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JM | Jan 24, 2023

PSOJ welcomes critical reforms amid SSL scandal, wants understanding of impact of new regulatory model

/ Our Today

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The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has welcomed yesterday’s (January 23) announcements around critical reforms aimed at tightening regulations and preventing fraud and other infractions within the financial sector.

In a statement this afternoon, the PSOJ said it noted the announcements, made by Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, in response to the alleged multi-billion dollar fraud that has rocked investment company Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).

Making a policy address on Monday, Clarke pointed to steps being taken to tackle the fraud scandal and the subsequent actions the Government believes are required to bolster the effectiveness of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), which has oversight of the entity and the wider securities dealers industry.

COMMITMENT TO FULL TRANSPARENCY

“Given the devastating impact of this incident, we reiterate the importance of restoring and retaining public confidence within the financial sector,” the PSOJ said.

“As the minister noted, administrations have failed to successfully arrest and prosecute persons who were allegedly responsible during previous criminal financial schemes.

“Therefore, his commitment to full transparency in handling this matter is a welcomed first step and should be recognised as critical in helping to restore public confidence in our governance process.”

“Transparency and efficiency are important to the thorough and expedient probe of this alleged case of fraud; as such, we welcome the investigative and forensic expertise from international bodies.”

Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica

In addition to welcoming the reforms, which, along with tightening regulations, include the implementation of firmer sanctions to dissuade infractions in the sector, the PSOJ said it viewed the changes to the board of the FSC as “solid and positive indicators for reshaping the existing challenges within the industry”.

The organisation said it also anticipated greater penalties for white-collar crimes, which it said are eroding the financial sector’s foundation.

“Transparency and efficiency are important to the thorough and expedient probe of this alleged case of fraud; as such, we welcome the investigative and forensic expertise from international bodies.

The Hope Road headquarters of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. (Photo: psoj.org)

Among those international bodies is the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, which Clarke had indicated has been called in to assist with the SSL probe.

“Further, we note the minister’s announcement to move the financial sector’s supervision to the Twin Peak Model, to implement a more efficient and applicable structure to the Jamaican landscape,” said the PSOJ.

“We recognise that this initial step serves to restore a great deal of confidence and calm within the sector. While we accept that there can be challenges with this model, as seen in other jurisdictions, we believe the advantages outweigh the potential risks it may pose on the financial system if implemented in consultation with all stakeholders in the industry.”

‘REMAIN STRIDENT IN ADDRESSING CRIME AND CORRUPTION’

The organisation however stressed that it wanted to have an appreciation of the long-term repercussions and considerations that would be taken into account when implementing the new Twin Peaks Regulatory Model.

“It is imperative that we remain strident in addressing all instances of crime and corruption to guard against its impact in undermining the social fabric of Jamaica,” the PSOJ concluded.

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