Accountants and private equity consultants partner to capture capital markets


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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When two former Digicel CEOs and a former CEO of the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union's mobile banking platform partner with an international accounting franchise and a Caribbean-based private equity firm, the market takes notice. And so 400 guests at the soft launch of the refreshed Baker Tilly Tax and Advisory Services (BTAS) were treated to a vision that would not only capture financial technology but also bring companies to the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) through initial public offerings.

With background in the credit union's push for mobile money, Heston Hutton, CEO of the local franchise of BTAS, encourages his clients “not to consider BTAS as a consultancy company, but one which is vested in the relationship it has with its clients to deliver value that is relevant”.

He added: “Recognising we cannot be great at everything, we have assembled a team of practitioners with a wealth of experience and track record; talent spanning telecoms, banking, IT, business transformation/logistics and taxation.”

The chief partners are Wayne Strachan and Emile Lafayette, who initiated the Baker Tilly franchise in Jamaica in 2014 and have remained lead directors. The company widened its governance structure and skill sets last November by adding Jamaica Olympic Association CEO Ryan Foster as well as Hutton to the board of directors.

Also joining the leadership team as associates are well-known individuals with significant experience in regional business, Barry O'Brien and Ciaran Burke, both former CEOs of mobile giants Digicel and managing partners of Williams Caribbean Capital.

Based in Barbados, Williams Caribbean Capital's strategy is to create new value and diversification for Williams Industries by identifying and securing private equity positions in small, medium and large companies throughout the region. These companies should have a strong business model and potential for improved levels of growth, with the critical aspect of leveraging the team's operational management expertise to improve the trading position of the businesses into which it invests to maximise returns.

During the reception, Foster told the august gathering: “As a director of Baker Tilly Tax and Advisory Services, one of the main goals and objectives is value creation for all stakeholders. We are committed to expanding the value proposition of our clients to provide solutions to ensure that all facets of their business are profitable.”

Foster added: “We want to look at areas such as financial technology, business process re-engineering, inventory management, logistics and cost controls. Ultimately we would love to bring some of our clients to IPO status. The board and management are not only committed to achieving this, but have the requisite skills and experience to do so.”

Hutton said the business verticals will be specific to several areas, namely:

• Growth/Exit strategy – through its relationship with William Caribbean Capital, provide the requisite support to assist organisations to raise capital or realise an exit strategy;

• Business transformation – to include leveraging technology to deliver financial services – FinTech (financial technology);

• Logistic management – deep-dive assessment of internal operations to optimise resources and improve efficiencies.

“BTAS has also forged a strategic relationship with partner firms across the world to ensure the timely adoption of new business practices; taking advantage of the BakerTilly International presence in over 147 countries, and a network of over 30,000 professionals worldwide,” said Hutton.

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