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Tax-free designation opens path to Canadian market for JSE

Published:Sunday | June 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is now designated among 41 exchanges in 28 countries on which Canadian investors can enjoy tax-free capital gains.

The designation relates to transactions on the JSE Main Market.

This means that Canadian investors can participate in the JSE through tax-free savings accounts, said JSE general manager, Marlene Street Forrest, on Friday.

With the designation, Jamaica now joins other global exchanges such as the tech-laden NASDAQ in New York, and Israel's Tel Aviv Exchange, she said.

Street Forrest told Sunday Business that the JSE plans to target new business from individuals in the diaspora who wish to trade in Jamaica securities and, in the longer term, from Canadian pension funds and other investors.

retirement plans

"What is important is that most Canadians in the diaspora have retirement plans. Insofar as they have retirement plans, it is a good opportunity to look towards securities in our market," said Street Forrest.

"Ordinarily, these plans exclude the JSE given the fact that it did not have a designation. Now they can take advantage of securities on the exchange and can have these included in pension plans," she said.

As stated online by the Taxpayer Services Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, the tax-free savings account was introduced in 2009 for residents of Canada to set aside income throughout their lifetimes.

Those eligible for a TFSA include any individual - other than a trust - who is at least 18 years old, is a resident of Canada, and has a valid social insurance number, the site says.

Jamaica was represented in its application for 'Designated Stock Exchange' status by Attorney-at-Law Courtney Betty, according to a statement posted on the JSE website.

"This is a significant milestone in our history, when the Canadian Government recognised the JSE as a designated exchange. This seeks to further solidify the relationship between Jamaica and Canada, a country which was instrumental in assisting the JSE with its first sets of rules and the JSE's securities course," said Street Forrest, who was quoted in the same statement.