Sygnus launches into Caribbean financial market
Members on the Sygnus board of directors from left Ike Johnson, Jason Morris, Beris Grey, Gassan Azan, Debra Lopez-Spence, Milton Brady and Chairman Walter Scott QC(Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Sygnus launched on Wednesday as the newest boutique investment house on the block, promising to bring non-traditional financing solutions to the market with independent investment advisory solutions for investors.

The vision of Sygnus, is “to drive the velocity of economic growth across the Caribbean using innovative financial solutions”, said CEO Beris Grey, addressing an audience filled with representatives from some of Jamaica's best known companies, at the Porsche Centre on Knutsford Boulevard in new Kingston on Wednesday night.

Though just only officially launching, the company claims to bring with it a number of firsts for both Jamaica and the Caribbean.

According to Grey, some of these mentionable achievements include Sygnus Credit Investment Ltd being the Caribbean's only private investment vehicle that focuses on medium-sized enterprises (enterprises making US$5 million or more).

“We are the only full tax advisory business in Jamaica, and I would say probably the Caribbean,” Grey said, “We are the first.”

He said Sygnus was also the first financial firm in the island to offer clients full tax compliance and advisory services, and is the only local investment banking firm to offer clients full Mergers and Acquisitions advisory services — for both buy-side and sell-side deals.

In an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer after the event, Grey expressed that for too long the business model has been to create products then compel clients to fit into them.

What Sygnus aims to do instead, he said, is to turn that model upside down and “create highly effective solutions specifically tailored to provide the best returns for each client”.

“Entrepreneurship is alive and well,” said Minister of Finance Audley Shaw, giving his approval of the new company in his keynote speech.

Shaw congratulated Sygnus on their vision to provide more options to Jamaican companies, highlighting that this is in line with with his goal of financial inclusion launched in March 2017.

The choice of Sygnus to “focus on medium-sized firms is not only strategic, but key to financial growth,” Shaw said.

“The fact that Sygnus is started and led by Jamaicans augurs well for Jamaica,” Shaw said.

Grey, a co-founder of the company, previously worked in executive leadership roles at both CIBC FirstCaribbean and Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd, where he was instrumental in developing investment banking and capital market businesses.

His fellow co-founders share similar career histories, including Chief Operating Officer Ike Johnson and Chief Investment Officer Jason Morris. Gassan Azan, another co-founder, is well known locally as a successful entrepreneur in retail as chairman and CEO of Megamart and other successful businesses.

Grey said the inception and vision for the company stemmed from the desire of these passionate investment bankers and entrepreneurs to use their innovative ideas to improve the current financial landscape, unlock capital, and address the unmet needs of their clients.

The foundation of Sygnus's culture and service, Grey explains, lies in the 3i's — Innovation, Independence and Integrity — and guide the company in all they do. Innovation — the ability to create effective and tailored offers for their clients, Independence — the principle that allows them to put the clients interest first overtime, and integrity — never to compromise ethical or fiduciary duty.

He said company's value proposition was based on building dedicated long-term client partnerships, providing non-traditional financial solutions, a culture of independence and innovation, and providing unparalleled expertise and execution.

Sygnus is comprised of three subsidiaries — Sygnus Capital Ltd, which is licensed by the Financial Services Commission in Jamaica; Signus Capital Management Ltd, which is registered by the Cayman Investment Management Authority (CIMA); and Sygnus Tax Advisory, which is incorporated in Jamaica.

The three offer investment management services which include private investments and wealth advisory services. Tax compliance and tax advisory services which include corporate tax services, custom and excise consultancy, personal tax, international tax, tax education services and an on-call tax consultant.

Independent directors on the board include: Chairman Walter Scott QC, Debra Lopez-Spence, and Milton Brady, Simon Cadrey, and Wain Iton.

Sygnus is located at 60 Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston and has a staff complement of nine people spanning all three businesses.

Minister of Finance Audley Shaw (right) has a word with Deputy Chairman and CEO of the ATL GroupAdam Stewart and financial analyst Keith Collister during the Sygnus launch at the Porshe Centre onKnustford Boulevard in New Kingston on Wednesday. (Photos: Joseph Wellington)
Sygnus Chairman Walter Scott QC makes a point to CEO Beris Grey as Director Gassan Azan lookson during the launch of the investment house at the Porche Centre on Knutsford Boulevard in NewKingston on Wednesday.

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