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Brokers blocked - JSE urges smoother integration of Caribbean exchanges

Published:Monday | April 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
JSE Managing Director, Marlene Street Forrest.

Securities regulators in the three markets that fall under the long-touted Caribbean Stock Exchange (CXN) have amended rules to allow for seamless trading, and the stock exchanges now operate from a shared platform build by a South African vendor.

But Marlene Street-Forrest, the managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, says regional brokers still face non-tariff barriers that stop them from trading beyond their individual markets.

Securities Trading Technology, a South African provider of financial services, provided the Avvento Trader engine for the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE), JSE and the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE).

That happened a year ago. Street Forrest told the Financial Gleaner that brokers from the home exchanges still have to be to complete transactions, although the rules and infrastructure are there to facilitate CXN trades.

A Trinidad broker brokering a trade in Jamaica, for example, still has to turn to a Jamaican broker to finalise the transaction.

"We operate using the same trading and depository platforms ... . Our securities commissions amended rules to enable a broker to be registered in another jurisdiction, allowing them to trade within that market," said Street Forrest.

"The registration process is either complex or there are non-tariff barriers as none of the brokers who have tried has successfully registered. If we had a common 'passport', mutual recognition, then the matter of having to register whether in Trinidad, Barbados or elsewhere would not arise," she said.

Two brokers also told the Financial Gleaner that the problems they were encountering related to restrictions on foreign-exchange movement and foreign-exchange controls, especially in Barbados, and, to a lesser extent, in Trinidad.

A single Caribbean Stock Exchange has been a decades-old ambition of Caricom, which was first floated in 1989 under the Caricom Single Market & Economy.