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Jamaica’s securities industry remains a strong and critical pillar upon which the country, economy and the investing public depend, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, has said.

He notes that information from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) indicates that there are 38 licensed security dealers operating in Jamaica, with assets under management exceeding $1.45 trillion.

The Minister was delivering a Financial Sector Regulation Policy Address at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in downtown Kingston, on Monday (January 23).

The statement came in the wake of alleged multibillion-dollar fraudulent activities being investigated at Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).

Dr. Clarke noted that the extent of the alleged fraud, initially estimated at more than J$2 billion, represents one of the largest involving a securities dealer since the FSC was established nearly 30 years ago.

“It is an alarming amount that shocked the soul of Jamaica,” the Minister pointed out.

Dr. Clarke noted that while the assets managed by SSL represent just over two per cent of the total under management by securities dealers, “this does not minimise anyone’s loss”.

He maintained, however, that SSL was a relatively small securities dealer, and its problems “do not pose a systemic risk to the financial system”, hence “there is… no need for panic”.

The Minister reiterated that there will be “full transparency in this matter”, adding that “no stone will be left unturned” during the investigations.

“The investigative authorities [in Jamaica] have full operational independence and will pursue the facts, wherever they may lead,” he said.

Dr. Clarke indicated that based on the magnitude of the matter and the lines of enquiry being pursued, the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and the Fraud Squad have already sought assistance from the United States (US) Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other international partners, in the probe.

“We, as a country, require a strong, stable and credible securities dealers industry that is ready to operate, not only on the regional level but internationally as well, to move the country forward,” he added.

Dr. Clarke also assured that Jamaica’s financial sector remains strong, well-capitalised, and resilient.

He noted that the sector survived the 2008/09 global financial crisis, two debt exchanges, and the COVID-19 economic shock and resulting inflation crisis, adding that “it even managed to grow through all of [these]”.

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