VM Wealth offers free advisory service for SMEs to retool in pandemic

Victoria Mutual Wealth Management Limited (VM Wealth) is offering advisory services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that will help them retool and restructure their businesses for growth in the post-pandemic era.

According to Devon Barrett, group chief investment officer and head of the Strategic Investment Unit, VM Group, both VM Wealth and its parent company, Victoria Mutual Investments Limited (VMIL), through the advisory services they offer, help SMEs to create a roadmap to success by critically analysing their business plans and providing expert guidance on the way forward.

Devon Barrett (right), group chief investment officer and head of the Strategic Investment Unit, Victoria Mutual (VM) Group, in conversation with (from left) Deane Shepherd, CEO, SNB Creative Group; and Michelle Smith, CEO, Chocolate Dreams, on Tuesday (February 16) following the hosting of the VM Wealth Talk – 2021 Business Success Strategies webinar. (Photo contributed by Victoria Mutual Group)

“Business owners need to take steps now to avoid a situation where they are unable to compete after the crisis ends, because they did not retool,” Barrett said during a webinar on Tuesday, February 16, speaking on ‘VM Wealth Talk: 2021 Business Success Strategies’.

In addition to helping clients restructure their businesses, Barrett said, VM Wealth can also help SMEs to access or raise necessary equity or debt capital. He also advised how businesses could improve their capacity to access financing of this kind.

“There is financial capital available in the marketplace waiting to be deployed, but you need to get your business organised. We will guide you. To restructure, you must have up-to-date financial statements and good corporate governance. We will look at your organisational structure, your support services, such as accounting, marketing and legal services. We will help you with this restructuring and then help you to raise the capital you need,” he explained.

Capital for the next level

“Victoria Mutual has capital right now waiting to be deployed to entities that we think are ready to move to the next level”

Devon Barrett, group chief investment officer, Victoria Mutual Group

The chief investment officer also reiterated VMIL’s commitment to providing SMEs in the productive sector with capital. In December 2017, during VMIL’s listing ceremony at the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Barrett announced that VMIL would commit JM$1 billion in debt and equity financing for SMEs in the productive sector.

“Victoria Mutual has capital right now waiting to be deployed to entities that we think are ready to move to the next level,” Barrett said during the webinar.

To this end, he urged business owners to consider listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Junior Market, as a possible medium to securing new capital. While describing the JSE as an “under-utilised” channel, he pointed out that companies that list on the Junior Market receive a full income tax break for the first five years after listing and a 50 per cent income tax break over the next five years.

Victoria Mutual Group President and CEO Courtney Campbell (left) and group chair Michael McMorris insert the Victoria Mutual Investments Limited strip on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Looking on are VM Group director Sandra Shirley (right) and Devon Barrett, VMIL CEO and VM Group chief investment officer. (Photo: Garfield Robinson/Jamaica Observer)

“I encourage businesses to utilise this facility to raise capital as it will allow them to exploit opportunities made possible by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Barret stated.

Taking a new approach

VM Wealth Talk — 2021 Business Success Strategies — a joint social media event of the VM Group and VM Wealth — was the latest instalment in the Wealth Talk series and featured a keynote presentation from Richard Pandohie, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association and CEO of Seprod Group.

Rezworth Burchenson, CEO of VMIL and VM Wealth, said the Wealth Talk series forms part of the business’ financial education mandate. He added that the series is particularly crucial because of the current global economic context and the importance of businesses re-imagining their approach at this time.

“An attitude of resilience and determination [will be required] to emerge from this dark period better than before. Because much is at stake, we must reimagine our approach to the demands of the moment and capitalise on the opportunities while charting new paths,” he said.