Michael Banbury, Ryan Reid... the ‘FirstRock’ Duo
The First Rock Capital Holdings Limited, which was conceived just two years ago by well-known medical doctor/businessman Dr Michael Banbury and investment banker Ryan Reid, has been enjoying tremendous growth since they officially commenced operations earlier this year.
Reid and Banbury spent more than a year planning before starting the company, so its phenomenal growth is not surprising. The United States, Guyana, Cayman, Costa Rica, and Jamaica have so far been targeted for showing signs of growth.
“We like economies that offer smooth entry. We have to understand them and be comfortable with their political landscape as well. We are very comfortable with Costa Rica and Cayman, so we are executing on some deals in both places now,” said Reid, who disclosed that he leads a lean and fit team of 10, all below age 40, and whose work ethic is impressive.
“We are bullish on Guyana, too, but once their elections take place next March, we will have a solid foot there as well, because with the discovery of oil, it is poised for more growth.”
In Jamaica, First Rock’s real estate portfolio is an impressive mix of residential and commercial, with residential properties in Barbican, Kingston 6, and on the north coast, and commercial properties in Half-Way Tree and in the enviable ‘Golden Triangle’.
An additional five Jamaican properties have recently been approved for acquisition, so First Rock’s shareholders have more to look forward to. On their residential properties, they will acquire, develop, and sell them, but they focus on income-producing commercial properties, preferably tenanted by blue-chip clients, Banbury said.
“First Rock is here to stay. We don’t prosper by being on the sidelines. We have to take risks,” says Banbury, who has been in the distribution, airline, and real estate businesses for more than 20 years – all while practicing medicine. However, he realises that he will have to retire from medicine at some point, but would like to remain in business for much longer.
“I don’t see myself in medicine forever,” said Banbury, who is also CEO at Medical Associates Hospital. “That role at Medical Associates is challenging, but we are turning the corner now and offering the best service to Jamaicans,” he said.
Having successfully mixed business and medicine for decades, Dr Banbury cites real estate, tourism, financial services, and health services as the sectors to pursue at this time. With the creation of First Rock, he says the more new players enter the space, the more they will be validated for having started it.
“As much as this is a paradigm shift, we want to be ahead of the pack. Coming from my corporate background, I saw things that worked and have applied them to our operations ... structure makes money,” Reid adds.
So, their board is strategically stacked with directors who have an abundance of experience in business management and finance; and their operation spans Canberra Crescent in St Andrew, as well as reps in Florida, Costa Rica, and Cayman. It is a lean, fit operation – they outsource a lot and boast an efficiency ratio of 45 per cent, which is below best practice but above where they want to be.
In another 20 years, Banbury and Reid see First Rock as a well-oiled, well-run machine, with operations in multiple jurisdictions, boasting a solid capital base and many entities on the private equity side in their portfolio, while firmly maintaining their core business of real estate.