Blue Mahoe Capital Partners Inc. is the Jamaican-founded private investment firm creating opportunities within the Caribbean for American investors who are anxious to get in on the action of the world’s best-performing stock exchange
VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / February 11, 2021 / James Bond famously burst onto the silver screen in 1962 as he embarked on an exhilarating adventure throughout Jamaica, sharing with viewers the world-renowned home of Bob Marley, Reggae music, and jerk chicken. As of late, the country is proving to offer more than cinematic entertainment and iconic artists. It has recently become known for its exemplary stock exchange, and investors are taking note. Yet, unlike the fictitious crusade of 007, investors are not looking for specters of the Cold War, but rather searching for diamonds that will last forever.
With Caribbean countries boasting emerging economies that have created wealth for a small set of investors, the promise of future returns is imminent. Yet investors are faced with the challenge of uncovering where to put their money when working with an unfamiliar market.
David Mullings is the man easing investor uncertainty.
As the founder, CEO, and Chairman of Blue Mahoe Capital, not only is Mullings taking advantage of investment opportunities within the Caribbean, he is also educating Americans on how they can get in on the action.
With Jamaica’s Stock Exchange being celebrated by Bloomberg as the world’s best-performing stock exchange in 2018 and the best performing stock exchange over the 5-year period from 2013 to 2018, besting Vietnam and the USA, investors are actively seeking a guide to help them navigate these lucrative waters.
Blue Mahoe Capital – the conception
Born to the expansive beaches of Jamaica where Ian Flemming wrote all his Bond books, David Mullings discovered his calling in life at the age of 15 when he graduated from high school. He knew that his purpose was to become a positive role model for the youth of not only Jamaica but of the world.
Based on this realization, Mullings put together a 15-year life plan marked by 5-year milestones, followed by a 20-year plan to be created at age 30. The plan was designed to shape him into the man he wanted to look up to, and in doing so, become that man for others.
Fast forward to today, and not only has Mullings succeeded in fulfilling his 15-year road-map, but at age 40, he is halfway through the second plan focused on reshaping the future of the Caribbean and its people forever.
The idea to launch a private investment firm is one that began in 2014 when Mullings was asked by Marlene Street Forrest, the Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, to speak at their January conference. Her ask was simple: explain what it would take to get Overseas Jamaican investors, the “Jamaican Diaspora”, to invest their money back into Jamaica.
With roughly 3 million Jamaicans living overseas in the US, Canada, the UK, and beyond, and only some 2.7 million Jamaicans living in Jamaica, much of the country’s economy is being invested in foreign markets. Though there is an estimated $2 billion USD being sent back each year by Jamaican Diaspora, these remittances do not act the same as direct investments. This was an issue the Caribbean country knew needed to be changed.
At the time, Mullings was serving as the first Future Leaders Representative for the USA on the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board. Comprised of elected volunteers, the board advised the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica at semi-annual meetings with the Prime Minister of Jamaica. Given his experience on the current matter, Mullings believed he had a clear solution to share.
“If you do business in Jamaica then you know how hard it is to open a bank account, let alone an investment account. If you live outside of Jamaica, it’s EVEN MORE frustrating because you are used to things being much smoother and working much faster,” explained Mullings, referencing the number one roadblock overseas investors hit when looking to invest their money into public and private Jamaican companies.
Mullings knew that in order to attract financial interest, the process of investing had to be simplified, secure, and smooth, none of which it was at the time.
“In my opinion, there were five preconditions that needed to be addressed in order for it to work,” shared Mullings in regard to attracting foreign investors.
These five preconditions required an investment vehicle that was: led by the private sector instead of government bonds; run overseas by a native to the region who had experience with foreign finance and local finance; partnered with a local financial institution known and trusted by overseas Jamaicans; domiciled in the US, Canada or UK for securities law purposes; and lastly, publicly-traded so that “it was accessible to the person with $100, not just the person with $100,000” as Mullings regularly puts it in his media appearances.
Having spent much of his career working in corporate finance in America and Jamaica, Mullings was well versed in the inner workings of both markets. His experience made him a trusted source of advice for a number of Jamaican CEOs, and a few years after he shared his thoughts on the issue of attracting investors, three of them concluded that he was the man to put the project into motion.
Michael Lee-Chin, a prominent Jamaican-Canadian Billionaire, was pivotal in pushing Mullings into his role as founder of Blue Mahoe Capital. “When you have a billionaire saying ‘You can do this and I will help!’ you quickly get rid of imposter syndrome and your self-confidence grows exponentially,” Mullings recalled with a chuckle.
David Mullings (left) with Michael Lee-Chin (right)
“Jamaica needs more David Mullings’ and I committed to help him achieve his vision because I believed in the plan that he outlined to me,” Lee-Chin commented. “David picked a great role model in Warren Buffett, got the recipe and he wasn’t changing the recipe. He understood my laws of wealth creation and was always focused on providing access for a wider group of people. Something I have been preaching for decades.”
Armed with the support of a coach who had done it before, Mullings took on the project of launching Blue Mahoe Capital in August 2019. He then raised US$250,000 from his friends and family in 2020, following which he engaged a New York-based investment bank in order to pursue a private placement, leading to an IPO.
A bright future ahead
“Jamaica will become the Singapore of the Western Hemisphere,” stated Mullings in his first Bloomberg interview. “Much like Singapore, it was once a British colony, has a British legal system, has a vast natural harbor that can accept Post-Panamax ships, is in the middle of major shipping lanes, and it is next door to a massive market (the US).”
This prediction, though bold, is one Mullings and his team at Blue Mahoe Capital confidently stand behind. “There is a difference between perception and reality when it comes to investing in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, but the presence of inefficiencies, combined with a lack of equity capital flowing in, creates more opportunity for outsized growth. Otherwise, you have to pay for perfection” said Lee-Chin.
Given the recent financial success the country has experienced after successfully completing an IMF agreement, the Debt-to-GDP ratio has gone down from above 145% to below 97%. Unlike Greece and Argentina, this figure continues to decline. With a bi-partisan commitment to modernize the economy, it is no question that it is only a matter of time until Jamaica joins the ranks of other global economic powerhouses.
But how is Mullings going to facilitate this growth?
The founder, entrepreneur, and crusader is committed to sharing his vision for the country through finance, education, and inspiration, targeting everyday audiences looking to be part of the growth.
Financial Education: Mind on my money and money on my mind
Faced with the seemingly impossible task of convincing overseas investors to reallocate their funds into the hands of a firm still in its infancy, Mullings began his mission through the act of educating.
“The most important thing is education,” he shared, “we are not taught enough about how to create wealth and identify opportunity so Jamaica and the Caribbean get overlooked because of the perception that the region is too small.” With this priority in mind, Mullings began by putting together educational material for both foreign and local audiences. The material addressed the opportunities available within the Caribbean economy and how to get in on the action.
“If we can make it understandable and share the lessons openly, people are more likely to listen. We are giving away the knowledge, all we need is for them to want to learn,” remarked Mullings.
But, how do you make a new audience listen to what you have to say?
By reaching people where they already are and showing them a vision for the future.
Having owned and operated a digital marketing agency and a production company earlier on in his career, Mullings is no stranger to the power of media and has utilized it in his education process.
“People don’t see Jamaica the way I see it,” he commented. “I want to show them what this country looks like through my eyes, I want my children and their children to know the Jamaica that I know. Through social media, I get the opportunity to show people what this country not just could, but WILL be.”
With an audience transfixed by the promise of Jamaica’s future, Mullings then educates them on how they too can be a part of shaping it.
And it’s working.
The past seven years have seen renewed sense of purpose in Jamaica with the country being a global case study for the successful execution of an IMF agreement. A variety of sectors across the board, including finance, infrastructure, real estate, and tourism, experienced unprecedented growth and the present government has continued to show a commitment to growing the economy while widening the industries and improving in the Doing Business Index rankings.
Mullings’ work is helping investors to see that the country is worthy of their dollars, and Blue Mahoe Capital is the firm building a portfolio with the highest potential for great returns given their objective to seek strong, risk-adjusted, and absolute returns via long-term capital appreciation. With a growing portfolio of shares in high-quality public and private companies boasting consistent earning power, capable management, and growth potential, Blue Mahoe Capital is striving to ensure the safety of their investors’ dollars based on the lessons of Warren Buffett.
Today, Mullings and his team operate primarily out of their Miami head office in Brickell, with two full-time staff members in Jamaica and a majority Jamaican staff in the USA. The firm maintains a diverse team of employees, ranging from a 22-year old analyst in Jamaica to a 57-year-old corporate controller, proving that a mixed mindset creates the best results. Three of the team members are University of Miami graduates as is the latest addition who will be joining the team shortly. With an 80% female team and 6 out of 8 board members being minorities, 2 of whom are female, the company is actively demonstrating its position in favor of societal progression.
Mullings himself is very connected to his alma mater after graduating at age 19 from The U with his Bachelor of Science degree and then returning after a stint in Jamaica to complete his MBA at the age of 22, making him one of their youngest ever graduates. His father and younger brother are also graduates of The U, making them one of the few Black Legacy families.
As we delve into another year that holds only the promise of the unknown, it is safe to say Jamaica is offering investors certainty of opportunities, and Blue Mahoe Capital is dedicated to being the firm guiding those in the know towards a wealth of untapped potential. Mullings is committed to ensuring that the investment community will be shaken, not stirred.
Courtney James, Editor
SOURCE: Blue Mahoe Capital
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