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Madame Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Ian Chinapoo – Executive Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, Managers and Staff of the Trust, teachers, students and representatives of the media.

It is my pleasure to address you all this morning, at this the launch of the 24th Edition of the Unit Trust Corporation’s Schools’ Investment Game.

In keeping with its developmental mandate, the Corporation has over the years, since its start-up in 1982, launched a number of initiatives aimed at improving the level of financial literacy in Trinidad and Tobago.  In this regard our Financial Planning Seminars which are conducted by our Marketing Department is well known and highly regarded by Unitholders.  Additionally, this event, our Schools’ Investment Game has become a fixture on the events calendar of many of our Nation’s Secondary Schools.

If I were to ask you one question this morning, a very basic question, could you provide the answer?



Of all resources, the human resource is the most critical.

Education.  Training.  Cutting edge knowledge. Personal and professional development.  That, my friends is what The Investment Game is about.

How are you investing?  And no, I don’t refer to securities here.  How are you investing in yourself?

May I suggest three simple, yet effective ways to do this:


Developing your skills doesn’t only mean furthering your education, though that is an important feature.  Investing in yourself through the development of your skills also means: participating in extra-curricular learning activities; attending workshops, conferences, webinars; and reading widely: books, articles, papers, anything remotely related to a talent or skill that you would like to acquire.


Get a mentor.  Get a mentor.  Get a mentor.  This cannot be overestimated.  Mentoring relationships are a powerful source of knowledge, inspiration and networking.  As a young adult, operating without a mentor is similar to walking in the dark – you may find your way around, but it would certainly be better if the lights were on, or you had someone with a light to guide you.  Make a list of everyone that you know who has a lot of experience in the field or endeavor that you are interested in, and approach them.  That’s how it starts!  Build a relationship with them, and watch yourself grow.


When someone hears your name, what do they think about?  Your friends; acquaintances; teachers; family members – what are the first few things that come to their minds?  THAT IS YOUR PERSONAL BRAND. Do they think “excellence”, “hard-working”, “intelligent” “diligent”, or otherwise?  In today’s world, there is another wrinkle: when persons search for you online, what do they see?  Does your online presence fit the brand that you want for yourself?  Work relentlessly at creating, developing and cementing your personal brand.  It is your one of your most important resources.

I’ll close here.

Have I given you food for thought?  How many are willing to act on those thoughts, now that seeds have been sown?

Have I inspired you?  Remember that inspiration without action is procrastination.

For those that hope to hear a pointer or two on investment, here goes:

the prudent Portfolio Manager always pays particular attention to risk management.  That is the process whereby risks are actively identified, evaluated and controlled to ensure a higher likelihood of attaining investment objectives.  You must understand that, in general the higher the potential for reward, the greater the associated risk.  In executing your various investment strategies over the duration of the competition I urge you to hold that risk/return contradiction foremost in your minds.

Many, many years after you have left school, you would likely not remember the investment strategies that you employed in this game; the varying investment choices that you had to make to increase return while managing risk; it is likely that you would not even remember the names of many of the persons who are on your current investment teams!

What we do hope you remember two things, however: (1) the fundamentals of investment (investment literacy so to speak) and (2) the concept of investing in yourself.  


I thank you.

Opening remarks
Delivered by
Mr. Ian Chinapoo
Executive Director, T&T Unit Trust Corporation
At the launch of the UTC Schools’ Investment Game 2014
Tuesday 23rd September, 2014
At the UTC Financial Centre, Port of Spain

Executive Management team,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen.

Good morning and welcome to the 24th edition of the Unit Trust Corporation’s Schools’ Investment Game, which brings the world of investing to life and which puts the spotlight on sound, money management.

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September 22nd, 2014

Deriving Income from Equity.


With excess liquidity hovering around TT$6.5Bn and headline inflation at historic lows, investors are finding difficulty in generating attractive fixed income returns as local yields are low.  The Trinidad and Tobago Sovereign yield curve, as shown below,whichshows the differentrisk free yields (the green dots on the chart)across the maturity spectrum and this evidences the prevailing low interest rate environment.

Chart 1 –Trinidad & Tobago TTD Sovereign Yield Curve

Source: Bloomberg

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September 5th, 2014

Surviving job loss

Losing a job is often traumatic, but it doesn’t have to be a financial disaster or lead to ruin. For a variety of reasons – job terminations, layoffs, downsizing, mergers or reengineering — spells of unemployment are realistic occurrences for many people.We live in turbulent times and no one is immune to job loss.

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As a parent, guardian or caregiver, one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, grandchild or young relative is help towards a secure future.  One way in which you can do this is by providing a sound education.  But the cost of a quality education can be hefty and usually cannot be easily absorbed into a monthly or yearly budget. For this reason, you will need to plan very carefully for your children’s education.

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August 11th, 2014

Get a grip on retirement

Get a grip on retirement

Retirement planning can be more intimidating than any other personal finance topic.  The years can creep up and suddenly you find yourself unprepared.  Retirement is not something most people look forward to, but it is a necessary part of life.Picture yourself at the end of your working years with family in tow and you are able to keep the lifestyle you had enjoyed during that period. You are well equipped financially to handle all your expenses, treat yourself to some fine dining  and take Mrs. Retiree on that long transatlantic cruise you promised when you were  still working.

Now, imagine yourself in retirement with all your family commitments, bill payments, university fees for your teenaged children and home repair expenses. But in this scenario you are struggling financially and not able to enjoy the lifestyle you maintained in the early days. To make matters worse, you are not in the pink of health and confronted by mounting medical expenses. Which of these two scenarios do you find more appealing? Of course, the one that brings comfort and peace of mind. How do you achieve it then?

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July 31st, 2014

Don’t fall prey to debt

At any stage in life, this four-letter called DEBT can be a source of great distress and anxiety and can wreak havoc on people’s lives. Simply put, debt is a financial obligation or commitment owed to others. Many individuals use debt as a method for making large purchases that they could not afford under normal circumstances. A debt arrangement gives the borrowing party permission to borrow money under the condition that it is to be paid back at a later date, usually with interest.

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When it comes to saving and investing the future is not predictable,but it can still be managed.The objective is not to foresee your future but to properly plan for it. Saving and investing are key ways to properly manage one’s finances to fulfill financial goals and deal with the unforeseen emergencies that can potentially alter one’s lifestyle.

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Question: I want to encourage my two teenaged children to save, how can I help them develop a savings habit which can bring immense benefits?

The earlier you can teach your teenagers about the benefits of saving, the better prepared they will be to manage their own money in their adult life. Teens can be frighteningly ignorant of the value of saving and investing, so the earlier you address it, the better.

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Question: I want to encourage my two teenaged children to save, how can I help them develop a savings habit which can bring immense benefits?

The earlier you can teach your teenagers about the benefits of saving, the better prepared they will be to manage their own money in their adult life. Teens can be frighteningly ignorant of the value of saving and investing, so the earlier you address it, the better.

Perhaps the best way to encourage a savings habit in your teenagers is to be a saver or investor yourself.  Teenagers are likely to put more credence in your message to save or invest if you already practice what you preach.  It is important that you examine your own attitude towards money so that your words of wisdom to them do not ring hollow.  Teenagers are notoriously effective at identifying the inconsistencies between parents’ stated values and their actions.

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