Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Stewart’s goes local with auto finance

Published:Wednesday | October 13, 2021 | 12:09 AM
Director of Stewart Finance, Jacqueline Stewart Lechler.
Director of Stewart Finance, Jacqueline Stewart Lechler.

Stewart’s Automotive has changed track on its microfinancing operation, opting to wean itself from the Barbadian partner from which it learned the business of car financing over the the past eight years.

After forming a joint venture company, Simpson Finance Jamaica Limited, which began operations in October 2013, Stewart’s ended the arrangement with its Barbadian partner and is partnering instead with with Stratus Alternative Funds SCC, the alternative investment platform managed by NCB Capital Markets Limited.

The terms of the Stratus arrangement were not disclosed.

Simpson Finance Jamaica was renamed Stewart Finance, on October 1, and will continue to operate as a microfinancier for vehicle purchases, specifically the auto and industrial equipment brands represented by the Stewart’s Automotive Group.

In a release, the company said the move aligns with its “vision for the future of automotive financing that will feature faster loan processing and easy-to-access loans for prospective buyers – all under one roof”.

Simpson Finance Jamaica was launched with a five-member board, comprising Jacqueline Stewart Lechler and Duncan Stewart of Jamaica, and Kyffin Simpson, Murphy Brent and Andrew Hutchinson of Barbados.

The most recent Companies Office documents show that the Barbadians ceased being directors, and that the current members are Duncan Stewart, Hudson and Stewart Lechler.

“They partnered with us to offer in-house loan financing and essentially taught us – they taught us the ropes, so to speak,” said Lechler. After all of this time we were able to transform the business from a regional company to a truly Jamaican company,” she said.

Regarding engagements with loan clients, Lechler says nothing will change, that all previous terms and conditions will be honoured and future clients can expect the same level of service.

“Offering competitive rates will always be at the forefront of what we do, but in addition we want to be flexible while adapting to clients’ needs. In addition, we are looking after the total client by offering insurance premium financing and even trackers that see to security,” she said.

Fiona Ferron continues to head the rebranded company. Lechler says Ferron has been at the helm for the last three years and will be looking to grow the business that is now 100 per cent Jamaican owned.