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New venture capital outfit looks to list on junior market

Published:Friday | April 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Justin Nam, managing director of Exponential Holdings (centre), signs an undertaking to list his firm on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with Gary Peart, CEO of Mayberry Investments Limited (right). Looking on is Marcus James, director of Exponential Holdings and CEO of Access Financial Services Limited. - Contributed

Steven Jackson, Business Reporter

Justin Nam, a former assistant vice-president at Proven Investments, has expressed confidence in raising the J$500 million he requires to establish and list a new start-up called Exponential Holdings Limited, an investment-venture capital firm.

Exponential plans to list on the Junior Stock Market by the "second quarter" of the year via its lead broker Mayberry Investments Limited. Shareholders will earn returns based on investments in bonds, equities and from companies requiring financing.

"We are offering investors growth in smaller companies through private equity investments which will provide sustainable returns," Nam told the Financial Gleaner in a telephone interview this week.

He added: "We are a company focused strictly on providing strong risk-adjusted returns for shareholders. Shareholders will benefit from the performance of investments in underlying securities such as fixed income, listed equities and private equity."

Noting that small enterprises were the engine of growth for the island's economy, Nam emphasised that on that basis "we want to inject capital in these companies".

Exponential will offer opportunities for investors looking for alternatives to better the declining single-digit returns on the fixed-income market.

"Now is an excellent time, due to the prevailing interest rate environment," he said.

Nam expects to raise J$500 million based on preliminary interest and board support.

"The J$500m is in keeping with the rules outlined by the Jamaica Stock Exchange," he explained. "We have identified investors who are interested. When I was working in the financial sector a number of clients said to me, 'Why don't you set up your own firm'. Some of these guys have expressed their willingness to support Exponential and we are looking forward to this."

Exponential Holdings' board consists of William Craig of Billy Craig Insurance Brokers Limited; David Davies, chief financialofficer of Sandals, and Adam Epstein, chief operating officer of Sizzling Slots Ltd.

The actual day-to-day trading will be handled by Nam and Jair Minott, formerly of the Jamaica National Building Society.

Nam declined to reveal the shareholding, suggesting that the Financial Gleaner await the issuing of the prospectus detailing the company's plans.

"It is still early in the day and we are confident that this start-up listing will be a success with Mayberry's expertise and knowledge of the market," he said.

With 10 years of industry experience in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, including stints at Scotia Investments and First Global Bank, Nam is confident that his firm will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns.

Gary Peart, chief executive officer of Mayberry said in a press release on the matter: "We are pleased to bring another company to the junior market to diversify investors' options."

He explained that the company's structure will provide what he described as a a smart risk-adjusted investment option to a wider segment of the population. "We are happy to once again be brokering a young energetic firm as they take advantage of the opportunities offered by the junior market," he said.

Nam holds a masters in business Administration from the University of Warwick in England, and an undergraduate degree in economics with honours from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He is a past winner of the JSE Market Research Competition and has served as a guest lecturer for the Jamaica Stock Exchange's e-Learning campus.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com