JCC endorses review of financial sector Loop Jamaica

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The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) is endorsing the approach of the Minister of Finance to address the concerns emanating from recent events related to Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).

SSL is currently at the centre of a multi-million fraud investigation.

Dr Clarke, on Monday, announced the appointment of a new board of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the entity which regulates the securities industry in which SSL operates.

The new FSC board comprises senior central bankers.

The JCC said it agrees that the BOJ can play a major role in ensuring the structural integrity of the financial services sub-sector.

“But it remains for all of us, including business leaders, to build a culture of intolerance for the ” turning a blind eye” and “code of silence” ethos that allows fraud and other crimes to go undetected,” the JCC said.

The finance minister named Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor Richard Byles as the new chairman and other BOJ executives, including Wayne Robinson, Senior Deputy Governor; George Roper, Deputy Governor; and Jide Lewis, Deputy Governor.

Byles’ appointment to chair the FSC board follows the resignation of the commission’s executive director, Everton McFarlane, last Thursday.

“While it suits no one to tear down the domestic financial sector, which is essential to a functioning economy, there must be re-energized focus on accountability and prudential management for the protection of the populace,” the JCC said in a statement.

Fraud is a reality in any commercial system but transparent information about industry-wide standards, and compliance by individual firms, to mitigate and detect fraud in the financial sector must become more accessible to average Jamaicans, the chamber said.

Dr Clarke also announced that the government is moving to review several pieces of financial sector legislation to apply more stringent penalties for breaches.

He said the review is necessary to strengthen the country’s ability to identify, investigate and prosecute financial crimes in the banking, securities, insurance, and pensions sectors.

Legislation to be amended include the Securities Act, Banking Act, Insurance Act, and the Pensions Act.

The JCC said it looks forward to the outcome of criminal investigations specific to the known cases of fraud.

“We urge for aggressive efforts to recover the assets of those defrauded and support alacrity to prosecute all those responsible regardless of status or station,” it said.