Having officially turned 45 years old today September 7, 2022, Barita Investments Limited kicked off celebrations on the day with a bell ringing ceremony at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE). The ceremony featured remarks from Barita Interim Chief Executive Officer Dane Brodber, Barita Director Jason Chambers, CEO of Cornerstone Trust and Merchant Bank Limited, Barbara Hume and JSE Managing Director, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest.
Mr. Brodber shared the timeline of Barita’s progress from its beginnings in 1977 through Cornerstone’s acquisition in 2018 and subsequent transformational growth to date; noting the legacy of Rita Humphries-Lewin and her leadership and pioneering work in the JSE, Barita, and the Barita Education Foundation. Brodber noted Barita’s significant strides in being not only the future of money but also financial gamechangers. He thanked Barita’s customers, shareholders, Board and various stakeholders for their support to date; and reiterated that despite having achieved success and a stellar reputation in the investment and brokerage industry, Barita will continue to execute on defining the future of financial services and remains committed to exceeding the expectations of stakeholders including its clientele.
During his address, Mr. Chambers noted that Barita remains committed to their mission of changing the lives of their key stakeholders through democratizing the access of ordinary Jamaican and Caribbean people to wealth. He stated, “We expect to achieve this by transforming the investing paradigm across the industry, elevating client experiences through innovation, and delivering compelling investment options and purposeful customer engagement.” In closing, he recognized the JSE under the leadership of Dr. Marlene Street-Forrest for continuing to push the boundaries to establish new frontiers thus re-defining the status quo. He reinforced the importance of Barita’s and the JSE’s long standing positive relationship as there is a natural alignment of minds with respect to their ethos and drive for innovation and engendering transformative growth.
For her part, Dr. Street Forrest commended Barita on its significant body of achievement during its four-and-a-half-decade long existence.
Ms. Hume expressed optimism about the future of Barita and noted that Cornerstone is proud of positive strides made by the company during its entire illustrious 45 years in existence and major transformational gains made since Cornerstone became a majority shareholder of Barita. Mrs. Hume also expressed optimism about the future of the 53 year old CTMB; as with Barita they execute on the mission to democratize wealth and financial services.
Barita Investments is owned by the Cornerstone Group which was founded and is led by prominent Jamaican businessman, Paul Simpson. Cornerstone acquired majority shares in the Barita in 2018. Barita is the brainchild of Rita Humphries-Lewin who, prior to retirement, distinguished herself at the forefront of Jamaica’s stockbroking industry for several decades. As the first female trader on the JSE and in the region, Mrs. Humphries-Lewin spearheaded the oldest stockbroking company in Jamaica which commenced operations with $10,000 in capital.
Barita is today a public company with its head office located in New Kingston and branches in Mandeville and Montego Bay. Barita has a suite of products which includes stockbroking, fixed-income trading, foreign-exchange trading, portfolio management and investment banking.
When Mrs. Humphries-Lewin took the company public in 2010, Barita’s shares were initially listed at $2.50 per share. Subsequent to the business luminary divesting her majority stake to Cornerstone Investment Holdings Limited, which is now Cornerstone Financial Holdings Limited, Barita’s shares traded at $9 per share.
Barita continues to be a strong force in the financial sector. The entity’s latest unaudited results as at June 30 this year featured total assets of $109.9 billion and net profits of $3.8 billion with a return on average equity of 14.2 percent.
During the past four years, Barita has bolstered its capital base to be among the strongest in the industry, arranged the largest Junior Market Additional Public Offering (APO). The APO was successfully carried out during the peak of uncertainty generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Barita also recently led the cross-listing of Massy Holdings Limited on the JSE, which is the largest cross-listing ever on the stock exchange.
Barita has also this year facilitated the purchase of three United States-based companies by a Jamaican firm and has cultivated an expanding and impressive portfolio of prized real estate assets.
Via the Barita Foundation, Barita has also placed a strong emphasis on giving back which is also a large part of its core modus operandi. The Foundation’s mission is to contribute to national development goals by supporting partnerships in education, youth, entrepreneurship and health. This past year, Barita has contributed over 32 million dollars to various worthy causes. As it celebrates and looks beyond its 45th anniversary, Barita remains committed to continuing to play its part in the wholistic development of individuals and communities.
On this day, September 7, 2022, Barita remains strong and well on its way to changing the game and moving the financial revolution forward.