He is easily, one of the most admired and talked about Business Leaders In The Caribbean Today. Curiously However, he is also miscast, by his detractors who cast him as a Corporate raider when the truth is, he is anything but, as what he is, is a shrewd businessman with sharp business acumen and a nose for spotting and or sniffing out deals that enhances the wealth and financial well being, for those whom he and his company, manage investment portfolios. In fact, he has been so successful to date, this success has made him and his team, the envy of the Investment community.
He Is Chris Berry, the Company is Mayberry Investments Limited, Dollar-For-Dollar, The Caribbean’s leading Investment Conglomerate. Founded in 1985, by the late Maurice Berry, and his two sons its operational core, along with family friend Vernon Mendez, a former GM of Stock Exchange, who joined Mayberry as its General Manager, with son Mark serving as the Company’s Secretary, and the other family members serving as Company Directors. Today, Mayberry is regarded as one of the Giants of the Financial Services Industry.
It’s Executive Chairman, Chris Berry At 6’ 4”, Quite A towering, imposing figure, his booming voice, reeks of the confidence gained from being at the top of his game, and is matched by a swagger and purposeful stride that says a man of purpose. A Corporate Legend, Chris Berry, Is Somewhat Of A contradiction in that he really prefers to shun the profile and spotlight, his legendary status has earned him as Head of, Mayberry Investments Limited, to indulge in shared family pursuits, or in upping the ante, of the Company’s investment portfolios.
Truth be told, both brothers, Chris and Mark, are somewhat enigmatic, in that they both are media shy, and tend to avoid social publicity, but those who know them well, describe them both as fiercely loyal, competitive, and to their Credit, are honest brokers, guided by old world principles instilled by their parents, Maurice and Doris Berry; but especially the tutelage of their late Father who was a stickler for doing the right thing. And in a world, dominated by cut-throats where a man’s word can no longer be considered his bond, The Berry Brothers and Mayberry Investments Limited, are viewed by admirers and competitors alike, as pillars of the investment community, bonded by their words, and commitment, traits that have set them and the business apart from the Charlatans and posers, who are always on the hustle, to make a quick buck, without care, as to whose or what expense.
The Berrys, are regarded as Bastions of probity, as they are never seen as showboating, or as socially insecure nouveau riche players, craving the spotlight and or hamming it up, for social ratings. They are both regarded as committed, hard-working, stable, men of principle, whose words are bankable and who let their work do the talking for them, as against profiling.
To be sure, Mayberry is one of the most successful and talked about Investment Firms, in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. And understandably so, as there’s is the story of phenomenal success, and with that success, the added responsibility of public probity; and social responsibility. A responsibility that has seen the Mayberry Group funding many charitable causes, including bursaries, scholarships, and educational and recreational developmental programs for many. Naturally with a Company as successful as theirs’ comes a certain amount of Financial Clout, personal wealth, and phenomenal expectations.
And so, when the name Chris Berry, is mentioned in certain social and or financial power circles. It is usually in hushed tones, and those doing the talking will mention his private jet, his multimillion-dollar yacht, and his collection of high-end motor vehicles, as if to underline his status as a seriously wealthy man, as against being a mere dilettante.
In fact, the first time I heard the name, Chris Berry, It was being discussed over cocktails, and the speaker, a fussy socialite, was informing her audience that Berry Had reportedly just bought Marge Geddes House and property over there, in the coveted Jacks Hill neighbourhood, for the princely sum of One Million US Dollars… and this was back in the day when A Million US Dollars, Was considered a fortune globally. But coupe de gras, according to the speaker, was not that he had bought the house for such a hefty sum, but that he intended to knock it down and build himself a new home, from the ground up!!!
Now, that got everyone’s attention. As indeed, Marge Geddes, a widowed heiress, was no financial slouch. And her house was regarded as one fine piece of Real Estate…and so, Berry acquiring it to knock it all down, had everyone listening in, transfixed and immobile as they silently did the calculations such an undertaking would cost, as well as to the depth of his pockets, to be able to facilitate this kind of enterprise.
Well, that was over a decade ago, today, if anything, Maurice Berry founded Mayberry, which is far more successful now, which means, if Chris Berry was affluential then, he’s far more capable now of executing any economic endeavor, he sets his sights to. As the family business has been growing, leaps and bounds, outpacing its contemporaries; its Management structure, is so configured, it oversees an active portfolio of prized investment holdings that includes the coveted Supreme Ventures Limited. Regarded by many as a cash cow, so much so, that some look on, without factoring in the dynamism and managerial framework of the Mayberry Team, which drives its performance, spurring a rush by others to seek to acquire Lottery Licenses, ostensibly, to cash in on the lottery bonanza. The miscalculation here is, seemingly, Supreme Ventures is the engine driving Mayberry’s Success. So, such an acquisition by others would also see them rolling in the ‘dough’.
Well, Let us Look At Mayberry Investments And Its Investment Portfolios, for guidance and a better understanding of the Company that is on the tongue of every investment Banker, Investor, and young business, dreaming of making it big, culminating with Listing On the Stock Exchange…
In 1985, Maurice Berry, then a Deputy Governor at the Bank of Jamaica, in charge of Foreign Exchange, After
careful studies, analysis, and research, decided he would throw in the towel as a bureaucrat, for the challenges of an entrepreneur, with the specific task of creating Wealth, not just for himself, but for those whose investments he would be seeking to be the guardian of. At The time, Chris, his eldest son had completed his Engineering studies, overseas, and had just returned home, so he and his brother, Mark Along with Erwin Angus, (who joined the Company after the departure of Vernon Mendez). Became the Company’s core.
From The very Get-go, the vision driving Maurice Berry was family-centric, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Name Of The Company He Founded “Mayberry”. In Essence, Mayberry Investments, Was named in Honour of his devoted wife, whose actual Name is Doris May Berry, ergo Mayberry Investments Limited.
That Was over 3-decades ago, In 1993, Chris Berry was named the new Chairman, following the passing of, his Father, Maurice Berry, by his Mother, brother Mark, and other directors, as successor to his late Father, to lead the company, and this saw the Second Instalment of the Company’s Management Troika, the model used by the founding Chairman, with the young and assertive Chris Berry, the driving force, spearheading the company’s inroad into the traditionally staid and introspective Investment Cabal.
Some insiders say, prior to Mayberry’s arrival on the scene, and particularly Chris Berry’s ‘induction’ and subsequent baptism, the business of stocks and the Stockmarket, was regarded as the business of fuddy-duddies, dominated by bespeckled middleaged men, with the noticeable exception being Rita Humphries, and that this particular industry, operated like an old-boys club, where membership was akin to membership in an exclusive New England Membership Club, where one did not apply to become a member as that was fraught with all kinds of social handicaps, so one waited to be invited to join…But the problem was, invitations never went out to prospective new members, and even if that was done, by the beginning of the 80s, the line of prospective members, waiting to be ‘invited to join’, was now so long, it had stretched around the Caribbean, as it was in the Mid-80s that Jamaica started establishing its bona fides as the Commercial and Investment Centres of the region.
To be sure, places like Cayman and even St Lucia were carving out their own little niche as off-shore tax havens. But it was said at the time by one economist that people with serious money did not bank in the Caribbean, they were more likely to invest.
So while some were exploring the potential benefits of taking Jamaica down the off-shore tax route, the innovative and smart were exploring the Options of maximizing the potential benefits from national and regional investments. And this was where Maurice Berry had seen the opening and had positioned Mayberry, to carve out its own niche.
Well, having been a trusted Civil Servant of many decades, with an iron-clad reputation for straight-shooting and honesty, Maurice Berry’s foray into investment services, was met with long implacable stares of mocking disapproval by many; a wall of impenetrability by some, and with grudging admiration and approval by others and that grudging admiration and approval gained him and his family a foothold, that today has become a Pillar of the Investment Community!
To this day, unlike many other investment Firms, Mayberry Investments Limited does not Advertise itself, its services, and or subsidiaries in the traditional way. The unspoken model here, is that just like Rolls Royce does not advertise, Mayberry Investments, does not advertise to attract business, after all, it’s not comfort food or merchandise, designed to provide instant gratification, as Investment is not to be taken lightly and should be entered into only after serious considerations and analysis, to ensure that the proposed investment to be undertaken, is aligned to the goals and objectives of the investor.
The Mayberry formula is the tried and tested model of first satisfying the existing client base, and doing so with such dispatch, the base commends its services to others, and so, expands its Client pool.
A task attained, as attested to by some insiders, by demystifying the language of investment, and the investment itself. Over the years, Mayberry has served as its own driver in this respect, and with its frontline officers being walking testaments to the success of the brand, Coupled with the fact that the techno-savvy generation has been searching for smarter ways to earn, instead of the traditional 9-5 model, the affluential Chris Berry, has been one Of Mayberry’s best Brand Ambassadors!
The other two leading Brand Ambassadors are Chief Operating Officer, Gary Peart and, its defacto historian, Mark Berry.
Mark Berry, has been the Company’s Secretary, from its very beginning, the historian and librarian of sorts, who is the Terrier of the pack. And is that nexus that binds Mayberry, to its past, with its eyes on the future, whilst keeping it firmly planted in its foundation of Service Above and beyond the Ordinary, as its ultimate operational mantra and raison d’etre. But More Importantly, sometimes when there’s an executive decision to be made and Chris Berry and Gary Peart are on Opposing sides of the same argument, it is Mark Berry, who casts the tie-breaker.
And then there’s Gary Peart, Mayberry’s COO, Peart joined Mayberry Investments just over a decade ago, and since joining the Company, the operational Troika, that was Maurice Berry’s Operational model, was revived, providing dynamism and verve, that reset the Company’s operations, resulting in the Company growing exponentially as it reaps the benefits of its founding model.
Now, Gary Peart, came to Mayberry from Grace Kennedy, as a highly respected financial and Investment advisor, whose reputation had made him the preferred pick of corporate headhunters, as one of the shining stars in the Financial Service Sector; resulting in a number of Public and Private sector entities, availing themselves of his considerable managerial skills, know-how, and talent, in advisory/consultative capacities. And being no poodle, but a highly regarded powerhouse of knowledge, with the personality of a mastiff, Peart emerged as one of the go-to men of the Financial sector. So he and Mayberry, were a natural fit. Not surprisingly, He is also whispered to be one of the Wealthiest men of his age. A wealth he amassed by following the advice others recruit him for.
It is this dynamic triumvirate of young entrepreneurial minds that have been guiding the fortunes of Mayberry Investments Limited, and its impressive client base, for the last decade, making Millionaires of their clients and wealth for those having grown jaded and fed-up with the outdated 9-5 module, used for generations that only compounded poverty, instead of alleviating it. “Money’s no good unless it’s working for you”, a wealthy industrialist once opined. And yet another shared, “When you go to sleep, your money should be working for you, not sitting in a bank, or some other such institution, earning for those charged with keeping it for you, its owner”.
Curiously, however, any cursory inspection of the personalities of the headlining Trio of Mayberry Investments Limited would most likely dismiss the trio as lacking the perspicacity, killer instincts, and or raw talent, to have guaranteed the highly acclaimed success they have brought to Mayberry. And understandably so, as they are truly, not your textbook investment characters, save and accept the fact that they are indeed big dreamers and visionaries! Closer inspection, however, would reveal that indeed the three are more than just business partners or Boss(es) and Employee, but that they in fact operate at a higher level and could be described as ‘brothers’.at a spiritual level, bonded by the thrill of success and motivated by the desire to be the best at what they do.
In this respect, the trio is in fact operational partners, who perform in sync, with clearly defined roles, that complement each other; harnessed and deployed as necessary or required for the advancement of the Company, and its clients and works in the best interest of Mayberry and its Impressive portfolio.
Some People marry for show and stay married for that reason or because of the Children’. It is clear, that these three men, are family men and none of it, is for the show, as time spent with them will confirm the obvious, and that is: these men are deeply committed family men, who have found their life partners and remain committed to their spouses, for love and no other reason. Forget the cliche, ‘Happily Married”, these are not mere marriages, but partnerships of families, Wives Children, and extended families. That is interwoven and reaches way beyond keeping up appearances, cemented around core values, that transcend the boardroom. Indeed, it is an inspiration, joy even, to observe the interactions between these three men, their spouses, and their families, on a social level.
Not unexpectedly, The three are married to glamour mavens, but not ditzy fortune hunters as all three wives,
are career women, who were there from the beginning, and bring in their own bacon and eggs to the family pantries. We are talking strikingly beautiful, accomplished women, not detained by trivia and or the desire to put on a show, for the Joneses, and are definitely not eye candy, to accessorize the arms of their successful husbands, and it makes for a social dynamism that is both enviable and commendable.
Mark Berry is an almost shy and retiring, home-body; married to one of the nation’s finest beauties and best-
dresser, Jenny Berry, an entrepreneur and Mother of their three children; Whilst Gary Peart is very out-going, gregarious even, with a demonstrable zest for the finer things, collects Rare Scotch/Malts as an investment, married for two decades plus, to wife Cheryl Peart; they have a son, she enjoys interior decorating and culinary explorations, in her pastime. With both being great hosts.
Chris Berry has been described as a “Walking Encyclopedia”, hence the moniker (Guru Jammu), is the group’s raconteur,(A role he shares with Peart), Collects and enjoys fast cars, yachting, and fishing trips, Married his Teenage crush, Patricia Yap, Now Dr. Patricia Yapp Berry, a Scientist who specializes in dermatology, and is one of the region’s leading dermatologist, developing cures and treatments for acne and other dermatological conditions, with her own line of products for troubled skin and or general ‘beauty’ aides. It is said, it was she who caught the Garter, at Mark’s and Jenny’s Wedding, whilst her beau, was busy acting non-committal. And that was thirty-three, years ago.
Now Chris Berry’s role and personality is that of the sage, patriarchal even, and is known in Company circles as “Papa-Bear’. Now, the fact that their critics and competitors see them differently is par for the course and not a source of concern, and is of no moment, for the dynamic trio.
With, those who know them well, agreeing, that indeed, they have been the best thing to happen to the StockMarket, generationally, as they have been demystifying Stocks and the Stockmarket, in recent years, with a number of very successful IPO listings; their acquisitions, mergers, trading, and positioning, cementing their status as contemporary Icons in that they brought stock trading and the investment culture, into the millennial age, straight from the ‘Dark-ages’, when grey men in even grayer suits treated the Stockmarket and the stock-exchange as their own fiefdom, shrouded in mystery and purposely cloaked in a veil of ignorance, whose benefits and rewards were kept out of reach of the common man, for the benefit of ‘those in the know’!
Now those in the know represented a clique of the establishmentarian old guard class, resistant to change, and who pretty much regarded and treated with stock-trading and the Market and its business, not as the viable wealth-creating model, it has always been, but more like a privileged members club, whose membership, was reserved for the upper-echelons of snob-society and their cohorts, drawn from private social clubs, and or hereditary dynasties!
As Mayberry Investment Limited was the brainchild of Maurice Berry, whose remit was the creation of wealth as against seeking access to the ranks of the privileged, brothers, Chris, and Mark Berry partnered with Gary Peart, to further expand the dream and remit of its Founder, And it can be said without the fear of being contested, that the brothers have been fulfilling the wishes of their Father. And this is particularly a poignant achievement as in the early days when Maurice Berry, conceptualized and began making plans to Launch Mayberry Older son Chris, was overseas at college, and upon his return to Jamaica, was duty bound to his apprenticeship to the then ICD Group of Companies, in order to fulfill the obligations of his Scholarship. His apprenticeship served however, he along with brother Mark and their father Maurice, began purposing the company, laying its foundations, whilst anchoring it in the tempestuous financial period of the 1980s.
As the former Deputy Governor Of The Bank Of Jamaica, in charge of Exchange Control, Maurice Berry was no stranger to the volatility and intemperance of the investment climate of the period, but as visionaries do, when others bitch and complain, he became the change he wanted by becoming an agent of change, when he brought to fruition Mayberry Investments Limited, in July of 1985, as a vehicle for personal and community change.
And What A changemaker Mayberry has been!
Today, Mayberry’s revenue is over 30 billion Dollars Annually. Its Investment portfolio boasts a number of corporate Jamaica iconic brands, including Supreme Ventures Limited; (which is one of the single largest contributors to Charitable and Educational Causes, in the Island); CPJ; Cement Company; Lasco Finance; Derrion Trading; Jamaica Broilers; with investments holdings in the Cayman Islands, Grenada, and Guyana, and not resting on its Laurels, still on the hunt for market opportunities to expand, globally. With breaking news being the Company is all set to set up shop in Africa, starting in Ghana.
The outbreak of Covid-19 Pandemic, not only changed social behaviour patterns, it also changed people’s perspectives and approaches to investment opportunities and prospects, as more and more individuals came to the realization that indeed, the way forward in a post Pandemic world, is no longer job-hunting, but the expansion of the entrepreneurial classes and the exploration of non-traditional sectors and emerging markets such as technology, social media, whilst not ignoring, but revisiting traditional areas such as Farming, Aquaculture, the Entertainment. Hospitality, and Gaming industries, for openings and opportunities, for new income streams.
The Covid Experience completely and fundamentally not just changed perceptions, it created new realities. And just like that, the Stock Market became the new Go-To Platform for young entrepreneurs and wealth-seekers as more and more people are now seeing the Market, as the new go-to-center for opportunities and not the job market.
To be sure, this is not your traditional ‘Employment’ arrangement. As what is happening now, the ‘millennials’ are no longer content with sitting down and watching others grow rich, while they ‘slave’ so they too are crashing the party, as it were. And so it is that millennials/Gen Z crowds, leading the way in exploring Stocks as the new “Job-option” As many are being made unemployed and unemployable by the post-pandemic global challenges, being employed, for many now means an Investment Portfolio, as the challenges that first emerged in 2020, carried over into 2021, and 2022, and still lingers, underlines seismic changes in global outlook and perspective. And frankly, the world will never be the same again. This means that the concept of gainful employment as existed prior to the advent of Covid-19 is no longer viable, physically or even conceptually.
But covid-19 aside, the many successful stock-market IPOs that Mayberry Investments took to the market, helped with the mainstreaming of Stocks as an Investment vehicle for many who up to this time, had foolishly disregarded Stocks as the purview of Retirees. Covid19 however, and burgeoning social media, coupled with access that technology has brought to bear, has awakened the thirst for investment knowledge, and opportunities and has spurred renewed interest in Stocks, on a global level. With the ‘Online-experience’ at an all-time high, people search, for financial autonomy.
Not sure what the actual numbers are nationally, or regionally, but the anecdotal evidence and even what little empirical data there is, suggest that there has been a significant uptick in “New” Investments in the Jamaican Stock market. One recent study suggests that the Covid-19 Pandemic has led to as many as 70 Million new Investors in the Stock Market, across the Continental USA. And as the old adage says: ‘As the USA goes, so does Jamaica’. The evidence is, Jamaicans too are looking for a new frontier, and that frontier is the Stockmarket.
Some time ago, someone coined the phrase the “Information Age”, Truth is, Today we are living in the “Investment Age”. Fuelled by the information age, technology has fostered a greater understanding of stocks, markets, and their import in wealth creation.
So What we are now seeing, is not a trend, but a shift in the attitude towards investments, and a radical change, signaling that the interest is here to stay as is being made clear with each new IPO, being oversubscribed, the latest being Mayberry’s BondBerry which went to the market in January and closed after a Four-week run that saw it being oversubscribed.
And in an industry where integrity and reputation are keys to success, innovation, and longevity, can only serve to improve performance, attributes the Mayberry Team has embraced; after 38 years in the business, Mayberry Investments stands out as a bedrock of stability and a gateway to opportunity. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]