Thursday, december 31, 2020

Minister Ignacio Briones is named Finance Minister of the Year of the Americas by The Banker

Finance Minister, Ignacio Briones, was selected as Finance Minister of the Americas by The Banker, source of economic and financial intelligence of the Financial Times group.

Mr. Briones was rewarded due to his ability to negotiate the COVID-19 emergency package, and for his ongoing support to the Ministry's sustainable finance agenda. 

The banker also honoured the finance ministers of France, Vietnam, Qatar and Morocco. 

The Banker stated “In early March 2020, when its first case of Covid-19 was officially reported, Chile was a divided country shaken by social unrest and bitter dissatisfaction with the political class. In such an environment, finding public financing solutions amid the enormity of the pandemic required much more than the intellectual acumen usually expected of a finance minister. But Ignacio Briones Rojas, appointed when his predecessor became a political casualty of the social unrest, has proven his worth”. 

Along these lines, The Banker noted that Minister Briones’ capacity to secure a $28bn emergency package that included provision for Chile’s vulnerable and employment subsidies. This was also previously pointed out by the Financial Times in July, in an article about the challenges Briones was facing in the context of COVID, the social crisis, and the economic recession.

The Banker also highlighted the Ministry’s work in creating sustainable funding tools for capital market investors, especially after becoming the first sovereign to issue green bonds in the Americas in 2019, and through its first series of social bonds, issued in November 2020.

The social bonds were issued two weeks after Chile released its Sustainable Bonds Framework that outlines the guidelines for those new instruments, according to the highest international standards. “Indeed, international investors bought 48% of the amount available, twice the previous record for a sovereign issuance, according to the ministry. The social bonds represent a sizeable part of the government’s $12.5bn issuances in 2020 and are part of its plans to further diversify its investor base by strengthening its appeal to investors seeking environmental, social and governance assets”, said The Banker. 

“This recognition is, undoubtedly a great honor, but it is a recognition to the whole team from the Ministry of Finance, that has done its best in addressing the enormous challenges that the country has faced and will face in the future. At the same time, it carries a tremendous responsibility with all Chileans. We will continue working to recover our economy and our jobs”, said the Minister of Finance, Ignacio Briones.

To finalize, the publication lauded Mr. Briones’ insistence on Chile’s ability to maintain fiscal prudence. “Greater emphasis on addressing inequality can only improve the country’s chances of a brighter, more sustainable future”, it said.

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