Susan Gordon, Business Reporter
Despite his three-page advertisement revealing the nature of Cash Plus Limited's operations, principal owner Carlos Hill was surprisingly reticent about the company he launched four years ago.
He, however, nixed suggestions that his press statement was the result of regulatory pressure from the Financial Services Commission.
Having quickly developed a reputation for generating good returns on foreign currency investments and as much as 10 per cent monthly return on local currency investments for its clients, the company's every move is now watched by mainstream firms whose 'by the book' strategies return 11-13 per cent, annually.
In an October 15 advertisement, Cash Plus declared it was not a financial institution, commercial bank, investment advisor or securities dealer and did not fall under the purview of any fiscal regulatory body.
"Cash Plus is not a licensed entity and there is no application before the FSC for this entity," FSC executive director Brian Wynter confirmed to the Financial Gleaner, an indication that persons who transact investment-related business with the company do so without the buffer of regulatory oversight.
Additionally, while the group said its cambio operation was licensed under the trading name Superior Financial Services, the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) said Wednesday that Superior was no longer operational and was struck off the list of 66 authorised cambios islandwide on October 1.
Asked the reason for the cambio's closure, the BoJ rep said: "I cant' divulge that."
Cash Plus was started in 2002 by Hill, who formerly worked in a mortgage institution.
His group of companies now comprises 12 operations spread across distribution, gaming, telecommunications, entertainment, security, development, industrial and financial services.
It employs over 1,000 persons and has plans to expand to other Caribbean islands.
Pressed on his plans, Hill said dismissively: "I'm not prepared to say anything to the paper right now."
Any comment, he suggested would be done through the same medium as before, press advertisements.
"We are continuing that campaign," said the Cash Plus boss.
Created through a series of mergers, joint ventures, and acquisitions, the Cash Plus group now operates:
Cash Plus Phone Card Centre Limited which distributes prepaid calling cards for all local telecommunication service providers through Gengeorge Limited and Caribbean Tone Limited;
Cash Plus Equities Limited;
Cash Plus Distribution Centre Limited, distributor of liquid petroleum gas; Cash Plus Lubricant; Cash Plus Money and Cash Plus Chemical Limited;
Cash Plus Telecom Limited, operator of the mobile and wireless fixed services companies Megafone Limited and Freepaid Limited.
Cash Plus Limited also operates, Cash Plus Development Limited with its four subsidiaries - Cash Plus Realty Limited, Cash Plus Construction Limited, Cash Plus Hardware Limited and Cash Plus Building Systems Limited;
Cash Plus Entertainment Limited operates three properties under the Executive Inn brand in Kingston, Montego Bay and St. Ann;
The event planning company Hillcrest Productions Limited; and
Carlitos Café Limited; and
Diary products wholesaler Cash Plus Commodities Limited which runs Cash Plus Foods, Cash Plus Farms and Cash Plus Shipping Limited.
Cash Plus Shipping recently acquired two cargo ships, "Angel Pearl and Durga Maya" to move its cargo throughout the Caribbean Central America and North America.
Sovereign Security Services Limited;
Caymanas Off-Track Betting Limited;
Cash Plus Industries Limited; a motor vehicle dealership operating through Cash Plus Ventures Limited, and;
Cash Plus Financial Consultants Limited.