Treasurer Diossa Hosts Rhode Island’s Inaugural Investor Conference

Published on Thursday, October 19, 2023

Providence, RI – Today, Rhode Island General Treasurer James A. Diossa hosted the State of Rhode Island’s Inaugural Investor Conference at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The one-day conference served to spotlight the numerous opportunities for bond investments in the State in advance of the October 23 and 24, 2023 sale of general obligation (GO) bonds.

The conference was strategically timed in coordination with the anticipated bond sale. This sale comes on the heels of the strong bond ratings the State of Rhode Island received from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global. This month, Fitch revised the State’s GO outlook to positive from stable, Moody assigned an ‘Aa2’ rating, and S&P Global affirmed an ‘AA’ rating.

“Our inaugural investor conference showcased how Rhode Island is a powerful engine for economic growth and financial stability,” said General Treasurer Diossa. “Whether it’s our investments in housing, clean energy, infrastructure, or the community, Rhode Island is the ideal place for raising capital from GO bonds. As General Treasurer, I remain committed to strengthening public confidence in Rhode Island bonds, especially as they have proven to contribute to safe, stable, and sustained financial prosperity.

With nearly 200 attendees, financial professionals in attendance included institutional investors, bankers, financial advisors, credit rating analysts, and representatives from bond investment firms. Attendees heard directly from State leaders, budget and investment officials, and State agency employees on investing in the Ocean State, upcoming projects, and progress made in strengthening Rhode Island’s economy.

Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee and Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore offered remarks on their commitment to the Rhode Island economy. Speaker of the RI House of Representatives Joseph Shekarchi and Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Louis P. DiPalma also spoke on their work in the General Assembly to strengthen the State’s economic outlook. Charles Kelley, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority also outlined the correlation of bonds with education.

Dr. Christopher Foote, a Senior Economist and Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston gave the keynote speech on the national economic outlook, citing unemployment and housing prices, inflation components, and economic projections.

The following panels were held throughout the duration of the day, intended to inform the audience on State’s ongoing initiatives, and an update on State finances.

Panel on the Economy and its Financial Outlook – Panelists Included:

  • Moderator: Janet Lee, Senior Managing Director, Public Resources Advisory Group
  • Joseph Codega, Jr. Budget Officer, Office of Management and Budget
  • Matt McCabe, Chief, Office of Revenue Analysis
  • Frank Quinn, Director of Debt Management, Office of the General Treasurer
  • Eric Baggesen, Chief Investment Officer, Office of the General Treasurer

Panel on Housing and Education – Panelists Included:

  • Moderator: Karen Santilli, Chief Executive Officer, Crossroads Rhode Island
  • Carol Ventura, Chief Executive Officer, RIHousing
  • Marc Parlange, President, University of Rhode Island
  • Mario Carreño, School Building Authority Chief Operating and Finance Officer, Rhode Island Department of Education
  • Kimberly Mooers, Executive Director, Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corporation

Panel on the Environment and Infrastructure – Panelists Included:

  • Moderator: William Fazioli, Executive Director, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
  • Vincent Mesolella, Chairman, Narragansett Bay Commission
  • Terrence Gray, Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Chairman of the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council
  • Peter Alviti, Jr., Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation

Panel on Airports, Seaports and Bridges – Panelists Included:

  • Moderator: Lori Caron Silveira, Executive Director, Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority
  • Liz Tanner, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce
  • Jonathan Savage, Chairman, Rhode Island Airport Corporation
  • Steven J. King, P.E., Managing Director, Quonset Development Corporation

“Now is a great time to invest in Rhode Island because we have been making strategic choices for the long-term financial health of our State--choices that show we are better at managing our debt and pension responsibilities,” said Governor Daniel McKee. “I thank Treasurer Diossa and his team for hosting this event. Rhode Island’s future is promising, and investing in our State will ensure we deliver on that promise.”

“Kudos to Treasurer James Diossa for hosting this conference to showcase that Rhode Island is a great investment. With excellent ratings from the top three credit rating agencies, Rhode Island’s strong financial management and budget oversight have been cited as reasons we are in such good shape fiscally,” said Speaker of the RI House of Representatives Joseph Shekarchi. “We are also making strategic investments in areas like housing and the biosciences to grow our economy. I am very optimistic about Rhode Island’s economic outlook, and I am confident that the investors gathered at this conference will agree.”

“Thanks to the forward-thinking, responsible leadership we are fortunate to have at the State House, I am proud to say that in recent years, we have taken transformative action for our State,” said Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Louis P. DiPalma. “We have focused on making investments in critical areas of need, and we have also made securing our State’s long-term fiscal health an absolute top priority. Rhode Island is prepared for whatever economic conditions lay ahead, and its future is incredibly bright.”

“Investing in RIHousing’s bonds is not only a financially safe move – but a smart move as well,” said Carol Ventura, Chief Executive Officer of RIHousing. “Our bond proceeds fund mortgages for first-time homebuyers, the production of affordable housing, and the integration of energy-efficient tools and practices into developments. Investors in our bonds can feel confident in a safe return on their investments, with the added benefit of knowing that an investment with us is an investment in the people of Rhode Island.”

“Our State is making smart choices in managing both its investments and its debt service, which is why Fitch recently upgraded our rating outlook from stable to positive,” said Joseph Codega, Jr. Budget Officer of the Office of Management and Budget.

“We are incredibly honored to be asked to participate in General Treasurer Diossa’s first Rhode Island Investor Conference,” said Vincent Mesolella, Chairman of the Narragansett Bay Commission. “We applaud his dedication to transparency and cooperation, and his efforts to stimulate the Rhode Island economy.”

“It was a pleasure to join the General Treasurer this afternoon and speak to investors about how Rhode Island is responding to climate change,” said Terrence Gray, Director of the Department of Environmental Management and Chairman of the RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council. “Our efforts on both reducing greenhouse gases and preparing RI to be resilient to the impacts of climate change should provide confidence to investors that the State is on track with our planning and program implementation and is well prepared for the future.”

“Rhode Island’s first Investor’s Conference is a perfect opportunity to showcase some of the exciting and forward-thinking transportation and commerce projects funded with federal grants and matching funds,” said Lori Caron Silveira, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. “Our projects focus on innovation, jobs, climate change, and green energy, and we are excited to share how we are moving Rhode Island forward.”

“Investing in Rhode Island’s seaports and airports is an impactful allocation of resources,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “These infrastructures are critical for economic growth as they pave the way for better connectivity with our partners across the US and the globe.”

“Quonset’s success is a window into what is possible in Rhode Island,” said Steven J. King, P.E., Managing Director of the Quonset Development Corporation. “The combination of public investment along with consistent support and effective leadership at all levels of government over the long term have paid tremendous dividends for Rhode Islanders.”

The conference was cosponsored by the Rhode Island Health and Education Building Corporation, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, and Narragansett Bay Commission.

You may learn more about Rhode Island GO bonds here.