Saturday 15 December, 2018

'Recent changes aimed at strengthening Scotia Jamaica’s performance'

Scotia Group Jamaica CEO David Noel said, “Part of our strategy is ensuring that we are laser focused on adding value in the core areas and markets like Jamaica".

Scotia Group Jamaica CEO David Noel said, “Part of our strategy is ensuring that we are laser focused on adding value in the core areas and markets like Jamaica".

President and CEO Scotia Group Jamaica, David Noel, has moved to assure that the changes taking place in the bank’s insurance portfolio and the eastern Caribbean operations are aimed at strengthening the performance of core markets like Jamaica.

When asked by Loop News’ Shamille Scott, whether the changes would alter the structure of the bank in any significant or strategic way, Noel said the changes have in fact been taking place over the past 18 months.

“What you’re seeing is that a larger percentage of our staff will be focused on providing advice to our customers, providing solutions to our customers and serving our customers’ needs,” he said.

“We really want to become a more customer-centric organisation so you are going to see more focus in those areas,” Noel said as he addressed the developments and the bank’s commitment to Jamaica.

“We will either discontinue or sell some aspects of our business (as with the microfinance portfolio) so we can focus on our retail banking business, our corporate and commercial banking business, our investment management business and our insurance distribution business,” Noel added.

New partnership with Sagicor

Scotia Group Jamaica and Sagicor Financial Corporation last week announced that they will enter into a 20-year distribution agreement through which an enhanced suite of market-leading insurance products and solutions, underwritten by Sagicor, will be offered to Scotiabank customers in Jamaica. While In November 2017 the bank sold its microfinance business in Jamaica to Lasco Financial Services.

As part of this partnership, Scotiabank Jamaica has agreed to sell its insurance subsidiary: Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance Company to Sagicor. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Noel said the agreement/partnership with Sagicor will see Scotia distributing a wide range of insurance products and solutions that will be underwritten by Sagicor through Scotia’s sales channels, including its large network of banks.

 

Commenting further on the move Noel noted that although Scotia has a very strong life insurance company, it does not have the expertise that Sagicor has in the insurance business which spans 125 years. Therefore, its insurance offerings were limited.

The partnership will, therefore, see a broader range of products and solutions being offered by agents in a new sales entity that will be created.

“What this partnership will allow us to do is focus on what we’re good at; providing advice to our clients, interacting with our wide range of clients to make them better off; and providing those solutions to our clients but with a wider range of products and services that can meet our customers’ needs,” Noel said.

Opportunities for Scotia Life employees

The CEO stressed that there will be more than enough opportunities for Scotia Life employees who want to continue with the group.

With the creation of the news sales entity, Noel said some current Scotia staff will be absorbed, while others will likely move over to Sagicor “which is taking over a portfolio that needs to be serviced and administered.”

“We don’t expect any material job losses at this time,” he added.

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As it relates to the development in the Eastern Caribbean, Noel said this move will allow the bank to focus on a core market in the Caribbean which includes its Jamaican business.

On Tuesday, the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Scotiabank's banking operations in nine Caribbean countries.

A RFHL statement said that the banks being acquired are located in Guyana, St Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Noel, who is also Senior Vice President and Head of Scotia’s Caribbean Central and North operations said, “Part of our strategy is ensuring that we are laser focused on adding value in the core areas and in core markets where we believe we can deliver the most value to our customers and that are aligned to our long-term strategy.”

Scotiabank’s current focus locally is on rolling out new and varied financial products and services. These include the announced $400 million investment that will see significant upgrading work at its Scotia Centre headquarters in downtown Kingston.

"So we’re committed to Jamaica, we’re continuing to make significant investments in Jamaica and we’ll continue to do so, so that we can take advantage of the growth that’s happening in the Jamaican economy,” Noel told Loop News.

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