The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) on January 11, launched the Private Market portal, a service which provides a platform for listing and trading of private securities. Currently, private securities, registered with the Financial Services Commission (FSC), are traded “Over the Counter” (OTC) between licensed brokers. The Private Market portal is geared towards increasing market participation and greater efficiency within the securities market.
Managing Director of the JSE, Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest, in her welcome, congratulated the internal team at the JSE for an excellent job in executing the development of the Private Market Product. She went on to state “This market facilitates the Private Listing and trading of securities that are issued in accordance with the FSC Guidelines for Exempt Distributions. Consistent with this requirement, issuers of securities in the private market must first be registered with the FSC, in accordance with the FSC Guidelines for Exempt Distributions, for securities to be considered for Private Listing on the JSE Private Market”. She then thanked the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Jamaica Securities Dealers Association (JSDA) for their collaborative effort. Mrs. Street Forrest further stated that, “to build a vibrant Private Market is an ongoing process, and we welcome all market participants to join us on the journey to making a positive and lasting difference in the capital markets, as innovation is the key for growth and development.”
Mr. Andre Gooden, JSE Group Business Development Manager and project leader, gave an overview of some of the features on the portal. He highlighted what the public can access and what the accredited investors are able to see on the portal. Mr. Gooden pointed out that the JSE Private Market is available to accredited investors, under the Exempt Distribution guidelines of the FSC.
Hon. Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and Public Service was the keynote speaker at the launch. He stated that, “the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) several years ago committed to improving access to finance, which it saw as key to unlocking economic growth”. “We consider access to finance and capital as being the oxygen of business”, the Minister added. “The size of the capital markets dwarfs the size of the banking sector and is key to growth. The private assets market between 2017 and 2020 grew by 100%, from approximately JD$100 billion to JD$200 billion. By comparison, loan growth has returned 16% to 35% growth in the same period”.
Dr. Clarke further stated that, “the explosive growth of interest in private transactions by both issuers and investors is as a result of a fall in Government interest rates. The GOJ at one point crowded out the private sector in seeking financing. This is no longer the case.” he stated.
Minister Clarke pointed to several initiatives being undertaken to improve the capital markets, including BOJ Reform, the tabling of the Micro Credit Act, the advent of high-quality liquid assets, as well as Cari Cris Ratings Agency setting up an office in Jamaica to assist in responsibly managing economic growth. In addition to the Private Market, the Minister also indicated that GOJ Securities would soon be listed on a similar JSE platform, which will lead to establishment of a GOJ yield curve. The Minister thanked all the stakeholders who worked on the project, especially the JSE on this bold and important move to expand the Capital Market ecosystem.
Vice President of Investments at NCB Capital Markets, Ms. Stacy Ann Tait, announced that NCB Capital Markets has received an application to list two securities on the Private Market platform, valued at JD$7 billion, for a “Blue Chip” corporate entity. Ms. Tait said, “we are planning to list two more securities on the Private Market in the first quarter.”
In his closing remarks, Mr. Steven Gooden, President of the JSDA, described the launch of the JSE Private Market as a game changing market innovation. He commended the Minister of Finance for the Government’s commitment to growing the capital markets and challenged the Ministry of Finance to think big and to craft a vision for Jamaica to be a niche player in global capital markets.