Sun | Oct 1, 2023

SSL clients to begin regaining access to their accounts, funds on Friday

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2023 | 12:04 PM
Clarke said any Jamaican dollar cash balances in client accounts will be transferred to banks specified by clients. - File photo

Thousands of clients of fraud-hit private brokerage firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) will start getting back their accounts and even some money as early as this Friday, Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has announced. 

Many of SSL's over 8,000 clients directly own securities such as stocks and bonds in local currency. Their accounts are held in the Jamaica Central Securities Depositary which form part of SSL's off balance sheet business, meaning assets not owned by SSL.

Clarke said starting on Friday, SSL will begin the process of transferring the Jamaican dollar client securities accounts from SSL's custody to other security dealers selected by clients. 

He said any Jamaican dollar cash balances in client accounts will be transferred to banks specified by clients. 

“While we expect up to one-third of J$ client balances to be transferred within days, the entire process could take up to six weeks to be completed, given the volume of client accounts,” Clarke said in a statement on Tuesday. 

He said the transfers of securities in US currency will involve collaboration with US regulators and US-based investment houses "which will therefore take more time". 

"The Jamaica Central Securities Depositary and the Jamaica Stock Exchange are working with the Temporary Manager and the FSC (Financial Services Commission) to facilitate the transfer of J$ securities and balances. SSL clients will be required to complete the relevant Know Your Customer documentation. SSL will communicate directly with its clients on the procedures to be followed," Clarke said.

The FSC, which regulates investment houses, took temporary management of SSL in January after the alleged fraud was reported.

Many of SSL's clients are elderly persons and have complained about their difficulties in accessing their accounts to get funds to deal with their welfare. 

One person has been charged in the fraud case so far and the FID has indicated that more arrests are likely before a December court date. 

Sports star Usain Bolt is among the more than 70 clients affected by the alleged fraud, which has raised questions about the oversight of the FSC.

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