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Financial News

Jul 2012 Financial News

Barnett hired by BCW Capital

Jul 20, 2012

Having previously disavowed all connection to BCW Holdings Limited and its operating arm, former financial regulator Rohan Barnett has re-emerged as the man in charge of BCW Capital and is defending his decision to head up the start-up securities firm.

BCW, which is backed by two food titans and a Wall Street investor, said it recently received its securities and pension licences, allowing it to begin operations.

The BCW name was initially said to represent Barnett, Gerald Chambers and Gerald Wight, but Barnett's name was later removed as director and shareholder from company documents just over a month after the initial company filings.

"I am resurrected in another form," Barnett told about 50 investors at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday. "Regulators never die they just come back in another form," he said.

Two of BCW Holdings's backers stood with him - Christopher Levy of Jamaica Broilers and William Mahfood of Wisynco, who are also directors of the holding company.

The other three company directors are Aubyn Hill, who is also chairman; Wight, who is a co-managing director in charge of operations; and Chambers.

Hill, Levy and Mahfood officially became directors on February 24, 2012. Juliet Wight, who had been substituted for Barnett in January, is no longer a director, according to the latest Form 23 filings. Gerry Wight is still listed as sole shareholder of 400 shares.

The third backer, James Goren, was absent from the briefing but said to be travelling.

The briefing was called to officially introduce BCW Capital to investors after news broke that the firm was about to float an unknown entity called BCW Lions to raise J$500 million at J$100 per share. Details about the IPO were sparse and BCW declined to define its business, when pressed Thursday.

The company is said to be registered offshore in Barbados.

BCW Holdings gained attention when Barnett's name appeared on its company filings at the time when he was still the regulator of the sector, but scheduled to resign.

"I left the FSC several months ago, because it was a potential conflict of interest," he told the Financial Gleaner in an interview following his presentation.

He said he refrained from consulting with the FSC on BCW's applications.

"To do that would put the company and myself in a conflict of interest. As much as I really, really like the FSC and the work we were doing there, once you leave you have to move on."

Barnett said that BCW is also seeking to become a broker member of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, which would allow it to trade in shares on the exchange.

He said BCW's current products are tailored to fit the needs of clients that will tap into various pools of resources in the Caribbean and North America.

"A number of you will know me as executive director of the FSC. I enjoyed it and did it for several years and decided that it was best to move on and transition to other endeavours," said Barnett, a US-trained attorney, who once worked with Citigroup's Global Markets/ Smith Barney division.

"It really means returning to my roots in the private sector and I am incredibly excited to be a part of the BCW team. There is a very exciting opportunity not just for BCW but for the financial-services sector in general," he said.

Charles Chambers, BCW managing director in charge of investment banking, announced plans to offer equity, money market and property products spanning the region.

He also touched on plans to publicly list a related entity BCW Lions on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Chambers, however, declined to give a specific date regarding the release of the prospectus.

BCW said its previous notice in the media of a July 24 date for the IPO and prospectus was released in error.

Chambers said that investors will be invited to buy shares in BCW Lions, which entails a particular product. He, however, declined to describe the precise relationship between BCW Capital and Lions.

"As soon as it comes out. I will explain the product," Chambers told the Financial Gleaner after his presentation.

"The clarity you want we cannot give you right now," added Barnett, in a huddle with Chambers. "We would like to explain it, but it would be against the law."

Friday July 20, 2012