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AFGI Conference Focuses on Puerto Rico’s Revitalization

By on October 13, 2016

SAN JUAN – The Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers (AFGI) Puerto Rico Revitalization Conference is taking place in New York City.

AFGI is the trade association of financial guaranty insurers and reinsurers of municipal bonds and other types of public and private debt.

AFGI members, also known as bond insurers or monoline bond insurers, guarantee the timely payment of principal and interest as due on insured securities in the event of a payment default by the issuer.

Financial guaranty insurance saves issuers money, improves their access to capital markets, and protects investors from the risk of nonpayment and the burden of taking remedial action, even in cases of municipal bankruptcy.

Speakers attending

The conference includes speakers participating in panels discussing such topics as Puerto Rico’s economy today; how the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability Act’s (Promesa) fiscal control board can help; and what Washington, D.C., can do to support economic growth.

Philipe Schoene Roura, executive editor of Caribbean Business, prepares to moderate the panel on Washington, D.C.

Philipe Schoene Roura, executive editor of Caribbean Business, prepares to moderate the panel on Washington, D.C.

Philipe Schoene Roura, executive editor of Caribbean Business, was moderating the panel on Washington, D.C.

Invited guest speakers include former Puerto Rico government officials. These are David Álvarez, former executive director of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority; Fernando Battle, former president & CEO of Santander Securities and former executive vice president of the Government Development Bank.

The group also features Eric Cantor, vice chairman of Moelis & Co. and former House Majority Leader; Carlos Colón de Armas, finance professor at the University of Puerto Rico; Dennis Dunne, partner of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; and Dall Forsythe, former New York State budget director and Municipal Assistance Corp. board member.

The list of other guest speakers includes Mark Kaufman, partner at King & Spalding; Rafael Rojo, board president of the Backyard Bondholders; Jorge San Miguel, capital member of local law firm Ferraiuoli LLC; Héctor Negroni, co-CEO of Fundamental Credit Opportunities; and David Walker, senior strategic adviser at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Also attending is Nader Tavakoli, president & CEO of Ambac Financial Group Inc., a holding company whose subsidiaries, including Ambac Assurance Corp. (AAC), provides financial guarantees and other financial services to clients in both the public and private sectors globally, and is one of Puerto Rico’s largest monoline insurers.

“Ambac takes very seriously its commitment to Puerto Rico and to the Puerto Rican people. We think this forum will provide an important opportunity for thought leaders and market participants to share ideas on how the federal government, the oversight board and the local government can work toward resolving Puerto Rico’s current economic and financial difficulties,” Tavakoli told Caribbean Business.

AAC, including the Segregated Account of AAC (in rehabilitation), is a guarantor of public finance and structured finance obligations.

As of June 30, Ambac’s exposure to Puerto Rico debt was $9.9 billion, out of the island’s total outstanding debt obligation of $70 billion.

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