Jamaican-Canadian Billionaire to Take Majority Share of Bermuda’s Clarien Bank Parent Firm

Michael Lee-Chin now has a major stake in Clarien

Michael Lee-Chin, president and chair of Portland Holdings group of companies, which is based in Canada and includes NCB Financial Group Ltd. (NCB) and Portland Private Equity (PPE), is prepared to take a majority stake in the parent company of Clarien Bank in Bermuda. If the transaction receives approval from Bermuda’s Minister of Finance, Premier David Burt, under the Companies Act of 1981, it will be the third time in a four-year period that the majority share of the bank has been placed in new hands. The transaction has already been approved by the Bank of Jamaica, and there has been no objection from the Bermuda Monetary Authority. While there are no details of the financial arrangements, Clarien stated that it plans to retain its branding and will continue its commitment to its workers and clients in Bermuda. Once the transaction is completed, Clarien’s previously sole shareholder, ClarienEdmund Gibbons Ltd., will keep 31.98 percent of its ownership, and the remaining 17.92 percent will be held by monies managed by Portland Private Equity. The director of Clarien Bank, James Gibbons, believes its partnership with NCB will result in stronger commercial connections with two well-respected institutions and provide more opportunities for Clarien. Portland Private Equity and Edmund Gibbons Ltd. put US$12.6 million into Clarien Bank in 2016. Lee-Chin made a visit to Bermuda in November 2017, making the keynote speech at a gala celebration of Bermuda’s ruling Progressive Labor Party (PLP).

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Stephanie Korney