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News : World Last Updated: Mar 16th, 2023 - 05:11:14

Facts at the hen house
By Marston Gordon
Mar 16, 2023, 05:00

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It has been 9 weeks since the alleged fraud was disclosed at Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), a special investigator and temporary manager appointed, Financial Services Commission (FSC) Executive Director fired, United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) invited to help with SSL investigation, Bank of Jamaica Governor appointed Chairman of FSC, Minister of Finance discovery of FSC report in his filing cabinet, Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) suspension of SSL on-line trading access, the JSE termination of SSL Member Dealer Agreement and British forensic audit firm Kroll Associates also signed up to assist with investigations.

SSL clients
By FSC directive all inter member transfers of local equity accounts by SSL (to another licensed stockbroker) will (temporarily) not be approved from January 12, 2023. Yet between February 13- 24, 2023 local equities held directly or indirectly by SSL or Alpha were traded on the JSE and by mere coincidence SSLís member dealer agreement was terminated on the last day of that period.

SSL is an intermediary of their clientís shares and not owners thereof, and the shares reside with the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) as custodian. The JSE knows the ownership of all registered share certificates.

Wash wash or wishy washy
The company secretary of the listed companies are directing stock holders requesting share certificates to their broker (in this case SSL) even though brokers cannot issue or replace certificates; transfer to another broker is blocked by the FSC; the JSE has terminated SSL member dealer agreement and prior to that suspended on-line trading for clients to contact SSL directly.

It is evidently clear that the regulators have no concern for clients of the beleaguered entity my suspicion is that inter-broker net settlement is of more import.

Source: Jamaica Stock Exchange, Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Observer

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