked with numerous clients to produce books and reports on investment and business topics, including his notable book “The Con Men,” written about the history of financial fraud and the lessons that can be learnt from them. Each media participant was given an autographed copy of this book.

The workshop delivered on its objective to use a classroom environment to engage journalists by providing them with a greater understanding of economic influences on the capital and financial markets, financial institutions, businesses and the ordinary investor.

In delivering his feature presentation,themed, “TheValue of Financial Reporting to Corporate Governance and Shareholder Value” on day one,UTC Executive Director, Ian Chinapoo, emphasized that without adequate information, investors cannot properly judge the opportunities and risks of investment alternatives presented to them. He stressed the importance of financial reporting as a core element of corporate governance, “with greater access to information on management performance, stakeholders will be better equipped to make informed decisions on their investments, this has become even more important in light of the many financial scandals that have plagued the financial industry of the past few years.”

In the Executive Director’s view, improving financial reporting is key to strengthening corporate governance and control.“Corporate governance structures serve to ensure that minority shareholders receive reliable information and that a company’s managers and large shareholders do not cheat them out of the value of their investments, and to motivate managers to maximize firm value instead of pursuing personal objectives.”

Chairman at the Unit Trust Corporation, Ms. Wendell Mottley in his address on the opening day, echoed the sentiments of the Executive Director when he reminded media participants that they continue to play a critical role, by monitoring and reporting on matters of governance, business conduct and financial performance. He said, “The mediamust have an appreciation for the sensitivity of business and finance, in order to analyse and sift through complex financial information and distil it in a simplified manner for their readers to better understand.”

Mottley, added, “In our estimation, the media can neither be ignored nor underestimated in the context of development of a country. You are a key stakeholder in disseminating information, as unpalatable as it may be at times.”

Other guest speakers at the workshop were, Kurt Valley, President of the Mutual Funds Association of Trinidad and Tobago who did an overview of “How to Report on Mutual Funds to Influence and Inform” and Jason Grant, UTC Legal Officer, had the rapt attention of the reporters when he provoked discussion on “The Role Financial Reporting and Defamation.”