Mon | Feb 17, 2020

Stokes not ruling out M&A at Scotia Investments

Published:Wednesday | February 13, 2019 | 12:23 AM

Scotia Group Jamaica executive vice-president, Dr Adrian Stokes, whose remit now includes oversight of wealth subsidiary Scotia Investments Jamaica, is stressing client care and services as the path forward for the wealth subsidiary.

But he is also not ruling out mergers and acquisitions, M&A, as a growth strategy for the firm.

“While we will not rule out M&A activities, we see many organic opportunities to grow our business,” said Stokes. “Our main strategic focus is getting closer to our clients to better understand their needs,” he told the Financial Gleaner.

Still, the statement on the surface reflects a subtle shift in the banking group’s thinking and comes at a time when rival NCB Financial Group is gobbling up new assets regionally, fuelling both its size and profits.

Scotia Investments is soon to go through a change of leadership, with the announced departure of CEO Lissant Mitchell in March. Mitchell’s successor is yet to be named.

“We are currently finalising changes to our organisational structure, and we will advise on those changes at a later date,” Stokes said.

The strategist was promoted to executive vice-president by Scotia Group in November 2018. The priority for the wealth arm, he said, is to make the company more customer-centric, with a deeper understanding of clients’ needs.

“This will inform our strategy and, ultimately, the direction and focus that we will adopt to ensure that we are providing optimal solutions,” Stokes added.

Last year, Scotia Group reported a 21 per cent decline in net profit by its wealth arm to $1.8 billion, on revenues of $3.3 billion.