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Asserting that in uncertain times the need for innovation increases, general manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Marlene Street-Forrest said responsible authorities within the region must begin to embrace the changes dictated by global trends — including removing artificial currency controls and opening doors to new technology.

She made the remarks at the opening of the 12th annual Investment and Capital Markets Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, adding, that regional governments should ditch protectionism where it inhibits development.

“We believe that the current traditional and protectionist approach to defending our regional currencies, while having some merit, should be executed with an understanding of how the larger growth agenda will play out against the background of truly mobile funds looking for a home in the global capital market,” the JSE head stated.

“For our local investment markets to grow, we must examine the best methods, products and services for future wealth creation, irrespective of their origination. Our future, we believe, is one in which we have a global outlook and continuously look to embrace more and more diverse products and services.”, continued, Ms. Street-Forrest.

Turning to the need for innovation, Street Forest said that regional stock exchanges and capital market participants must begin to look at “charting a future which includes examining and possibly introducing block chain technology (used to track bitcoin or digital money transactions) and embracing other innovative vehicles geared at energising young businesses, through the leveraging of venture capital and crowd-funding portals, to name a few.

“If we do not claim our space in providing these services with alacrity, then that which is vacant will be claimed, because as we know, nature abhors a vacuum,” she said.

Noting that technology is driving the pace of development globally and also providing greater opportunities for capital markets transparency, the JSE head pointed to the need for development of services and products “that will transparently drive the future prosperity of our investors and countries.

“Our options are clear. We need mechanisms that will ensure market confidence, and to this end we must speak more loudly about the inclusion specifically of products, such as a diaspora bond for regional development, depository receipts, ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and other fixed-income products for the retail industry, and we must trumpet how our stock markets can be used to increase transparency, stability and longevity and wealth creation.” 

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Regional Exchanges To Adopt New Platform Next Month

Three stock exchanges in the region will switch to a new trading platform next month, according to Marlene Street Forrest, general manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE). Though the original plan was to migrate by the end of last year.

"We are going to migrate to a new platform by February 6," said Street Forrest in an address on Thursday at the JSE Capital Markets Conference in New Kingston.

The stock exchanges in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago will migrate to a new Web trading platform, which brings the exchanges closer together and with the option of integration in the future.

In early 2016, South Africa-based Securities Trading Technology (STT) won the contract to provide the new trading platform to the three exchanges. "We worked together so that the trading platform is shared by all three, and it will reduce the cost of transactions to the investing public," Street Forrest said.

"It will offer one book of securities traded seamlessly across all exchanges," said the head of the Barbados Stock Exchange, Marlon Yarde, at the conference.

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.

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Proudli Technologies Wins Pitch Room At JSE Conference

Proudli connects manufacturers to clients in China through her e-commerce platform, and is headed by Renae Bruce Miller. Miller had the strongest pitch and business idea, said deputy general manager of the Jamaica stock Exchange, Robin Levy, in his judge's report.

As a result Proudli Technologies copped the young entrepreneur prize purse of $300,000 on Wednesday in the Venture Capital Pitch Room of the JSE Capital Markets Conference.

Proudli Technologies is a business-to-business sales development agency that forges market entry of high-value goods into the global marketplace using cross-border e-commerce technology. The company represents and manages multiple brands as their exclusive agents.

Bruce Miller was also one of five entrepreneurs who went to China in 2015 to compete for US$1 million in the US-China Investment Forum.

Two other entrepreneurs made pitches at the event, the first being Oshane Creary, a final-year student of the University of West Indies, who’s company, Lenders and Borrowers, is a fin-tech start-up that matches borrowers with micro lenders. Waheba Selassie was the other founder and creator of the Flush-o-wash toilet seat, which has been patented in 41 countries mainly in Europe.

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