Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Four companies to list on JSE digital market by June

Published:Wednesday | January 29, 2020 | 12:18 AMKarena Bennett/Business Reporter
Marlene Street Forrest, managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
Marlene Street Forrest, managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Jamaica should see its first set of companies trading digital assets on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, JSE, by mid-year through a platform powered by partner company Blockstation.

Four companies out of Australia, Canada and Trinidad & Tobago will conduct an initial public offering for security tokens on the JSE. The tokens are synonymous to shares in a company.

At least two of the companies have already submitted their prospectuses and now await approval from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to make their offer to stock market investors.

Under the structure for the digital platform, the prospectuses are also submitted to Blockstation.

“The prospectuses are uploaded but not for a subscriber to access,” JSE Group Managing Director Marlene Street Forrest told the Financial Gleaner. “It is only accessed after the relevant authorities have given their non-objection letter,” she said.

The digital platform and the listing of the companies are expected to happen by around June of this year, Street Forrest confirmed.

The platform is hosted in Jamaica.

The four companies, which were announced at the JSE annual conference last week, are: BRED, a real estate fund based in Ontario, Canada; WiPay of Trinidad; VeleV Capital, an investment company out of Canada; and renewable energy company Lotus Energy, based in Australia.

According to Street Forrest, part of the digital portal allows for anyone who has an account with an approved broker to trade online, as is the case for equities.

“When you go into the system the tokens will be priced and an individual will subscribe for how much they want. The arrangement for how you are going to settle the transaction will be between yourself and the broker,” she said.

JSE announced its partnership with Toronto, Canada-based Blockstation about a year ago, and since then they have done two trials for the trading of digital securities. The initiative came amid a spike in the virtual currency market and the continuing rise of the most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

Street Forrest says the JSE digital platform is launching with the approval of regulators. That factor has been part of its attraction for foreign companies, according to presentations by Blockstation and others at the conference.

“Since last year until now we have made amazing traction between the JSE, the brokerage dealers and the FSC to develop an entire ecosystem and bring it to a stage of completion. I’m happy to say that the FSC has provided the JSE with a no-objection letter on the digital asset rule book and we have tremendous attraction from across the globe,” said Blockstation co-founder Jai Waterman.

Multigenerational energy company Lotus Energy is looking to raise US$50 million through the JSE. CEO Anthony Vippond says the company will use the capital to deliver on contracts it has secured in Europe and India, aimed at delivering 780 megawatts of power through 30-year power purchase agreements in the two countries.

“We’ve acquired very large contracts with a European company call Optim for some 17MW and we also have a major contract with RelianceGEO, which is one of India’s largest telecommunications company, for 750 megawatts,” said Vippond. “RelianceGEO has about 300,000 cell towers and we are doing the first 50,000. We are literally taking the cell tower off diesel generators,” he said.

Aldwyn Wayne, the founder and CEO of Wipay, wants to expand his money transfer service across the Caribbean, using equity to be raised on the JSE.

“We will start in the Caribbean with Trinidad and Tobago first. Once we have covered the Caribbean we will move to the United States and will start sending back to the Caribbean. We have already applied for originator of funds licence in New York, California, Miami, Florida, and Washington,” he said.

WiPay, which operates a payment processing platform, entered the Jamaican market last year.