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Puerto Rico’s Financial Executives Huddle For NYSE Bell Ring

Brean Murray’s second conference successful at encouraging the best from companies and investors


November 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Puerto Rico’s seven largest banking institutions put on a promotional display for institutional investors last week during Brean Murray & Co.’s annual conference at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Brean Murray & Co., a New York investment & merchant bank, provided a forum for investors to learn about Puerto Rico’s financial institutions.

"Puerto Rico banks have significantly outperformed both the S&P 500 Bank Index and the S&P 500 for the past 10 years. The top four island banks have outperformed the top four banks in the S&P 500 Bank Index," according to Brean Murray & Co.

Billed as "Investment Opportunities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 2003," this year’s conference allowed Puerto Rico’s financial executives to discuss their companies’ investment potential with more than 100 institutional investors. "We are thrilled at the positive reaction [to] our conference, now in its second year. The interaction and depth of communication achieved between the investors and Puerto Rico’s financial executives have been outstanding," said Brean Murray, president of Brean Murray & Co.

Among those presenters were Hector Mendez, outgoing president of the Government Development Bank (GDB); Jose Joaquin Villamil of Estudios Tecnicos; and Ignacio Alvarez of law firm Pietrantoni, Mendez & Alvarez. On Sunday, La Fortaleza announced Mendez’s resignation effective Nov. 15; he will be replaced by Economic Development Bank President Antonio Faria. It was clear from general comments and private conversations that most investors were somewhat unfamiliar with the island and required information particularly on tax law and credits, venture capital initiatives, and other aspects of the island’s corporate and business environment.

"Besides being the equivalent of a credit review session, the conference allows my institution to promote confidence and provide a business-government framework for those considering investing in Puerto Rico," said Mendez.

Puerto Rico’s financial executives expressed satisfaction with the results of their participation in the conference. In groups and alone, local bank executives met with institutional investors and other interested parties at the NYSE.

"This conference is a terrific idea that is producing real results," said Frank Stipes, W Holding Co. chairman, president & CEO. "It certainly is a time-efficient way to introduce your company and attract bona fide institutional investors that can potentially help your company compete."

Discussion topics included growth projections for Puerto Rico and the possibility of mergers and acquisitions in the island’s finance arena. There was almost unanimous agreement that the local banking industry will see consolidations in the next three years. As far as the island’s economy, most agreed it would recover in 2004 and grow 2.3% to 2.5%.

"In the short term, we could conceivably achieve 3.5%, but the key will be the government’s timely investment in public works projects," said Jose Joaquin Villamil, president of Estudios Tecnicos. "There is pressing need, however, to start focusing on long-term planning."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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