The stock exchange needs radical overhauling

The Jamaica Stock Exchange is thriving with many investors making good money from their investments in the stocks on the market and companies raising fresh capital as a result of the attractiveness of the capital market. But the growth in the market belies some deep concerns and failures in the system.
The reality is that the capital market is in a state that is far from healthy and those in authority are no moving to fix it. It is difficult to understand why.
An example is that some directors think they can override the Company’s Act and do things that they are not empowered to do. An example is that the directors of GWest Corporation in their wisdom decided that a resolution passed at a general meeting prior to going to the public was only to be partially disclosed to potential shareholders. The stock exchange sees nothing wrong with the lack of disclosure which amounts a variation in the terms of the contract. “So public” was the information, that not even the company’s auditors who reported on the financial statements, months after the public issue, included the information of the resolution that was to give rise to the issue of preference shares, in the audited accounts.
In October, just under 92 million Seprod shares were offered to the public for purchase. Some of the shares were reserved for then existing shareholders of Seprod. Subsequent to the closure of the issue, NCB Capital Markets, the brokers that handled the issue announced that all applications for Reserve Shares in the offer were fully allocated. Several shareholders of Seprod found that they did not get their full allocation and contacted NCB, it was then that they seem to have discovered errors made at the stock exchange.
On November 8, NCB Capital Markets “advises and due to the large number of subscribers for the Offer, the process is taking longer than anticipated.” NCB Capital Markets advised that it is in the process of reconciling the applications and verifying payments received and has requested approval to provide the Basis of Allotment on Monday, November 12, 2018. The broker advised the Stock Exchange on the date promised, that in addition to the full allocation of reserve shares, subscribers from the general public will receive up to the first 5,000 units for which they applied, with the balance greater than 5,000 units allocated approximately 16.56 percent. Subsequent to the allocation

The Jamaica Stock Exchnage subsidiary

announcement, IC Insider.com gathers that investors from the general public who attempted to sell their shares after being allocated, had the Seprod shares in their accounts blocked, so they could not be traded. No one thought it prudent to advise them that the shares were blocked. This publication is seeing an increasing practice where persons in control take unilateral action to alter contractual arrangements. Someone or entity made a big mistake in not computing the allocation correctly in the first place. Information IC Insider.com has, clearly points to the error being made by the Stock Exchange subsidiary. Having done the allocation and credited investors, accounts and refunded excess funds, the Stock Exchange in the view of this publication has no authority to vary a concluded contract. Investors on November 26, were informed that the public got the first 5,000 shares and 16.25 percent of the excess. The letter from the Jamaica Central Securities Depository stated that “ we advise that initially, allocations had been calculated and posted to accounts, however, we detected a glitch in processing that resulted in shares of some clients being incorrectly allocated. Steps were taken to make the necessary adjustments that also included a change in the pro-rated percentage initially published from 15.56 percent to 16.25 percent. When an organization with the prestige of the Jamaica Stock Exchange fowls up matters, one expects that they would handle the matter in a professional manner and absorb the cost, and not opening themselves up to potential law suits.
The Stock Exchange has done the same illegal thing by blocking investors account from trading, as usual the Stock Exchange did not a have the decency to communicate with the investors about that matter. The sad thing is that they wanted the TRN numbers, but the reason they want it is spurious at best. It was just needed to try and clarify that more than one account that seem to belong to one person actually is so. But there is nothing in law that requires them to make such demands and worse the investors have no agreement with the JSE to provide such information as a condition of opening an account. Sadly, the JSE don’t need TRN to sort out limited liability companies, as the Company Office of Jamaica gives each company a unique number that can be used for that purpose. That the Stock Exchange is acting in questionable manner should not be surprising as one or maybe more of their dealer members, have wantonly breached agreements that they have with clients, refusing to comply with the contractual terms.
The Jamaica Stock Exchange release relating to an article IC Insider.com published in connection with the Seprod share allocation states:  “The JSE wishes to advise the public that the article published on ICInsider.com on Friday, November 23, 2018 entitled”, “Seprod stock allocation fowl up to cost JSE” incorrectly stated that the JSE was expected to absorb a loss in respect of the recent allocation of Seprod shares.
“The JSE advises that the JSE Group (The Jamaica Stock Exchange and its subsidiary, the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) did not suffer any loss in relation to the foregoing.
“There was a delay in the final allotment of the Shares, but this was not due to any malfunction of our systems. We further advise that the allotment of the Shares was successfully completed, as communicated by the JCSD to the relevant investors.
“We wish to underscore that we continue to work tirelessly to maintain the confidence of participants in the market as we deliver our services to our valued customers,” states JSE.
The Stock Exchange may be “trying to work tirelessly to maintain the confidence of participants in the market,” but there are a plenty that they need to speedily do to convince the public that they are seriously tackling the many issues that require sorting out to enhance its reputation. The problems and inadequacies of the present trading platform is just one of them that has lasted far to long. Then there are errors in the trading report. Currently, delisted securities are still showing up in the reports and Eppley 7.5% preference shares for example that has been recently listed is being reported in the ordinary share section rather than in the preference share section where it belongs.
On November 1, the trading report shows the All Jamaica Composite Index of the main market closing at 396,907.46 but the report for the 2nd of November the Index was said to have closed at 387,739.58 with a rise of 832.12 but that was not possible. On the 5th of November the index was said to fall by 5,472.20 to close at 392,267.38. To date the erroneous information is still on the Stock Exchange website.

The Stock Exchange in its wisdom continues with the circuit breaker that serves no useful purpose. Not only does it have no useful purpose it is making a mockery of the exchange but they seem to have their heads in the sad oblivious as to what is going on around them. Take an example Barita Investments traded at $60 recently but the trade was cancelled as it breached the circuit breaker rules daily limitation, yet it is still being carried as the 52 weeks’ high price. That of course makes no sense, but this is just one of similar errors showing up all over. The stupidity of the circuit breaker is that stocks are frozen for an hour and if a stock breaches the level at a minute after 12 in a day it cannot trade again for the balance of the day. If there is need for it why not have the breaks for 15 or 20 minutes so that trading can take place fairly freely. After all the Stock Exchange still has the power to halt trading in a stock or the market if they consider it prudent to do so. The reality is that the Stock Exchange is not handling what they now have to mange and they want to go into new trading areas that is not really in demand.

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