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​NCBCM expects technology will help drum up business Looks to new demographic

Published:Friday | November 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Steven Gooden, CEO of NCB Capital Markets Limited

​NCB Capital Markets, the investment and securities trading arm of Michael Lee-Chin's NCB Financial Group, says it will soon be expanding the range of transactions its clients can conduct online, including the sale of investments, following the company's recent roll-out of an upgraded platform that allows it to do things such as interrogate their accounts and move money between related institutions.

According to the company's CEO, Steven Gooden, that will include the provision of investment services at National Commercial Bank of Jamaica's (NCBJ) automated Bank on the Go locations, an obvious signal of Lee-Chin's intention to expand synergies across the group to squeeze costs and grow profits.

"We continue to make additional investments to increase the types of transactions our clients will do online," he told the Financial Gleaner. "In this financial year, our clients will also be able to conduct their investment transactions on NCB's Bank on the Go locations island-wide."

NCB's financial statements do not indicate how much the Jamaican side wealth, asset management and investment banking contributed to the group's J$19.1-billion profit for the financial year ended September 30. However, NCB Capital Markets is believed to have had a significant hand in the J$3.4 billion operating profit on income of J$8.3 billion reported by that segment of the business.

In those circumstances, creating an environment to enhance the market appeal of that part of the operation, especially in an increasingly competitive market, analysts say, makes sense. And it helps that NCB Capital Markets can also piggyback, especially in Jamaica, on the commercial bank's wide customer base, significant branch and growing automated network, as well as its financial heft.

The dedicated investment site allows clients to view their account balances, the details of the assets on their accounts, their transaction histories as well as do transfers from their NCB Capital Markets accounts to their NCBJ bank accounts and vice versa.

"In 2018, we will roll out additional capabilities that will allow our clients to purchase and sell their investment assets at their convenience online," Gooden said.

Among the expected gains from these developments, he said, is improved service delivery from the company's wealth advisers who should have " more time to offer improved service to our clients in terms of investment advice, financial planning and monitoring of their investment portfolios."

That improved service he expected to lead to greater customer loyalty, as well as 'impact all customer demographics". In other words, he expects to attract young, computer-savvy clients who are drawn by the ease of the technology.

Gooden said that the wealth management subsidiary of the NCB Financial Group had spent "considerable sums upgrading both our core application as well as developing our online platform. We continue to make additional investments to increase the types of transactions our clients will do online".

Customers, he said, had been asking for an online channel for some time. He said "the addition of the channel is also a part of our strategy to expand our electronic channels to increase the ease with which our clients can do business with us".

He noted that the new investment site is specifically targeted at clients who conduct frequent transactions, such as account balance queries and transfers to and from their NCBCM accounts.