Trusts are underused tool for LatAm development: Asbanc

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trusts are an effective mechanism for generating funding for major investment projects in Peru, according to Oscar Rivera, president of Peruvian banking association (Asbanc).

"Within a complicated international context, we need to get our economies off the ground, and as such, we must be prepared to encounter new challenges," said Rivera, speaking at the opening of the COLAFI 2016 Latin American conference on trusts, taking place this week in Lima.

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"The trust is a very valuable legal tool with tremendous potential for all sorts of projects, especially for investment in the region's largest projects and public works."

The statement comes at a time when Peru has undertaken a wide variety of infrastructure projects including public transportation, electricity, as well as seaports and airports.

These have created a heavy drain on financial resources, leading Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to seek US assistance, allocate emergency regional infrastructure funding and reform state agencies in an effort to spur infrastructure.

Rivera stressed the importance of utilizing trusts for development and called on attendees to use this week's meetings to exchange experiences, learn about the use of trusts and develop proposals for development via trusts in the region.

"There will not only be a number of varied case studies [on the use of trusts] at this event, but we'll see the risks and key themes one needs to know to evaluate, identify and exclude possible cases of money and capital laundering," he added.

Rivera recognized regional concerns on the purchase of property and investment in construction projects to facilitate money laundering, suggesting that the industry needs to make adjustments to counter such efforts.

Also speaking at the opening event, Giorgio Trettenero, secretary general of event co-sponsor Felaban (the Latin American banking federation), added that 2017 could be the year the region moves out of recession, even if some countries are only advancing slowly.

"We believe we will move past the deceleration in the sub-region's economic growth next year," said Trettenero.

He added that trusts are "versatile" and "flexible", especially for construction projects, and could be used to boost development. However, he said they are going largely unused, even in countries that have access to them.

"We have seen some countries that still don't use the mechanism but have expressed high levels of interest in doing so given the positive results trusts have produced in countries where they have been utilized," said Trettenero.