Business

Sagicor rebranding paying off

Saturday, May 10, 2014    

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SAGICOR Investments brand awareness jumped to 18 per cent by the end of last year, up from a paltry three per cent the year before.

The company, formerly named Pan Caribbean Financial Services, has begun to reap the benefits of rebranding, which was reflected in new account growth, according to its latest annual report.

For instance, the number of banking accounts grew by 120 per cent, while the number of active chequing and saving accounts grew by 36 per cent and balance jumped by 44 per cent year over year.

Sagicor Investments net profit marginally decreased by three per cent, for the year ended December 31, 2013. The company posted $1.16 billion in net profit after for the year ended December 31, 2013, down from $1.46 billion in the prior year.

"The results reported were achieved in a weak economic climate and a challenging environment, reflecting significant competition and a continuing degree of economic uncertainty," the company said.

More specifically, the performance was affected by the company's participation in the National Debt and Private Debt Exchanges (NDX and PDX respectively).

The value of securities exchanged was $29.9 billion and US$77.5 million, resulting in lower coupons and longer maturities, the company said.

Total operating income for the year under review decreased by 12 per cent down from $4.1 in 2012 to $3.6 billion last year, reflecting a five per cent decrease in net interest income from $2 billion in the prior year to $1.89 billion in the year under review.

By the end of the year, Sagicor said it introduced five new products targeted to key market segments and expanded its sales force by six per cent .

Total expenses for the year under review was $1.12 billion, down from $1.26 billion year over year.

Expenses declined mainly due to reductions in technology costs, promotion and advertising spend and amortisation costs the company said.

At the same time, operating costs increased four per cent to $2.1 billion, compared to $2 billion for the prior year, and staff costs increased by eight per cent.

Occupancy costs increased 12 per cent from $151 million to $170 million influenced by costs associated with the relocation of their Montego Bay and Ocho Rios branches and construction of a new branch on Hope Road.

Two years ago, the company's shareholders voted in favour of changing the names of Pan Caribbean Financial Services and Pan and PanCaribbeanBank to Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited and Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited respectively -- to strategically align both subsidiaries with its Barbadian parent company, Sagicor.

"Over 90 per cent of Jamaicans recognise the Sagicor brand and we expect to benefit from being more closely associated with Sagicor, the third-largest financial company in Jamaica," said CEO of Sagicor Investments Donovan Perkins back then.

Earlier this year, Sagicor inked a deal to buy RBC Royal Bank's Jamaican operations. When regulatory approvals are comcluded, the RBC Royal Bank merger will significantly expand Sagicor's customer base, product offerings and distribution network.

"These opportunities, combined with a focus on customer segmentation and experience, will drive our performance positively," it said.

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