“I consider myself the Father of the Junior Market”,
says the Hon. Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance & the Public Service
Dozens of business leaders, entrepreneurs, attorneys, accountants, member dealers and investors in Jamaica’s stock market met to recognize the eight-year anniversary of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Junior Market, to acknowledge it importance in the Jamaican landscape and to encourage SMEs to continue to access equity capital via this medium. The Guest Speaker at the Special Luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on June 1, 2017 was the Hon. Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance & the Public Service, who is commended for his role in getting the Government in 2009 to legislate the Tax Incentives for Jamaican companies who went public and listed their shares on the JSE’s Junior Market.
“I consider myself the Father of the Junior Market”, says the Hon. Audley Shaw to an upbeat business audience. The Minister in his address gave special recognition to Mr. Don Wehby, Group Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Limited, then a Government Senator and minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, who helped him to successfully advocate for the approved incentives for the Junior Market by the Government.
“Since then (2009) 30 companies have been listed on the Junior Market and many are now exporting,” said Minister Shaw. “I said in Parliament that the only thing that Jamaica Export to Trinidad was empty containers, but I would like to let you know that since then a Junior Market company Lasco Manufacturing is now filling up these containers.”
The Minister proudly pointed to the fact that the market capitalization of companies listed on the Junior Market have increased significantly with companies such as Knutsford Express Limited experiencing a 1400% growth and Lasco Group over 2000%.
He advised entrepreneurs “When you are laying out your business, seek equity financing instead of debt financing which has high interest rates and can cause your business problem in the future. Equity financing is cheaper and you don’t have to worry about the high interest rate.” The Minister concluded with the advice that entrepreneurs should ensure that ultimately “Your Company is listed on the Junior Market and make use of the incentives that have been put in place by the Government.”
The JSE’s Managing Director, Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest speaking at the event stated, “I know we are pleased that the Junior market has done so well in the eight years of its existence. With 30 companies or 34 securities listed on the Junior Market, this rivals the main market, which has 34 companies or 43 listed securities. We know that without the break in the incentive regime and the miscommunications that the market was to be closed, we would have had many more companies listed. Despite that challenge, we are moving on.”
Mrs. Street Forrest went on to say that there were many benefits that had accrued and continue to be accrued through the Junior Market; namely, partnering with the International Development Bank and the Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB/MIF) to revolutionize the Stock Market with the launch of the Online Trading Platform and a Corporate Governance Index. Through the Joint JSE/MIF Programme, Mrs. Street Forrest noted that capacity support had been given to thirty (30) companies and some 2000 persons educated about the stock market through their participation in the twenty-four (24) workshops and seminars co-sponsored with IDB/MIF in areas of corporate governance, valuation of businesses, Business Leadership and the Art of Buying and Selling shares.
- tTech Limited (tTech) was among the Junior Market companies represented at the Luncheon, and their Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Edward Alexander, CEO inspired the audience. He shared some of the benefits tTech Limited (tTech) had gained listing on the Junior Market.
- Listing tTech empowered their employees to become shareholders in the company and as shareholders became owners of the business, they view the business from a different and more positive perspective;
- Listing on the Junior Market meant that tTech became an internationally recognized business and this allowed tTech to get additional business from local and overseas clients;
- As the only technology company listed on the junior stock market, this gave tTech competitive advantage;
- Listing has enabled the company to know the market value of its shares, which as a private-held company the true value was not known, but every day tTech are apprised of the valuation of its share, based on the closing price of their share on the market;