VM Investments Limited had a year of expansion in 2021 as it began its emergence from the pandemic, according to Rezworth Burchenson, CEO of the wealth-building arm of the VM Group. Burchenson, in delivering his presentation at the company’s Annual General Meeting yesterday, said that many wins were achieved last year that align with the business’ long-term strategic goals.
“In 2018, we sat down as a leadership team and considered the future of the business. We agreed on who we want to be by 2028. You will see that our efforts in 2021 are taking us in the direction of these long-term goals,” he said.
Among the business’ 2028 targets are, to become the place to work for high performers; to be the number one fund manager; to be number one in customer service; and to achieve overseas expansion in the Caribbean, Latin America and Central America.
Burchenson explained that key achievements in 2021 are stepping stones to these and other long-term goals. Included among the 2021 achievements that the CEO outlined in his delivery at the virtual AGM are: a 30 per cent increase in net income, which moved from $434 million to $563 million; revenue growth of 7.89 per cent; and off-balance sheet assets under management growth of 5.75 per cent.
The CEO emphasised that that was a commendable performance given negligible returns in local large cap equities and emerging market global bonds.
Growth in VMIL’s assets under management was driven by its unit trust portfolio, with the flagship VM Wealth Unit Trust Classic Property Portfolio recording an impressive, best-in-market return of 10.79 per cent.
Additionally, VMIL made significant progress along its digitisation journey with the launch of its IPO platform. The CEO also noted that there has been great reaction to news that the business is expanding its regional footprint via a successful negotiation and signed agreement to acquire 100 per cent of Republic Funds (Barbados) Inc from Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited. He noted that work continues to further this transaction to conclusion.
Moving Boldly Forward
Burchenson said that VMIL receiving an investment grade credit rating from Caribbean Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCris), was a meaningful achievement that sets the company up for a strong, stable future. The CariBBB- rating was based on VMIL’s growing presence as a competitive player in the local financial sector. The rating has already allowed the business to raise additional debt capital of $2.9 billion – funds which have been used to accelerate lending, and to improve underwriting capabilities for corporate finance transactions.
The CEO, while acknowledging that the business’ first quarter 2022 results were disappointing, said he remained fully optimistic about the year ahead.
“The plan is in place. The strategy is in place, and I look forward to what’s to come in 2022,” he said.