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Access Financial trying to oust CEO

Published:Thursday | April 10, 2014 | 6:33 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

A stock market notice on Thursday alerted investors to upheavals at Access Financial Services and efforts to oust the micfrofinancier’s chief executive officer.

CEO Marcus James who is under pressure for unspecified "governance issues" declined to comment, but the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) alerted the market to a dispute between James and the company.

The matter has reached the courts, with James trying to prevent his removal from his post.

James is the company’s founder and he sits on the board as CEO.

He is also the top shareholder with at least 40.95 per cent holdings.

Other owners of the company were unwilling to discuss the conflict, saying the issue was in court and was still evolving.

"I can’t speak to it just yet," said Gary Peart, CEO of Mayberry Investments Limited, which controls around 40.4 per cent of Access.

The company was still weighing the implications, he said, and could offer a more informed view in the coming days.

James has acquired an injunction barring his removal.

The freeze is in place until April 23, when the parties are expected back in court.

“In the course of the dispute, litigation has been initiated by Mr James against the company, and it is reported that, pending a full hearing of an application for injunction, a Judge of the Supreme Court granted an injunction to 23rd April 2014 to restrain the company from holding disciplinary proceedings that could result in the removal of Mr James as Chief Executive Officer,” said excerpts of a letter to the JSE from Access’ company secretary on April 9.

"From the report made to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the dispute involves serious allegations and counter-allegations having to do with the governance of the company and its assets," the JSE said.

Access is a 13-year-old company which went public in 2009.

It was the pioneer stock on the JSE Junior Exchange.

The company is in the business of selling loans.

As at December 2013, Access had assets of J$1.27 billion up from $879.8 million in 2012.

Profit for the year ended was $270.12 million compared to $237.97 earned the year before.

Access’ share price closed unchanged at $9 on Thursday.

The notice was posted by the JSE after market close.