Written by Al Edwards | Jamaica Observer
PROVEN Investments Limited (PIL) yesterday was the first company to have a US dollar listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE). The investment house whose lead principals are Peter Bunting, Mark Golding, Christopher Williams and Gary Sinclair last year successfully raised US$20 million with 150 private investors taking up 200 million shares.
The Proven shares are being introduced at US$0.112 cents a share with 294 million shares listed yesterday. NCB Capital Markets is the lead broker for the listing. Vernon James, Vice-President of Sales and Client Services of NCB Capital Markets said the price went up as high as US$0.117 cents but with no bids as yet. However, he sees some demand for the stock. “We now have to wait and see what happens when sellers come to the market,” added James. Speaking to Caribbean Business Report at the listing ceremony that took place at the JSE’s Harbour Street headquarters, Proven’s CEO Christopher Williams said: “Today is about giving thanks and giving promise. About 17 months ago, 150 individuals and institutions came together and put their trust and hard-earned cash on the table in support of what was no more than an idea with a PowerPoint Presentation. They had the confidence and belief in us and helped us raise a historic US$20 million, which is the highest ever private placement in Jamaica’s history.
“We have worked very hard over the last 17 months to ensure that we have performed and that our investors’ confidence in us is not wasted. Today is also about giving promise. Proven’s founders come to the table with in excess of 100 years of senior management and leadership experience of financial institutions. That has helped us represent to the Jamaican market two things — the first of which is that we are about integrity. Proven promises at this listing today, to operate our company with the highest standards of integrity and transparency. From day one, we have operated the company as if it were listed. We have issued quarterly financial reports and operated in compliance with the insider trading guidelines and adhered to the stipulations of the JSE, despite being an unlisted company. We also delivered our audit within 60 days in our first year of operation.
“Secondly we promise to perform. The reason why there is interest in our stock and in the company is because of our performance. When people take up their US dollars to buy Proven they are doing so on the belief that we will increase their net worth. We now look to move Proven from strength to strength.”
Vice-president of Investor Relations and Marketing Paul Simpson is part of the senior management team of PIL subsidiary, Proven Wealth Limited. He said that the aim now is to get the distribution network in place and fully operational. He added that Kingston is all set and Mandeville is now structured and up and running. The aim is now to get into Montego Bay within the next three months.
Simpson declared: “With Proven Wealth we are focusing on contact and content. We must ensure we are first to the door for all our targeted clientele and so we are building out a strong distribution framework. We must now deliver the types of products that can assist investors to beat the inflation rate and deliver a real return on their funds particularly in a low interest rate environment. We have so far delivered a Principal Protected S&P note and we are going to be bringing the first Jamaican dollar Principal Protected S&P note. We have also delivered a Return on Equity note based on Proven’s performance. We are currently putting together two option notes.
“Now that interest rates are coming down investors now need to be shown a range of instruments and securities that can give them a shot at delivering a positive real rate of return.”
Proven has as its business model a minimum portfolio size which puts access outside the reach of emerging investors. It is not in a position to target the mass market just yet. It is in effect a niche player in the Proven Wealth space. Proven is now considering listing in the Cayman Islands.
Deputy General Manager of the JSE, Robin Levy speaking about Proven’s listing on the JSE said: “This is very exciting. The fact is many Jamaicans in the Diaspora invest their money in companies overseas and they don’t see a way to invest in Jamaica. Therefore, the more listings we have the more possibilities they have to invest in their home country. Here we have one now for the first time on our US market, which they can track in real time instead of depending on conversion. I think this is a positive development. Proven is a dynamic company headed by a young management team and is proving themselves every day.”