Gareth Manning, Gleaner Writer
Roy Johnson, Executive Chairman of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) talks with Marlene Street (centre), General Manager of JSE and Alvaro Casserly (right), a director of the stock exchange during the launch of its Best Practices awards at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Thursday, October 13. - RUDOLPH BROWN/CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER
THE JAMAICA Stock Exchange (JSE) is planning a follow-up visit to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to help strengthen market development.
Executive Chairman, Roy Johnson, says planning for this venture is in its advanced stages. He was speaking the JSE's Best Practices Awards launch at the Hilton Hotel, in Kingston.
"We are now in an advanced stage of planning for this follow-up visit, and we are optimistic that this will ultimately bring not 'hot money', but committed investment resources into our market," Johnson says.
The JSE visited the New York Stock Exchange last June, where Prime Minister P.J. Patterson declared the Jamaican market "open for business," after ringing the opening bell at the exchange.
The company also has intentions of following through with a 'road show' campaign to encourage investors to invest in emerging markets, but decisions are not finalised.
"Clearly, when taken against the background of the lower Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into Jamaica and the concerns being expressed as to the possible impact of some of the present flows on some of our industries, we need to encourage involvement in our economy and increased investment flows," he said.
Additionally, the JSE is engaging in two other strategies to drive market development.
Johnson says among the strategies employed, is an active approach to bring potential companies for listing to the board. Initial public offerings consultant, Dr. Robert Chambers will be responsible for this venture. He will engage potential companies in discussion and help guide them towards becoming publicly listed.
The JSE also hopes to increase demand by going public. Johnson says they are taking steps to expand the stock exchange. "Hopefully, fruits will be born by next year. That is all I will say," Mr. Johnson told journalists.
But the promotion of best practices is also expected to help in the development of the market. Johnson says the recognition that companies are aiming to manage their entities well will help to make the market more attractive to foreign and local investors. He says the aim of the award is to "create a market where investors can be confident that they are operating in an environment of meaningful disclosure, excellent and committed service and vibrant supervisory oversight."
General Manager, Marlene Street, added that the award is also aimed at building better relationships with listed companies and stockbrokers. She says recent studies have shown that some of the most significant collapses of companies can be attributed to the lack of good management and operation practices.
"In observing best practices, companies should accept the responsibilities to act in a way that will serve the interest of the company in meeting its strategic goals and should serve the public's interest, honour the public's interest and demonstrate a commitment to professionalism."
"Best practice we feel, should involve companies recognising the value of shareholders and assist them to act as shareowners by providing them with sufficient information about the company that will enable them to participate in the process," she added.
The awards will be judged in five categories by a sixteen-member panel. The categories to be judged are: The Best Practices Annual Report Award; Best Practices Corporate Disclosure and Investor Relations; Best Performing Companies; Best Practices Investor Relations Award and the JSE Best Practices Website Award.
Among the committee of judges are Chairman of the committee and Executive Director of the Mona School of Business, Professor Neville Ying; Attorney-at Law at Dunncox, Christopher Bovell; CEO of the Centre for Corporate Governance, Vindell Kerr and noted financial consultant and producer of the Investors' Choice Newsletter, John Jackson.
The awards are to be handed out on December 9 in Kingston.