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JM | Jul 20, 2021

Jamaica Stock Exchange boss gets honorary doctorate

/ Our Today

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Street Forrest cited as an exemplary leader who has blazed a trail of firsts and extraordinary achievements for Jamaica’s stock market

Marlene Street Forrest, managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. (Photo: JIS)

Marlene Street Forrest, managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), has been conferred with an honorary doctoral degree in public policy by the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC).

The UCC has cited Street-Forrest as an exemplary leader, who has blazed a trail of firsts and extraordinary achievements for Jamaica in the complex and intricate world of stock market exchanges.

The native of Port Antonio, in Portland, as managing director, has been guiding the JSE toward the realisation of its vision of facilitating growth and development of the company and the Jamaican economy by allowing for the mobilization, exchange and expansion of capital, while providing a return on equity that is acceptable to shareholders.

In a citation presented to Street Forrest, it read that under her stewardship the JSE became demutualised and the US denominated market and Junior Market launched. She has also spearheaded the Registrar Division of the Jamaica Central Depository where she served as general manager for this subsidiary of the JSE.

Jamaica Stock Exchange in downtown Kingston.

Today, the JSE is one of the largest stock exchanges in the Caribbean, both in size and market capitalisation. It is also one of the most diverse exchanges in the region, encompassing sectors like banking and finance, retail, manufacturing, insurance, leisure, communications, conglomerates, services and real estate.

The JSE was in 2019 named the world’s top performing stock exchange by Bloomberg Business Week. That same year, the JSE partnered with the prestigious Toronto-based FinTech Blackstone to enable issuance of digital assets and later, migrated to Nasdaq trading platforms. 

Awards won by JSE boss

Street Forrest also received the Afroglobal Excellence Award for Global Impact from Canada for exhibiting great leadership, vision, integrity and commitment to excellence.

Her prowess in financial management has brought her honour in her home country too.

In 2016 she was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander in recognition of her outstanding leadership in the growth of the JSE.

In 2017 she was celebrated by the Institute for Gender & Development Studies of The University of the West Indies as a woman pioneer and in 2018 she received the Rotary Club of Kingston East & Port Royal Vocational Services Award.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaks with Jamaica Stock Exchange Managing Director Marlene Street Forrest during for the JSE’s 14th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston in January 2019. (Photo: JIS)

It is evident to all that an efficiently functioning stock market is critical to economic development, providing capital to companies that can be used to fund their expansion and give investors an opportunity to share profits of publicly traded companies. 

Excelling in a man’s world

Street Forrest has positioned the JSE in the conversation among much older world leaders like the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

“She has excelled in what has traditionally been regarded as a man’s world, winning respect not only for herself but serving as an inspiration for all women for blazing a trail of excellence internationally in the securities markets and financial services industry,” the UCC said.

“Still, balancing all of her professional commitments, she makes time to serve as a volunteer and to give community ‘service as a justice of the peace and a director of the Good Samaritan Inn – working for the upliftment of the poor and marginalised. The UCC is proud to present Mrs Marlene Street Forrest, CD, JP, phenomenal leader, wife and mother with the Honorary Doctoral Degree in Public Policy.”

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