JSE and PIOJ to create framework for social stock market

Business reporter

Friday, July 12, 2019

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A collaborative effort between the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) to create a framework for social enterprises to be listed on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) is currently under way.

Managing director of JSEMarlene Street Forrest told the Jamaica Observer that the JSE is a part of the PIOJ's consultative committee which is working assiduously to develop a system for these enterprises.

In addition, Street Forrest indicated that a joint effort between the Government of Jamaica and the JSE to assist the small, and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector in gaining funding can be anticipated.

“We're also lobbying with the Government in respect to the micro market because [it] is important to development,” she said. “We want to have a framework that allows the SMEs to benefit, and for us to nurture them in an incubator for them to list on the micro market and get funding.”

She noted that with the Government's incentive, JSE aims to launch the micro stock market by 2020 as a national growth catalyst.

Prior to her interview, the managing director highlighted the benefits of SMEs taking up the initial public offering (IPO) and listing on the stock market.

“It's for increase in capital, needed expansion and paying down debts,” Street Forrest told the Caribbean Business Report. “One of the things that one can hardly measure, but it is there, is the increase in public perception of the company, that [it] is organised and doing well.”

Speaking at the Mona School of Business and Management's (MSBM) 4th International Business Management Conference on Wednesday, she noted that, while offering transparency and making extensive financial disclosure to the public can be intimidating at first, once on the stock exchange, businesses are able to enjoy enhanced profitability and viability.

“For the junior market, as at June, we have 41 companies, so the small companies have come to market and have grown, representing 38 securities,” Street Forrest shared. “You can see that people are considering, as a credible option, the stock market to raise capital.”

In addition, she indicated that companies listed on the stock exchange are exposed to a wider pool of investors which facilitates increased employment, more wealth creation and sharing, and ultimately contributing to the country's economic growth.

According to Street Forrest, the JSE's market index has increased by 61.76 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year, which she describes as “the power of what happens when businesses are financed and the value created at each stage”.

The managing director noted that for businesses that would like assistance or mentoring in listing on the stock exchange or adjusting after, a mentorship programme is available on JSE's website, and encouraged SMEs that investors will invest in their businesses as long as they have a credible idea and a legitimate business plan.

MSBM's three-day conference under the theme 'Delivering on the Promise of Entrepreneurship: Critical Perspectives on Research, Practice, and Thinking in the Fourth Economy' ends today. The event featured a keynote address from Minister of Finance and the Public Sector Nigel Clarke and local and international speakers from industry, academia, the public sector and civil society, as well as networking and interactive sessions for entrepreneurs.

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