Paul Simpson (left) Cornerstone President and CEO and Jason Chambers (right), Chief Investment Officer

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has written to Cornerstone United Holdings Jamaica Limited indicating that its supervisory committee has no objection to reorganise the group.

The move is being interpreted by some industry insiders as key to Cornerstone moving forward with unlocking significant value for its shareholders, clients and other stakeholders.

The BOJ issued the no-objection on March 10 this year under the signature of Central Bank Governor, Richard Byles.

The no-objection letter was issued pursuant to Section 7 of the Banking Services Act.

“The Bank extends its best wishes as Cornerstone embarks on the proposes restructuring activities,” Mr. Byles commented.

The Bank also recommended the consolidation of Barita Finance Limited and MJR Real Estate Holdings Limited for prudential reporting purposes as Cornestone was permitted to pursue the restructuring exercise.

PricewaterhouseCoopers reportedly supervised the the consolidation of the financial results of the Cornerstone Group which includes Barita, CTMB, CFHL, CUHJ, and the managed SPVs.

Cornerstone was required to submit information to the BOJ from 2018/19 to 2021/22 with the application being submitted in 2021/22 in order to receive its no-objection.

Chairman of CUHJ and Barita, Mark Myers reacted via a statement to the development.

“The BOJ’s No Objection is made possible by the hard work of our boards, Paul Simpson, and the executive team. According to the Chairman, “the executive team has been exemplary over the past four years with their unmatched, work ethic, putting in 17-hour days, six days per week, especially at the heights of the pandemic”, Myers commented.

“The vision for our Group was always to provide frictionless integrated banking, investment banking, infrastructure and real estate investments in building Jamaica first, and the wider Caribbean at large. Even before final implementation of the BSA, it was clear to me and the initial shareholders of our Group all the way back in October 2013, that in order to fulfil our business objectives, it would be critical for our Group to be well positioned through our corporate structure to fairly seamlessly enable, at a future date, the consolidation of the ownership of our bank and all other regulated entities under one financial holding company,” Cornerstone Founder, President and CEO Paul Simpson commented when news of the objection surfaced.

“The other initial shareholders and I, who would have commenced this journey some ten years ago, are extremely proud to acknowledge the fact that we are one step closer to having significant impact in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean, and the Americas”, Mr. Simpson reasoned.

“As a key enabler to effecting the future consolidation of our Group in accordance with the law, the initial shareholders of our Group ensured that the requirement for the shareholdings and shareholders of CFHL and CUHJ to be mirrored at all times, is enshrined in the articles of CUHJ. This has always been a key ethos to ensure that no shareholder who initially placed their faith and confidence in me in 2013, is left behind”, Simpson reiterated.

Cornerstone senior executive, Jason Chambers also weighed in on the no-objection letter issues by the BOJ.

“Cornerstone is in significantly advanced talks with global partners for infrastructure and real estate development, who will provide up-front cash injection as capital, towards funding project development vehicles, thereby immediately impacting the cash flow profile of the assets. The Cornerstone Group, in conjunction with its strategic partners, will enable a structured, phased development of the property holdings over the next several months to years which provides line of sight to significant cash flows and sustainable value creation for shareholders, the wider community, and Jamaica”, Mr. Chambers revealed.

Chambers commented that real estate experts know, the development of 2,000 acres of ocean-front, real estate property “is long-tailed and so will necessarily be undertaken over time and Cornerstone has already commenced the planning and engineering phase for these developments, which is being undertaken in conjunction with leading global partners”.

Chambers concluded by commenting that an important part of Cornerstone’s future plans is to make its real estate development vehicles accessible to the public for investment exposures.

He says the approach taken by the group “is consistent with its ethos of democratising wealth creation for Jamaican and Caribbean person, as well as catalysing foreign direct investments in Jamaica and the Americas”.