JAM | Mar 12, 2023

BOJ issues ‘No Objection’ letter to allow Cornerstone reorganisation

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Barita/Cornerstone can form commercial bank

The Bank of Jamaica in downtown Kingston.

It’s all sunshine and blue skies for Barita and investment vehicle Cornerstone today.

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has issued a letter stating it has no objection to the Group undergoing a reorganisation exercise.

The reorganisation of the Cornerstone Group comes on the insistence of Sections 69 and 70 of the Banking Services Act 2014 which requires every group of companies containing a deposit taking institution (DTI) to hold all regulated entities under one financial holding company to enable consolidated supervision of the BOJ.


There were regional concerns around the speed at which Cornerstone/Barita was growing but this BOJ letter should go a long way in allaying fears.

The Cornerstone Group owns both Cornerstone Trust & Merchant Bank (CTMB), which is a DTI together with Barita Investments Limited, and Barita Unit Trusts Management Company Limited.

Cornerstone Financial Holdings Limited (Barbados) owns 75 per cent of Barita while Cornerstone United Holdings Jamaica Limited owns 100 per cent of CTMB.

The Banking Services Act requires the reorganisation of the Group to consolidate the ownership of all regulated entities under a financial holding company.

Over the last two years, Cornerstone and Barita have been working assiduously to ensure its entities meet a rigorous due diligence process and that its capital adequacy, liquidity, credit risk, governance, financial statements pass muster.

Richard Byles (

This letter from the BOJ would confirm this.

It is the first major declaration on a financial institution since it has taken on a “twin peaks” approach to the regulation of Jamaica’s financial institutions in light of the Stocks & Securities Limited debacle.

Our Today has seen the letter from BOJ Governor Richard Byles. It gives its blessing to the reorganisation of Cornerstone on the condition that the off-balance sheet vehicles be consolidated into the financial group. This will now take place together with the proposed restructuring.

This now opens the way for its merchant bank to transform to a commercial bank and an application for a commercial banking licence is expected shortly to follow the approval of the reorganisation of Cornerstone.

Paul Simpson, founder of regional investment house Cornerstone.

Post restructuring of the Cornerstone Group both Barita and CTMB will be owned 100 per cent by a financial holding company called Cornerstone Financial Group Limited.

Paul Simpson, founder and CEO of the Cornerstone Financial Group, said: “The vision for our Group was always to provide frictionless integrated banking, investment banking, infrastructure and real estate investments in building Jamaica first and the wider Caribbean at large. Even before final implementation of the BSA, it was clear to me and the initial shareholders of our Group all the way back to October 2013, that in order to fulfil our business objectives, it would be critical for our Group to be well positioned through our corporate structure to fairly seamlessly enable, at a future date, the consolidation of the ownership of our bank and all other regulated entities under one financial holding company.

“The other initial shareholders and I, who would have commenced this journey some 10 years ago, are extremely proud to acknowledge the fact that we are one step closer to having significant impact in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean and the Americas.

“As a key enabler to effecting the future consolidation of our Group in accordance with the law, the initial shareholders of our Group ensured that the requirement for the shareholding and the shareholders of CFHL and CUHJ to be mirrored at all times, was enshrined in the articles of incorporation of CUHJ. This has always been a key ethos to ensure that no shareholder who initially placed their faith and confidence in us in 2013 is left behind.”

Jason Chambers, Group CIO.

Group CIO Jason Chambers added: “Cornerstone is in significantly advanced talks with global partners for infrastructure and real estate developments, who will provide up-front cash injection as capital towards funding project development vehicles thereby immediately impacting the cash flow profile of the assets. The Cornerstone Group, in conjunction with its strategic partners will enable a structured, phased development of the property holding company over the next several months to years which provides line of sight to significant cash flows and sustainable value creation for shareholders, the wider community and Jamaica.”

Our Today has corroborated that Cornerstone is working together with one of the world’s largest real estate development companies, worth billions, to make significant investments in Jamaica. It will make major cash injections as well as bring high-end expertise particularly with pre-client sales. The company, which can be seen addressing real estate development on CNBC, has funds under management exceeding US$120 billion.

Mark Myers, chairman of CUHJ and Barita.

Mark Myers, chairman of CUHJ and Barita, concluded: “The BOJ’s ‘No Objection’ letter is made possible by the hard work of our boards, Paul Simpson and the executive team. In speaking for myself as chairman and on behalf of the boards across the various groups, I can say that Paul Simpson, Jason Chambers and the team have managed the business in a safe and sound way with the highest levels of prudence, integrity, competence and foresight which have formed the bedrock of our Group and redounded to our success over the last several years.

“The Board has deliberately established best practices as it relates to governance including independence of our audit, compliance and risk management functions. I am truly happy to be working with this esteemed team.”


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