JSE board needs a huge shake up

Ian McNaughton, Chairman of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange needs to heal itself and fast, since no one else seems able to do so yet. There are some startling truths about Jamaica but not many persons want to talk about them.
One such truth, stock exchange board is not running the exchange in the interest of the wider investing public. The other is that the Financial Securities Commission is almost a waste of taxpayers’ money whether by government subvention or fees paid directly or indirectly by investors. If that were not the case how can the country explain that Berger Paints’ directors could make false statements about the acceptance and value of Berger Paints shares in response to Ansa Coatings offer to buy out minority shareholder and no one in authority called them to book and got them to support their claims with evidence.
In July this year, Express Catering shares were not being traded as demand exceeded supply by a wide margin and pushing the equilibrium price well ahead of prices that the circuit breaker rule at the JSE permitted. The stock did not trade for a number of days after listing, left to the rules as was being practiced, the stock would have taken much longer to trade than it finally did after management intervened. The same thing is now happening to FosRich shares that have not traded after two days of listing, with demand exceeding supply well above the permitted price of the JSE. When Wisynco and VM Investments list, one can expect the same situation to occur, unless the rule is modified.
Having hand the problem several months ago it seems implausible that the JSE has not moved speedily to correct what is clearly a problem when IPOs start trading. Why has the stock Exchange board not moved to correct what is clearly a problem for new listings. Why has the FSC not intervened to ensure it get sorted out, before new listings come to market?
The fact that we are seeing a repeat of this problem is a clear indication that there needs to be changes at the board level of the JSE.
Lest face some facts, time is money. The FosRich issue closed on December 4, as such, investors who would like to sell have to wait for nearly a month to be able to get their money out based on the Jamaica Stock Exchange price restriction. In the cases of Wisynco and VM Investments the situation will be vastly worse with both having protracted period to announce the allocation of shares much yet listing.
The Junior Market of the exchange has demonstrated the power of share ownership, to radically transform the economy and the wider society. Alas enough effort is not being given to it, the mechanical application of the circuit breaker rule is one such factor that is negatively affecting the market.
Finally, the Berger Paints takeover offer is once more pointing to the fact that a rule meant to protect minorities is not doing so at all, if it did how can one explain the fact that just over 6 million shares were surrendered as a result of the Ansa’s bid with the shares trading up to $18 since compared to an offer on $10.88. Clearly the big investors did not sell so it must be much smaller investors who are not adequately informed.

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