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JSE launches new Private Market platform

... NCB Capital Markets to list two securities valued $7 billion, JSE boss sees uptick by June

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) on Monday last launched its new Private Market platform — a strategic initiative aimed at deepening the financial ecosystem by increasing market participation and providing greater efficiency within the securities market.

Speaking at the digital launch, JSE's Group Business Development Manager Andre Gooden noted that while that the concept of a private market is already in existence with over-the-counter transactions, JSE'S new portal will provide dealers and qualified investors with more diversified investment opportunities, thereby increasing market activity.

Through the Nasdaq platform, the private portal will allow for transparency, uniformed and market-driven pricing, reliable price discovery, high reporting and compliance standards, and seamless transfer of ownership of securities.

Adding that the market for private securities is currently only open to accredited investors, Gooden indicated that brokers who request and receive approval from the Financial Services Commission of Jamaica (FSC) for new private placement can then invite their network of accredited investors to subscribe to deals. Both new and existing issues can be placed on the market.

NCB Capital Markets Limited's vice-president for Investment, Stacy-Ann Tait, who spoke at the launch, announced that the entity — as a part of its strategic thrusts for the first quarter of 2021 — has received a listing for the new platform for two existing corporate bonds, valued $7 billion.

She added that the investment-grade issuer is a Blue Chip entity with strong financial performance.

Managing director of the JSE Marlene Street Forrest told the Jamaica Observer that despite the 25 per loss in the overall index value of the local equity markets caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, she expects that by mid-2021, the market will see at least a two per cent uptick.

“We appreciate that people are getting accustomed to COVID-19. It is here to stay and businesses are still operating and are looking at new opportunities and this will be priced into the market going forward,” she said.

“We did not conceive this market without the buy-in and the interests of the securities dealers. They felt that this would assist in the growth and development of the overall capital markets. We expect that within the first month of the launch, we will see a few securities listed,” Street Forrest told the Business Observer.

Keynote speaker Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke, in congratulating the JSE, said the platform represented a “fundamentally positive step” that will redound to Jamaica's benefit.

He added that it will be pivotal in spurring the improvements being sought in economic growth through the efficient allocation of capital.

“It will allow for greater price discovery and for great liquidity, which, in themselves, have a lot of spin-off benefits. Additionally, it will build secondary market participation and will offer opportunities for investors and corporates alike,” the minister said.