Signia soars

barbadian financial company records $4m. profit despite trying economic times

Despite the difficult economic times, one local financial company is reporting significant financial growth, and even plans to expand.

Chief Executive Officer of Signia Financial Group Incorporated, Paul Ashby told a press briefing yesterday morning at its Carlisle House, Hincks Street Bridgetown office, the company had earned a before-tax profit of $4.1 million for the financial year ended December 2012.

Ashby said this compares to $4.8 million for the 15 month period in 2011.

“The company continues to be well capitalised, reflecting a capital adequacy ratio of 15.76 per cent, well above the required capital adequacy ratio of eight per cent,” he reported.†

“The strategic position of the company allows us to pursue opportunities in the future such as local expansion as with our new Haggatt Hall location, an possibly even regional expansion,” added the executive.

Reasons for growth

Asby cited a number of reasons for his company’s favourable position at a time when other businesses and the local economy, were experiencing little or no growth. He pointed to prudent management, good credit risks in the management of its lending to customers, excellent customer service, committed staff and the fact that the institution’s directorate included former central bank governors and was owned by entities such as Cave Shepherd and Grace Kennedy.

He disclosed that Signia, whose “bread and butter” was in loans for vehicles, would be diversifying in order to remain competitive, especially in the current economic environment.

“We intend to assist in national development through the provision of loans in areas such as renewable energy, as the country seeks ways to be energy independent,” stated the CEO.

He said even though the response to borrowing money for this sector has been slow, his company was confident “it is the new wave.”

Backing small businesses

“Where strong opportunities exist,” he continued, “we will finance small business initiatives, as this area is critical to our medium term goal and national development. †The demand for automobile financing remains strong, as customers continue to enjoy our competitive rates, excellent customer service and turnaround time.”†

He pointed out that youth and culture would also continue to benefit from his company’s assistance.

Ashby urged the “average” Barbadian to invest with them, noting that they have been getting a lot of young people seeking to borrow, but he preferred they invested.

The CEO also disclosed that his firm did not have to lay off any staff during the past year, and that in fact, it added, by making about four contact workers full-time employees. He promised that as its Haggatt Hall loans centre continued to grow, even more staff would be employed.

Chief Financial Officer, Damian Branford reported that there had been an increase in deposits during the year, mainly in its retail business. He suggested that it was because people were looking for secure investments, rather than placing their money in risky ventures.

The Signia executives acknowledged the current period of growth as significant, as it coincided with the company’s 10th anniversary, which will be observed from June 30 to December 31. (EJ)

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