NCB Atrium on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston
Following the successful rollout of its GoIPO platform in Jamaica, NCB Capital Markets Limited (NCBCM) rolled out the platform in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the additional public offering (APO) of First Citizens Group Financial Holdings Limited (FCGFH).
GoIPO was launched in January 2019 ahead of Wigton Windfarm Limited’s initial public offering (IPO) when the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) raised $5.5 billion through the sale of its stake in the renewable energy company. It processed 4,700 applications out of the 31,200 applications for this offer.
The IPO was NCBCM’s litmus test for the digital platform, as it ultimately paved the way for the institution to exclusively stage the $495 million IPO of Mailpac Group Limited, which was 300% oversubscribed with over $2 billion in subscriptions.
The platform also managed the $14.1 billion IPO of TransJamaican Limited in February 2020, which had 31,624 applicants paying over $25.12 billion in subscriptions. While the IPO had other selling agents, the GoIPO platform was the primary tool for investors to apply for the offering as no application form was included in the prospectus.
“Following the ‘groundbreaking’ experience in Jamaica, we intend to leverage lessons learned and our proven expertise in mapping the types of innovation needed to elevate the equity market regionally, starting with GoIPO’s expansion into Trinidad and Tobago,” NCBCM Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steven Gooden said in a released statement.
Gooden is the Chairman of NCB Merchant Bank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited (NCBTT) which listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE) in June 2021.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) intends to sell 10,869,565 shares of FCGFH and raise TT$500 million ($11.50 billion) from the APO. This sets the unit share offering price at approximately TT$46, a discount of 9% from the current share price of TT$50. GOTT owns 64.43% or 161,946,890 shares of the financial group. The sale would reduce its stake to 60.11%. FCGFH’s share price is down 20% year-to-date with a market capitalization of TT$12.57 billion.
According to Eva Mitchell, CEO of TTSE, “The introduction of GoIPO to our marketplace is timely, given the increased interest shown by companies to participate in equity capital markets. GoIPO is a platform accessible to any holder of a TTCD account, providing opportunities to the broader market. In other words, it is available to the investing public, regardless of broker alignment. The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange is ripe for innovation aimed at to deepen capital markets With global economic uncertainties, it is imperative that investors have a wide range of options to diversify their investment portfolio and this is only possible with increased access to opportunities credible.
GoIPO is the first and only digital platform in the Republic of the Twin Islands that can facilitate public offerings of shares. Similar to Jamaica, the platform can be used by anyone with a brokerage account once NCBTT is an offer selling agent. This comes at a time when people can register as NCBCM customers in Jamaica, Barbados, T&T or the Cayman Islands and can open an account in the other respective jurisdictions using the GoIPO platform. NCBCM upgraded the platform in 2021 to enable biometric verification of customers’ Know Your Customer (KYC) documents to simplify the onboarding process.
Asked about expanding the platform’s capabilities, Gooden said, “We are continuously improving and expanding the capabilities of our digital channels and are currently working to make fixed income offerings available through our digital platforms.
NCBCM created GoIPO following Wisynco Group Limited’s record IPO in December 2017, when it received over 7,400 paper applications in one week, totaling $18.8 billion against target of $6.1 billion. This forced the company to work overtime and hire additional staff to handle the volume of applications in what was the biggest IPO at the time.
Even Wigton’s IPO saw the line stretch along Knutsford Boulevard and wind around blocks as people went to open accounts at Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited (JMMB). Various sales agents even detailed how staff left at 2 a.m. as they processed offer application forms and onboarding customers to set up new accounts. Even prime broker Mayberry Investments Limited had to set up tents in its parking lot to accommodate the number of people opening accounts at the time.
Since then, several other brokers have launched digital platforms locally such as Proven Wealth – IPOPRO; Investments Barita – Patron Barita; Sagicor Investments—eInvest; VM Wealth Management — Wealth Edge; and Mayberry Investments — MI’s IPO.
NCBCM is currently awaiting approval from local authorities to officially launch its subsidiary NCBCM (Guyana) Inc. In addition to arranging over $22 billion in deals in 2022, NCBCM has also revamped its private equity service offerings to support businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses. businesses, which need patient capital in this macroeconomic environment of rising interest rates and double-digit inflation.
Sekou Crawford was promoted from his position as Director of Origination and Structuring to Assistant Vice President for Investment Banking on March 1.
As it continues to push technology to the forefront of its operations, NCBCM launched its Wealth Connect mobile app on January 1. Since then, it has added new features such as the ability to buy and sell unit trust products, transfer between NCBCM and NCB Jamaica accounts, and get data such as price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios. NCBCM is the wealth management arm of NCB Financial Group, with the segment seeing an 18% reduction in operating profit to $5.10 billion.
“The feedback from our customers on the app has been positive. They have found it convenient and they appreciate having market data in the app. appreciate and depreciate and they reported that the app made the process of investing in stocks easier for them.Customer feedback also included requests for improvements including the addition of new features including permission to undo ordering and provision of buy and sell queues. This is all part of the backlog to be developed this year through to the next fiscal year,” concluded Gooden.