More Jamaicans Entering Equities Market

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is announcing an increase in the number of new investors entering the equities market between 2015 and 2019.

JSE Group Business Development Manager, André Gooden, said that the figure rose from 3,412 in 2015 to 48,128 in 2019.

He pointed out that this upswing was spurred by several large initial public offerings, which he said attracted new investors.

Notable among these were State assets Wigton Wind Farm Limited and TransJamaican Highway Limited.

Data from the JSE indicate that Jamaica’s investor base grew from two per cent to approximately 10 per cent of the population, over the last 10 years.

Mr. Gooden was speaking during the recent ‘Investing in Jamaica’ virtual diaspora forum, which was jointly hosted by the JSE and Jamaica’s Consul General in New York, Alsion Roach Wilson.

He advised that the value of online equities trading increased from just under $77 million in 2015, to over $8 billion in 2020, despite the value of total transactions falling from $112 billion in 2019 to $61 billion in 2020.

Mr. Gooden further pointed out that over the last five years, the JSE has raised approximately $125 billion from the more than 120 listed securities and generated market capitalisation totaling $1.9 trillion at the end of 2019.

Consequently, he said, the JSE was voted by Bloomberg as the top-performing equities market globally in 2015 and 2019 and ranked among the top five in 2019.

He noted, however, that JSE market capitalisation fell to approximately $1.6 trillion at the end of 2020, partly reflecting the impact of COVID-19.

Mr. Gooden indicated that the out-turn is consistent with cyclical trends, wherein “the market goes up [and the market goes down]”.

He emphasised that, against this background, the longer that investors persist with this development “the more likely [it is] that they will capitalise on the fluctuations”.

The Investing in Jamaica virtual forum, which started in 2019 as the brainchild of Consul General Wilson is a long-term partnership project with the JSE, aimed at providing members of the diaspora with the necessary tools for building their finances through sound financial strategies.

In this regard, the forum is designed to sensitise investors in the United States, specifically the diaspora, and other decision-makers living in the USA, of Jamaica’s investment climate; explore and promote opportunities on the equity and bond market for potential investors within the diaspora and others in the USA; and lay the foundation for increasing the flow of investments in Jamaica, with an emphasis on growing the number of diaspora investors.

The event brings together financial experts to share their knowledge on matters ranging from the stock market, short-term loans for emerging market projects, identifying channels for wealth creation, updates on the economic climates in Jamaica and the USA, investing wisely in the market, and unlocking value in a crisis.

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