GFDD celebrates Semana Dominicana at the United Nations with a Panel Discussion Focused on Evolving Investment Fund Landscape in DR Capital Markets

May 8, 2014

On Thursday, May 8, 2014, GFDD and FUNGLODE once again teamed up with the Dominican Mission to the UN, the American Chamber of Commerce DR (AMCHAMDR), and Dominicans on Walls Street (DOWS) to celebrate Dominican Week 2014 (Semana Dominicana) at the United Nations. The focus of the event, which was held inside the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, entailed a discussion surrounding the following topic: "Focus on the Dominican
Capital Markets: Taking a Closer Look at the Local Investment Fund Landscape."

The Dominican community delighted the event organizers with a strong attendance, as supporting staff registered over 150 guests.

The event was designed to demonstrate how the Dominican Republic’s capital markets are evolving, with aims of achieving high solvency in the banking sector, improving the institutional framework for the management of public debt and continued steady growth in the value of private bonds and pension funds.

Maximo Vidal,
the President of AMCHAMDR, gave the opening remarks stressing that the capital markets are becoming a trigger for further development in the country, as they currently make up 10% of the country’s GDP.

GFDD Executive Director Natasha Despotovic, then took to the podium to welcome guests to the United Nations on behalf of GFDD and FUNGLODE. She thanked the partner organizations for the event, namely the Dominican Mission to the UN, AMCHAMDR and DOWS for coming
together to celebrate one of the many cultural and educational activities of Dominican Week 2014. She also gave guests the opportunity to learn more about GFDD’s initiatives by playing them the foundation’s institutional video.

Mr. Francisco Gutierrez of DOWS next dedicated the panel discussion to the founders of Semana Dominicana. Transitioning to the event program, he stressed that the “investment of funds plays a critical role in
the market”. He then introduced the panel speakers that included Gabriel Canal (Pioneer Investment Funds), Rodolfo Vega (Citi Bank), Gabriel Tineo (General Manager BHD Fondos), Felipe Amador (CEO/Executive VPBolsa de Valores de la Republica Dominicana, Phillip Guarco (Executive Director/Global Head of Fixed Income Strategy at JPMorgan Private Bank) and Maria Isabel Perez Sallent (General Manager AFI Popular).

The various interventions by speakers highlighted the
possible economic opportunities for the Dominican Republic, should it manage to expand its investment fund market.

Phillip Guarco (Executive Director/Global Head of Fixed Income Strategy at JPMorgan Private Bank) commented on the success of the Mexican economic model, as 33% of the country’s GDP is made up of exports, 78% of which are destined to go to the US (in this case in relation to the automobile industry). Explaining that this could be a viable model for
the DR, Mr. Guarco issued a few words of warning for the DR, namely that not all emerging markets are equal, given that financing needs vary across them.

Rodolfo Vega (Citi Bank) aligned himself with Mr. Guarco’s comments noting that it was a “good time to explore possibilities to access the international market”.

Felipe Amador, CEO/Executive VP of Bolsa de Valores de la República Dominicana (BVRD), gave the final
presentation providing an overview of the Dominican Republic’s Capital Markets. Speaking about macroeconomics indicators, Mr. Amador, explained that the DR’s GDP has experienced consistent and stable growth (4.1% growth in 2013 and expected growth of 4.5% by the end of 2014) and therefore predicted “significant growth potential [for the Dominican Republic] in the next few years”.

Following the presentations, Mr. Amador moderated an
interactive discussion with Gabriel Canal (Pioneer Investment Funds), Gabriel Tineo (General Manager BHD Fondos) and all the previous panel speakers. Commenting on lessons learned from the Dominican investment fund market, Ms. Canal explained that, due to regulations, it is a long process for Dominican funds to reach maturity. Despite this, she also provided a positive note stating that “as the market matures, it should make its easier for all the [market]

Turning to the opportunities generated by these markets, Mr. Tineo explained that he hoped “to see monetary funds or real estate funds that will help develop the country’s key sectors” that include infrastructure and the tourism industry.

Commenting on the future of the market, the speakers note an overall lack of financial education in the DR’s financial market about investment funds and their
benefits, which would need to be remedied to allow the market to fully mature.

In his capacity as moderator, Mr. Amador finally concluded the discussion by stating that there is clearly a “need for regulation to support the growth of these financial vehicles, be it through tax incentives or other forms of benefit to the market”.

Mr. Gutierrez of DOWS, concluded the evening by thanking all the organizers for their efforts, commending
the panel speakers on their valuable insight on the Dominican capital markets and inviting the audience to move the Q&A session to a drinks reception outside the auditorium room, where guests were provided with an opportunity to network and discuss the topics debated during the session.

About Dominicans on Wall Street (DOWS)
Established in 1997, DOWS is a non-partisan organization that serves as a preeminent network
and forum of discussion for financial market matters as they relate to the Dominican Republic and Dominican Americans. DOWS serves its members through networking opportunities, national and international seminars focused on key financial market issues, and mentoring programs seeking the educational advancement of students of Dominican descent.

About the American Chamber of Commerce DR (AMCHAMDR)
AMCHAMDR is a not-for-profit
organization made up of around 2,500 companies, both Dominican and American, that seeks to empower its members to develop their potential to the maximum based on three pillars – economic, professional, and social – through the facilitation of access to knowledge, opportunities, a culture of best practices, respect for the rule of law, and corporate social responsibility.