Citadel Group of Companies is a relatively new investment company in Malaysia. The company was formed in 2019 and is currently helmed by Dato’ Jeff S. Medina, as their Chairman and Group CEO. Although the organization is relatively new, Dato’ Jeff and their Senior Management team are seasoned and experienced in their respective financial fields.
Dato’ Jeff S. Medina began his career in one of the biggest multi-national investment banks in the Philippines, where he gained the bulk of his early financial acumen. In 2000 he moved to Malaysia to explore the alternative investment space working for a development fund and agriculture company.
According to Dato’ Jeff, due to the ease of restrictions in the financial digitalisation space, there has been a negative stigma attached to this sector. It wasn’t until these last few years where digitalisation of financial services became more prominent. He is truly glad that it is now a part of the 3rd strategic thrust of Malaysia’s financial sector blueprint agenda of the Malaysian Central Bank. He is also optimistic about the Malaysian economic outlook in the next 5 to 10 years, as the country has shown a national growth of around 14.5% which is encouraging. Dato’ Jeff believes in studying current trends to seek new opportunities.
A big believer in trends, Dato’ Jeff observes the financial and economic trends closely, studies and embraces trends where necessary, as this will highlight new opportunities ahead. “Covid-19 expedited digitalization, especially in the financial sectors and that is why we started this company focusing on the digital financial industry,” said Dato’ Jeff.
Citadel Group wants to provide the growing need for services and hopes to grow exponentially. This is further supported by the Malaysian Central Bank’s first strategic thrust to “Future-proof key digital infrastructures”, anchored on the desired outcomes to provide resilient, inclusive, and adaptable financial structures.
The team comprising Dato’ Jeff S. Medina , Mr Frederick Chan Kim Kooi and Ms Lena Darwin, started Citadel Capital wealth management company in 2019, with the intention to help the public during and in the aftermath of the pandemic. They also wanted to ensure that the companies, especially SMEs were getting infusion and aid to help them survive and even grow.
This was how Citadel Trustee and Niu Group of companies were established. Where Citadel Group offered investment opportunities, Niu Group offers project financing, micro-financing, and invoice financing. Both organizations are growing their foundation by digitalizing their businesses. Citadel Trustee is headed by Mohammad Amir Mokhtar, CEO and Executive Director whilst Asmi Haron is CEO and Executive Director of Niu Group of Companies.
To grow Citadel Group further, an Islamic Redeemable Preference Shares (IRPS) exercise was initiated recently. The funds raised from this exercise will go towards licensing companies in the digitization arena and e-payment gateways in Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia.
Citadel Group is aware that there is a growing need for ESG globally. Being a very young company, their focus has been on establishing a strong foundation and growing the business. Understanding that global investors would look at sustainable renewable energy and practices, Citadel Group has begun engaging with several providers and products to look at minimizing their carbon footprint. “It is still a long journey for us in this arena, but we are trying our best to study ESG and how to apply responsible business practices,” said Dato’ Jeff.
So what are Citadel Group’s latest ventures? Dato’ Jeff agaIn mentioned that their latest initiative was the launch of the Islamic Redeemable Preference Shares (IRPS) exercise, through CG Optima an SPV created for the purpose of issuing the IRPS, which is still ongoing and expected to conclude in the next few months. The funds raised will be used to acquire serval companies that will help Citadel Group dominate in their chosen space such as payment and settlement solutions.
One of their newly formed subsidiaries, Citadel Pay Sdn Bhd, will also select and partner with specific companies such as Western Union as a part of their regional expansion plans. Dato’ Jeff further reiterates, “Citadel Group must create our own space. The IRPS exercise will help us to expand in a dominant fashion. In this business, it must be an all-out effort – we can’t do it half-baked!”
Although Citadel Group has ambitious goals, it is an organization with a soul,” Dato’ Jeff elaborated further. From the inception of their company, Citadel Group has contributed to various organizations as a part of their CSR initiative. Several years ago, Citadel contributed an ambulance to the Seers Group for their use.
“We are very glad that the ambulance we donated helped in the recent Batang Kali landslide incident,” said Dato’ Jeff.
He believes that the key is to find a good balance between profitability and the ability to give back to society. “The business has to come first and do well as we do try to assist those in need, both in terms of those who need the financial aid as well as the charity projects we embark on,” remarked Dato’ Jeff. Although the organization’s initial purpose was to aid those in need, not all companies that applied for their financing products were approved.
To date, their general approval rate for financing has been at 50% with a financing size of around RM2 mil to RM5 mil. However, where there is fully paid property or invoices as collateral available, under the company, Citadel Group does offer a purchase and lease option of up to 40% loan. This provides alternative financing options for companies seeking financial solutions.
When asked about where Citadel Group is heading, Dato’ Jeff explained that he is very optimistic about the organizational growth thus far. Citadel Group through an investment company are almost concluding their current fund-raising exercise to raise RM100 million and they have been requested to raise another RM100 million.
Once the capital raising is closed the Board of Directors may consider offering a conversion of these shares to IPO stocks. Dato’ Jeff confidently concluded the interview by saying, “I feel Citadel Group can be the next Malaysian Unicorn, and we are working very hard to be listed in Nasdaq by 2024.”
From the experienced Chairman and Group CEO’s vision, experience and financial acumen, there is very little doubt that Citadel Group is a company to watch out for. Sophisticated investors would do well to partake in their fund-raising exercises to catch a piece of the pie. The Money Compass team wishes them all the best and we will certainly keep an eye out for more of their future ventures.