The decision that sees Chairman of NCB Group Michael Lee Chin step away for three months as a director and the sale of another of his assets has ignited much speculation.
Can he continue to pass fit and proper at the Bank of Jamaica? Did he once net US$20 million a year from his dividends and now sees that sum drying up as NCB shares nose dive? Is he over-leveraged necessitating the divestment of assets? Why isn’t NCB paying dividends and why is it so hung up on retained earnings?
Rumour has it yet nothing substantive has been confirmed other than Lee Chin is now on hiatus from NCB and intends to return to head the banking house he acquired over twenty years ago.
NCB took the opportunity to lend a degree of clarity and issued a statement which can be found below:
“We understand that there may be questions regarding the recent financial transactions of Michael Lee-Chin, and his associated entities, which involve the sale of a small portion of his NCB Financial Group Limited (NCBFG) shares and the liquidation of certain personal assets.
The shares sold account for less than one per cent of the total outstanding NCBFG shares.
Our understanding is that these actions are driven by his diverse investment objectives, some of which he has publicly shared, and are personal. They do not have an impact on NCBFG or its strategic direction.
Mr Lee-Chin continues to maintain confidence in NCBFG, remaining our majority shareholder and expressing his commitment to maintaining this status.
The NCB Group remains strong and secure. Our consistent compliance with all regulatory capital standards demonstrates this. These facts, coupled with our ongoing profitability, exhibit the resilience of our business model amidst economic challenges.
We understand the importance of dividends to our shareholders. Our commitment remains strong to reinstate dividends at the earliest opportunity, in accordance with our prudent financial management and capital retention strategy. We are dedicated to balancing shareholder returns with the long-term financial stability of our institution, as this is in the best interest of all stakeholders.
Transparency remains a core business principle and we will continue to provide timely updates to stakeholders.”