Press Release: Three-Day Caribbean Seminar on Unregulated Investment Schemes Opens in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Wednesday October 29, 2008

October 30, 2008

Press Release No. 08/263

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC), in collaboration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Jamaican Financial Services Commission (FSC), is sponsoring a three-day regional meeting on understanding and combating unregulated investment schemes. Seventy Caribbean participants are gathered in Montego Bay to discuss pyramid-type unregulated investment schemes.

Therese Turner-Jones, CARTAC's Programme Coordinator, said "Pyramid schemes are a growing problem in the Caribbean. This conference is a chance to bring together representatives from many countries to learn about this threat and how to fight it."

Ana Carvajal of the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department added: "By looking at the experience of other countries, regulators can gain a deeper understanding of the way schemes operate as well as the type of actions that can most effectively stop them. Indeed in many cases those actions encompass cross border cooperation. This understanding will help them to determine the best course of action in their respective jurisdictions, including if necessary the pursuit of legal reforms to strengthen their enforcement frameworks to cope with unregulated schemes."

Conference participants also heard presentations by IMF Advisor Chris Jarvis and IMF Senior Economist Hunter Monroe on the Fund's experience with pyramid schemes in other countries. Speaking about his experience in Albania, Mr. Jarvis said, "If you let these schemes flourish they can cause massive damage: wiping out people's savings, disrupting the economy and wreaking havoc on society. Companies believed to be operating pyramid schemes should be investigated immediately, and if they are found to be fraudulent their assets should be seized to protect investors."

Today's opening session featured speakers from the Jamaican Financial Services Commission, CARTAC and the SEC, and focused on the definition of unregulated investment schemes, and the need for an effective regulatory toolkit to handle such schemes and for in-depth training in the area.

For more information and copies of presentations from the seminar please go to


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