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Marlene J. Street-Forrest, General Manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), has encouraged American investors to consider Jamaica and the emerging Caribbean Single Market (CSM) as the next credible option in their expanding global investment portfolio.
Mrs. Street-Forrest, who was addressing money managers from the banking and financial services sector at a luncheon at the offices of the Council of the Americas in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday (Nov. 30), noted that ongoing infrastructural improvements since 2002, have enhanced the efficiency and flexibility of the JSE, thereby increasing its competitiveness in the regional marketplace.
According to Mrs. Street-Forrest, improved efficiency and market confidence through electronic trading options, ongoing market surveillance, increased market capitalization and a foreign exchange rate regime determined by prevailing market conditions, were key policy indicators, which made Jamaica a credible investment option.
“I think we have a facility that investors will now look at in respect to both the policies of the government, the stock market performance and how it compares to the more developed markets and that persons will see that there’s an opportunity for investing in Jamaica and the Caribbean region,” she noted.
In his remarks, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Professor Gordon Shirley, opined that the meeting with the American investors would have far-reaching implications for the Caribbean region that is poised for real growth and the absorption of new capital inflows from many parts of the world.
He noted further, that the Caribbean Single Market would give the region a “bigger size and clout in an environment where these potential investors are used to much larger firms and markets than we are used to”.
Meanwhile, Brian Wynter, Executive Director of the Financial Services Commission, said: “I thought it was a very interesting exchange and an important step in positioning the country at this time. We certainly welcome the attention, which underscores the importance of meeting the international standards for regulation and good practices that these investors expect to get.”
The meeting also heard encouraging presentations from the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE) and Securities Exchange Commission; National Commercial Bank (NCB) Capital Market, which is the oldest brokerage house in Jamaica and William C. Thompson, Jr., Comptroller for the City of New York.
According to Mr. Thompson, NYC was looking to invest 3 per cent of its portfolio into emerging markets worldwide and noted that with the kind of relationship that New York City shared with the Caribbean, the region was under active consideration.
Jamaica’s delegation at the meeting also included: Roy L. Johnson, Executive Chairman, JSE; Leo Williams, Director of the Jamaica Money Market Brokers; Debra Lopez, Vice President, NCB Capital Markets.
The luncheon meeting was a joint venture presentation of the JSE/TTSE Road Show series in collaboration with the Council of the Americas and the Lugano Group, Incorporated.