By: Chronicle Reporter,

The CARICOM Competition Commission says it is watching “with concern” the recent developments and planned acquisition of Scotia Bank’s assets by Republic Financial Holdings Ltd. and Sagicor Financial.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the commission said it “has taken note of the  announcement on 28th November 2018 by the Bank of Nova Scotia of its intended transaction to sell banking assets in nine (9) English and Dutch speaking countries in the Caribbean… and life insurance operations in another two (2) countries (Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago) to Sagicor Financial Corporation.

Justice Christopher Blackman, Chairman of CARICOM Competition Commission

Scotia Bank announced sale of banking assets in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, to Republic Financial Holdings Ltd.

The CARICOM Competition Commission was established by Article 171 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas with a mandate to promote and protect competition within the community.

The statement, signed by Chairman Justice Christopher Blackman, based in Suriname, further noted the concerns of bank customers and governments across the region regarding the proposed acquisition of Scotiabank by Republic Financial.

“The Commission advises that it shall continue to monitor these developments in the banking and insurance sectors. Any impact to the community market by the proposed acquisitions will be assessed in accordance with the RTC,” the statement affirmed.

It went on to highlight the need for strong national and regional competition rules and frameworks, citing that it “stands ready” to support the Member States of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and financial sector regulators in analyzing the competition effects of the proposed acquisitions in their respective national or sub-regional jurisdictions.

“The Commission remains committed to a process that is fair and transparent in the determination of any regulatory matter where the interests of both business and consumers must be considered,” the statement concluded.