Stock Exchange to improve financial reporting, standards
SOME COMPANIES listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) might be "wittingly" or "unwittingly" issuing financial statements that are not up to standard, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) has charged.
However, president of the ICAJ, Vintoria Bernard, who made the disclosure during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the JSE on Tuesday, downplayed the issue, saying the practice was not widespread.
Speaking with The Gleaner after the signing which was held at the company's downtown Kingston offices, Bernard explained that the substandard financial reporting was confined mainly to interim reports that are not audited.
"So the impact is that when the final reports are published, if you are using both reports, you can see the anomalies. That is one of the things we are trying to wipe out," the ICAJ president said.
Bernard added: "Through the memorandum of understanding, we will be working to ensure that any breaches may be identified and curtailed."
General manager of the JSC, Marlene Street-Forrest, who also spoke at the ceremony held just before the ringing of the bell to mark the start of trading, said the MOU with the ICAJ was part of its plan to improve the standard of financial reporting by companies listed on the stock exchange.
Street-Forrest said the MOU was a formal commitment to develop the JSC to ensure that "we operate in a global space which require quality financial reporting and standards".
"When we sign an MOU we actually work with the bodies that we sign with. It is really not for show because we feel that it moves along in respect to the strategic direction of the stock exchange," she declared.
Bernard said as more companies become listed on the JSE, it is important that the assessment methods for submission by these companies be executed according to international standards.
In addition, she said the MOU would help to promote greater transparency, protect the integrity of the market and boost investor confidence locally and overseas.
Chairman of the JSE's regulatory and market oversight committee, Livingston Morrison, said the MOU would also work for the continuous improvement in its regulatory functions.
Morrison said this will be done by leveraging the accounting and financial reporting capacity of the ICAJ and its members.