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New trading platform puts Caribbean stock exchange in sight

Published:Wednesday | March 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
Marlene Street Forrest, General Manager of Jamaica Stock Exchange Group

The stock exchanges in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago will migrate to a new Web trading platform this year that will bring the exchanges closer together with the option of integration.

In other words, the technology to be deployed in each of the three markets could create a single exchange, if warranted.

Securities Trading Technology (STT), based in South Africa, has won the contract to provide the new trading platform to the three exchanges, said JSE General Manager Marlene Street Forrest in a phone interview on Wednesday.

STT, founded in 1985, offers technology platforms to numerous exchanges on the African continent and beyond. The company specialises in the development of exchange solutions, to back-office management systems and front-end trading tools.

"From a technical standpoint we can, if and when determined, move to an integrated platform through a single order book," said Street Forrest.

The contract was signed on March 18 with STT, JSE, the Barbados Stock Exchange and Trinidad & Tobagao Stock Exchange.

The technology makes a single exchange doable, but "it is not fair to say that that is being contemplated at this time".

The talk of a single Caribbean Stock Exchange - the CXN - gained momentum in 1989 when the Caricom Heads of Government reportedly put forward the idea of developing a regional capital market as a component of the then proposed Caricom Single Market & Economy. It continues to receive support from regulators and business executives such as Don Wehby, the Group CEO of cross-listed GraceKennedy.

"We will migrate to the new platform towards the end of the year, in around November or December," said Street Forrest.

The move was sparked in part by the end of the partnership with 'Global Vision', the current technology provider for the three exchanges.

Street Forrest said STT's platform meets all the requirements of the three exchanges while providing lower cost of ownership and opportunities for greater collaboration and economies of scale.

The cost of the new platform was not disclosed, but the JSE boss said neither traders nor investors will see an increase in charges or fees as a result of the switch to a new provider.

The new system will be a Web-based interface. It allows for the trading of multiple asset classes from a single interface and to add new products quickly.