Fri | Dec 2, 2022

JMMB targets more SME business, cuts path into commercial real estate

Budgets $5 billion for three projects

Published:Wednesday | September 28, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Gifford Rankine, general manager, group digital services, JMMB Group.
Gifford Rankine, general manager, group digital services, JMMB Group.

As part of efforts to greater diversify its revenue streams, financial conglomerate JMMB Group has put in motion plans to deepen its business with the SME sector and will simultaneously make its entry into the commercial real estate market.

The conglomerate will in a few months roll out a scan to pay point of sale solution, widening the options for business owners who may not want to lease for the physical machine. But for those who do, the JMMB Group through its digital services division is also rolling out its own POS machines.

General Manager of Digital Services Gifford Rankine said JMMB is now testing the product with a limited number of business owners, with intentions to have both solutions launched “very soon”.

“It’s going to be great for SMEs because they can choose not to pay for a terminal. The system works with two mobile phones a QR code which should be scanned after which payment will be sent to the business owner. As much as I would like to say more I can’t because our marketing department has it owns plan around launching the technology,” Rankine told the company’s shareholders.

JMMB will also be introducing ‘Johanna’ to the market, a virtual assistant fully capable of creating JMMB accounts for new clients, whether at home or in-branch. Johanna, named of JMMB Group’s founder the late Joan Duncan, is expected to expedite the account opening process and is available on WhatsApp or the web.

ECOSYSTEM

“The SME segment is a critical part of the whole ecosystem and where we are going as a group. Just like JMMB journey, we want to facilitate the small firm into becoming medium-sized to a large enterprise,” Group CEO Keith Duncan said.

The financial conglomerate has spent the past three years building out its SME segment, including the SME resource centre which operates in two of its three territories: Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. To date, JMMB SME Resource Centre has over 650 clients who use the services of JMMB’s 31 partner firms in areas such as accounting, legal and business development.

“While we are nurturing them, there are going to be opportunities that come up for which they will need capital. Over the last few years we went through a rigorous process of building out our private equity fund which has raised $1.5 billion which we use to fuel the growth of SMEs,” Duncan said.

The Fund, which falls under JMMB Securities Limited, is focused on medium-sized enterprises.

One the real estate sphere, the JMMB Group is looking to capitalise on the growth potential in the commercial real estate market, with focus on the commercial, warehousing and business process outsourcing space over the next two to three years. Planning has begun for two major projects slated for downtown Kingston and Mandeville.

JMMB’s decision to go after real estate in the outsourcing sector is guided by a World Bank recent report, which states that the sector is projected to increase employment by 13 per cent per year, from approximately 44,000 in 2021 to more than 76,000 in 2025.

Meanwhile, revenue is expected to grow by an average of 15 per cent per annum, from US$881 million in 2021 to more than US$1,400 million in 2025.

JMMB has set aside $5 billion to carry out all three projects.

“We have three projects in the pipeline right now and a total developmental budget of $5 billion, and these projects will yield 100,000 square feet of commercial office space and 30,000 square feet of BPO space,” Duncan said at JMMB Group’s annual general meeting.

As part of the commercial buildout, JMMB says it will also be developing property it owns in Liguanea, Kingston where it will house JMMB Bank’s corporate office and a branch.

As a newer player in the real estate market, JMMB Group is looking to plan, design, develop and construct properties and later bring to market for sale, lease or sale-leaseback. Already, Duncan has said that sections of the redeveloped Liguanea branch will be leased to tenants.

Over the long term, JMMB Group says it will continue to build out its portfolio of greenfield and brown field projects for other commercial projects that can facilitate corporate business and other uses.

Two years ago JMMB Fund Managers Limited struck a deal with four-year-old company Wise Construction to develop luxury homes, marking its entry into the residential real estate market as a minority partner.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com