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NCB Financial Group's headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (File photo)

NCB launches new investment platform

NCB Financial Group's headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (File photo)

NCB Capital Markets Limited (NCBCM) has announced the launch of Stratus Alternative Funds SCC (Stratus), an alternative investments platform, which is set to provide investors with a broad range of non-traditional high-yielding investment solutions, CEO Steven Gooden states.

NCB Financial Group’s headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (File photo)

NCB Capital Markets Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited and part of the NCB Financial Group. The Jamaican-domiciled investment house has a regional footprint with subsidiaries in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the Cayman Islands. 

The company head states that the new asset class being offered through Stratus represents a different or “alternative” option for investors to diversify their portfolios away from their longstanding reliance on traditional stocks, bonds, and cash.

“Stratus is overseen by a solid board of directors, which comprises well-established and reputable individuals in their respective fields.”

– NCB Capital Markets Limited CEO, Steven Gooden.

 This may include infrastructure assets, real estate, private equity, mezzanine financing and turn-around opportunities, he outlined.

 Alternatives usually require high minimum investments and advanced technical competencies to assess their attractiveness. As such, they are primarily held by institutional fund managers and ultra-high net worth investors.

Gooden said with the introduction of Stratus, more investors will now be able to participate in these high-yield assets through a fund structure.

NCB Capital Markets Limited CEO, Steven Gooden.

“This allows investors to pool their resources to access opportunities that would have otherwise been out of reach,” he said.

“Stratus is transformative; it is the product future for NCBCM and its creation tangibly demonstrates our commitment to the deepening of the regional capital markets.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the recent volatility in the financial markets in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Stratus is a vehicle designed to provide creative flexible financing solutions to the region funded by regional and international investors that are seeking to participate in the recovery of the Caribbean; Stratus will be an important catalyst for regional economic development,” added Gooden.

CMF is co-managed by NCBCM and Eppley Limited and focuses on providing non-traditional financing to businesses. Since its inception in 2016, it has generated an internal rate of return of 14 per cent to 16per cent in USD, a cash yield of a 12.6 per cent and a dividend yield to investors of 8.0 per cent per annum in USD. 

Gooden stated, “Stratus is overseen by a solid board of directors, which comprises well-established and reputable individuals in their respective fields.” The board is chaired by Sanya Goffe, Partner at Hart Muirhead Fatta and an Eisenhower Fellow. It also includes Robert Bermudez, a Trinidadian businessman and University of the West Indies Chancellor; Alok Jain, former Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Patrick Hylton, president and CEO of NCB Financial Group Limited.

Independent directors form the majority of the board of Stratus, which is consistent with international corporate governance best practices, Gooden said.