Alliance shift
Chin brothers register new company in financial services sector
The Alliance head offices on 7 Belmont Road. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

IT appears Peter and Robert Chin, the brothers whose Alliance-branded businesses came under heavy scrutiny late last year after one of the entities was cited for breaches of its licence, has re-emerged offering business in the same line under a new name.

The issue came to light after a Jamaica Observer search at Companies Office of Jamaica revealed a new company under the name Oxford Finance Limited with the company number 83374 assigned to it. That number is the same one assigned to Alliance Finance Limited, according to checks on the Companies Office of Jamaica website.

It is not clear when Oxford Finance was registered. The Companies Office of Jamaica, however, listed its core activity as financial consultants. Peter and Robert Chin are listed as directors and joint shareholders of the company with the address listed as 7 Belmont Road, St Andrew. When the Business Observer checked the 7 Belmont Road location, the name Alliance Finance Limited was still displayed. It's related company, Alliance Investment Management Limited, owns the 7 Belmont Road property which it sub-leased to Alliance Financial Services Limited on a monthly payment under a shared services agreement between the two firms. Alliance Investment Management Limited's core activity, according to current Companies Office of Jamaica's records is investments, with Alexander Cheung, Peter and Robert Chin, plus Susan Dear, listed as ordinary shareholders.

All directors of Alliance Financial Services Limited (AFSL) stepped down on February 22, according to Companies Office of Jamaica documents. That entity was acquired by Sagicor Group on April 1, 2022 and the board members were replaced by Sagicor CEO Chris Zacca and businessmen Peter Melhado and Bruce James. Peter Chin, who was a director of Elite Diagnostic Limited, demitted that post in the aftermath of issues facing his Alliance-branded businesses, but remains a director of AMG Paper and Packaging Limited after stepping down as chairman.

The development comes as Sagicor Group Jamaica announced on Monday that it has completed the acquisition of Alliance Investment Management Limited's securities dealer book of business.

The notice was published on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Sagicor Group had announced its intention to acquire the book which contains the list of clients maintained by Alliance Investment Management Limited in late April. The acquisition was executed through Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited following due diligence and regulatory requirements.

"This client portfolio purchase expands the business of Sagicor Investments, offering an opportunity to serve a wider client base. We are delighted to welcome our new clients to the Sagicor family and look forward to giving them stellar service, personalised attention, sound financial advice and diversified investment products and services to meet their investment goals," said president and chief executive officer of Sagicor Group Christopher Zacca in the release.

The transactions mark the end of the Peter and Robert Chin led group of Alliance-branded businesses. Alliance Financial Services Limited's operation was suspended by the Bank of Jamaica late last year after the principals were no longer deemed fit and proper by the central bank. This came after the Financial Investigations Division charged Alliance Investment Management Limited, Alliance Finance Limited, their president Peter Chin and vice-president Robert Chin for breaches of the Bank of Jamaica Act, the Banking Services Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

After assessing the situation with their legal team of defence counsel Tom Tavares-Finson, Sean-Christopher Castle and Marcus Moore and the concerns of bondholders, both Chins struck a plea deal where Alliance Finance Limited would plead guilty to eight breaches of the Banking Services Act and 28 breaches of the Bank of Jamaica Act while the charges against them were dropped at sentencing. Alliance Finance Limited was fined a total of $21.4 million.

"Alliance Investment Management Limited 'Failure to file Threshold Transaction Reports' charge is still ongoing as of this moment" a source close to the case confirmed to the Business Observer. A plea and case management hearing was scheduled for July 21 on the charge. Alliance Investment Management Limited is still listed as a licensed dealer by the Financial Services Commission which stepped up its monitoring after the firm was initially charged. The Financial Services Commission can grant, refuse, suspend or cancel the licenses of any licensed entity.

Alliance Financial Services Limited attempted to go public in December 2020 where Willo Capital Limited and Melwood Holdings Limited would have collected $1.99 billion in gross proceeds. However, the offer was suspended indefinitely due to a matter related to a separate entity which was deemed to be prudent reason to suspend the offer and reopen in a month. That new opening date never came.

Alliance Financial Services Limited earned $1.47 billion in operating revenue up to September 2020 and derived net profit of $709.30 million for the period. Its total assets stood at $4.42 billion with cash and cash equivalents of $1.08 billion and shareholders equity of $1.63 billion. Alliance Financial Services Limited declared a dividend of $637.78 million for the period with Willo and Melwood equally owning 44.99 per cent, Alliance Investment Management Limited owning 10 per cent while the Chins owned 0.01 per cent each. Willo is related to Robert while Melwood is related to Peter.

Alliance Financial Services Limited was formed in January 2004 to take over the cambio business of Alliance Investment Management Limited, which started in August 1996 offering asset management, securities trading and financial advisory services. Alliance Finance Limited was formed in January 2012 to offer insurance premium financing to corporate and retail customers through a working arrangement with several licensed insurance brokers and provide credit facilities to customers.

In its second-quarter release, Sagicor disclosed that it paid an initial cash consideration of $2.6 billion (US$16.8 million) with a contingent cash consideration of up to $3.4 billion (US$22.6 million) based on specified performance criteria for Alliance Financial Services Limited, the total goodwill and purchased intangibles arising on the acquisition was $3.49 billion with cash outflow on purchase being $803.30 million. The purchase was funded by the 8.56 per cent sale of Sagicor Real Estate X Fund Limited to Sagicor Sigma Global Unit Trust and Sagicor Pooled Investment Fund Limited valued at $1.59 billion. It also resulted in SJ recording a US$0.8 million gain. Omar Brown now heads Alliance Financial Services Limited as its CEO which restarted operations on April 4.

"The Group's recent acquisition, Alliance Financial Services Limited, has had a successful return to full operation and is showing encouraging revenue growth in its remittance and cambio segments," said the SJ quarterly release.

While the Sagicor Group financials didn't disclose any additional information on Alliance Financial Services Limited, its parent company Sagicor Financial Company Limited revealed that the entity recorded US$2.97 million ($447.42 million) in revenue for the period ended June 30 and had a net loss of US$8.75 million ($1.32 billion). However, for the second quarter which covered the period since the acquisition, only US$770,000 ($115.92 million) in revenue was consolidated with a net loss of US$14,000 ($2.11 million).

Alliance Financial Services Limited's net assets on a fair value basis were determined to be US$4.29 million relative to the carrying value of US$1.46 million. It held cash resources of US$10.51 million and deposits and security liabilities of US$14.16 million. The goodwill arising from the acquisition is US$18.32 million.

"The acquisition represents a move into a new business segment and affords the Group an opportunity to expand its product offerings to our customers," Sagicor Financial Company said in its management discussion and analysis.

Alliance Financial Services Limited entered into an agreement with Unicomer Jamaica recently, which will see its agent network expanded by almost 50 per cent by allowing Moneygram customers to pick up their money transfers at Courts stores islandwide. AFSL's prepaid card business has been integrated into Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited's card segment. Sagicor lead the renewal of a five year primary-dealer partnership with Moneygram on completion of the acquisition.

Sagicor is currently contemplating a rebranding of the Alliance brand within the next year as the current logo being displayed is black and has the term "A member of Sagicor Group Jamaica". The logo used to be branded red. It is currently running a $2.8-million back-to-school promotion from July 22 to September 9. Sagicor is expected to cross-sell different business lines through the sub-agent network as the business is scaled up again. Sagicor Group will have to navigate the expected refinancing of the $1.35 billion bond which is due on September 27.

In this file photo, Robert Chin (left) and Peter Chin (right) leave St Andrew Parish Court in Half-Way-Tree in December 2021. The brothers whose companies were charged for breaching its licenses, have started a new firm, Oxford Finance Limited which offers similar services to the one's that were in breach and have been sold.
The name remains Alliance, but according to Companies Office of Jamaica's record, a new entity, Oxford Finance Limited, operated by the same principals of Alliance, now operates from the location. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

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