Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) has sold its majority interest in microfinance firm, Dolla Financial Services, less than a month after it announced plans to sell its stake.
The sale price has not been disclosed but Dolla Financial, which has seven branches spread mostly across rural Jamaica and over 1,500 clients, is profitable and will see SSL, which is in the business of investment and stock brokerage making a reasonable return on interest.
The sale of Dolla is part of the reorganisation taking place at SSL, which is shifting its business operations more towards private equity transactions. It has sold its interest in Dolla to First Rock Capital.
“SSL got several serious enquiries from potential buyers but decided to negotiate with the partners, who it is believed had Dolla’s best interest at heart, and which would be the right fit to take the business forward.”– SSL Group CEO, Zachary Harding
The multi-million dollar transaction will also see First Rock acquire Dolla Financial’s Guyana subsidiary, Dolla Guyana Limited. CEO of SSL Group, Zachary Harding, says the sale of Dolla forms a crucial part of the investment and brokerage firm’s restructuring, which he has been spearheading since taking over the leadership late 2019.
Harding’s company, Hyperion Equities, bought into SSL, forming the SSL Group Limited, a holding company for several subsidiaries.
In this new phase Harding reports that SSL will exhibit “renewed focus on private equity investments.” SSL Growth Equity Limited had up until the time of the sale, held 70 per cent controlling interest in Dolla Financial.
Harding said that the divestment of Dolla is a part of an ongoing strategic programme, noting “Dolla has been a positive part of the SSL suite of services for over a decade. However, the company is now on a different path and we have shifted gears. We saw the opportunity to make a significant return on the initial investment while we redirect our efforts into new target areas.”
Dolla, founded by entrepreneur Kadeen Mair in 2009, will now fall under the umbrella of First Rock Capital Holdings. The SSL boss praised Mair, who he said did a tremendous job growing the start-up entity into what is now a sought-after business.
According to Harding, “While Dolla no longer aligns with our current vision we wanted to support Kadeen through this transition. We started weighing the idea in December but once it came out in the news that we were considering a sale the response was overwhelming.”
“SSL got several serious enquiries from potential buyers but decided to negotiate with the partners, who it is believed had Dolla’s best interest at heart, and which would be the right fit to take the business forward. The sale was settled seamlessly amid SSL’s preparations for COVID-19, while pointing out that SSL was the first company to publicly announce a work from home policy to protect its clients and staff from the impact of the virus,” Harding reports.
SSL has been undergoing comprehensive restructuring following the departure of previous CEO, Mark Croskery. Harding, now at the helm, has been instrumental in reshaping SSL’s leadership team.
SSL is the second oldest stock brokerage firm in Jamaica, having been in operations for over 40 years and over that time has maintained a boutique investment clientele.