Bajan on Wall Street
By Tony Best | Sun, July 08, 2012 - 12:03 AM
Consider the pillars of Wall Street, the world’s best known business address.
The New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, JPMorgan Chase, Standard & Poor’s and Goldman Sachs would be high on any list. After all, they drive the financial industry which collectively deals in trillions of dollars every week.
It’s in that highly competitive environment that Dave Dowrich, a confident Wall Street executive with more than 20 years of experience, functions and thrives every day. He is a vice-president of risk and capital markets in the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs.
The Barbadian is a graduate of Harrison College, the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania which awarded him a Master’s in business administration degree in finance, and the University of Toronto where he earned a Bachelor’s in actuarial science and applied statistics.
“We advise clients on mergers and acquisitions, structured re-insurance transactions, risk management and raising debt capital,” Dowrich told the Sunday Sun.
“We have a specific focus on capital markets re-insurance. Among our clients are leading household names in the insurance industry.”
In the past two years, Dowrich and his team of Wall Street professionals have helped firms raise upwards of US$2 billion in capital while generating considerable revenue for Goldman Sachs, a major investment bank.
“I am responsible for debt capital market and risk management coverage for insurance companies in the Americas, that is, the United States, Canada and Bermuda,” he explained.
“On the debt market side I advise insurance companies when they should tap the debt market; raise money through debt; what’s the right time to do it; how much they should do; and the tenor of it, whether they should do ten- or 30-year debt. Just as important, what form the debt should take – should it be senior or subordinated debt? Basically, it’s advice on their capital structure.
“On the risk-management side, it’s about the risk on a company’s balance sheet. Is it market-based risk, and if it is, what’s the right way to hedge it to minimize the impact of market fluctuations on either your balance sheet or income statement?”
Take the case of a leading global insurance company which wants to raise capital. Dowrich, who describes himself as a “Bank Hall boy” with firm links to Wesley Hall Boys’ School in St Michael, would have some specific advice.
“If an insurance company sells a product that has exposure to the S&P 500, I would be talking to them about how they can hedge some of the risks they have sold,” explained the son of Rita Scantlebury, who lives in Bank Hall, and Winston Dowrich, a resident of Mississauga in Ontario.
“I would advise them on what form that hedge should take. Most of my interactions with clients are either with corporate treasurers, chief financial officers or chief executive officers.”
That leads to another thing. The Barbadian rarely sits across the table from people of colour negotiating deals.
“I can probably count on one hand the number of clients I have who are black. I can probably count on two fingers the number of Blacks with whom I deal as peers who do this kind of work,” he said.
Born in Toronto but raised in Barbados where he received his early education, Dowrich traces his career in the financial sector to Barbados where he was a director of London Reinsurance Group, a Canadian offshore company in Barbados which eventually transferred him to its operations in Philadelphia.
After three years he was ready to move on, coming to New York in 1997 where he joined Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, as a vice-president and head of corporate planning and analysis. The next climb up the corporate ladder was at Credit Suisse, also in New York, which made him vice-president in the insurance solutions group.
“My experience and those of several people from our country should show our young people back home what’s possible and inspire them to dream.”
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