STOCKS and Securities Limited (SSL) is just one major step away from completely re-aligning its business to focus on wealth and investment management.
Following the sale of its repo book to JN Fund Managers, which became effective September 2, the securities dealer is currently being audited as a normal course of action for such a major portfolio transaction.
Earlier this week, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced that it issued directions to SSL to limit its activities while the regulator assesses the investment house's "state of affairs".
"The FSC's actions are aimed at protecting the interest of investors who represent a small number of select sophisticated investors holding bonds issued by SSL," said a statement issued on Tuesday.
The corporate bond that was issued by SSL matures next Thursday and is held by "42 holders of this instrument that are currently being negotiated", but the company has over 5,000 active customers, $19 billion in assets under management and 71 per cent tier 1 capital, according to Mark Croskery.
"Going forward and consistent with our shift in focus, we will be charging on the value of our client investment portfolio on the basis that we give the best investment recommendations to our clients," said the SSL CEO. "Under an enhanced customer-centric approach, we want our clients to hold our financial advisors accountable in keeping with our investment performance standards built on strong customer service; SSL online service and regular electronic statements and automated trade confirmations."
Under its wealth management adivisory, the company says it creates individual and segregated portfolios of stock locally and overseas, where the investment house also looks at bonds for its customers.
"Importantly we also create small investment programmes for the average employed or self-employed worker," said a statement issued by SSL yesterday.
However, it will no longer offer repurchase agreements, while its client assets, which are direct purchases off its balance sheet, are held at the Jamaica Central Securities Depository and by brokers or custodians overseas for foreign stocks and bonds.
"Are your investments safe and secure?" rhetorically asked Croskery. "Yes they are. All client assets are properly segregated and recorded under the FSC's regulation."