For two days, June 7 and 8, the Jamaica Stock Exchange, JSE, will be in the Dominican Republic in downtown Santo Domingo to attract the attention of investors in that country and facilitate the forging of alliances.
Managing Director of JSE Group Marlene Street Forrest said on Monday that it will be the first of several conferences planned for regional countries. Next month’s confab will be the first outside the exchange’s home base of Jamaica.
“With over 18 years of experience in the planning and execution of world class conferences and the reputation the conference has in the corporate landscape, the JSE has decided to host the first delivery of its Regional Investments & Capital Markets Conference outside of Jamaica in the Dominican Republic,” said Street Forrest.
“The conference will allow for future dialogue with regional stock exchanges regarding connectivity and the trading of securities on each market thereby attracting more global players to the region,” she said.
The JSE Capital Markets Conference is held yearly in January in Jamaica with co-sponsorship from local and international investment companies. It attracts participants the world over, including the Caribbean, South America, North America, Asia and Africa.
In its rationale for selecting Dominican Republic as the first offshore venue for the mid-year event, the JSE cited its geographical location but also its political, economic and social stability, but also noted that the Dom Rep government favours foreign direct investment and encourages it by offering various incentives and tax exemptions to foreign investors, thereby facilitating higher returns on their investments.
Not only is the Dominican Republic one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America and the Caribbean, it’s an upper middle-income developing country that’s on track to becoming a high-income country by 2030.
It’s now the seventh economy in Latin America with a forecasted US$98 billion in GDP this year. Its notable sectors include mining, tourism, manufacturing, medical devices, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, energy, telecommunications and agriculture, JSE said.
“This positions the Dominican Republic as a prime location for investment and expansion,” Street Forrest said in an interview with the Financial Gleaner.
The conference scheduled for the Real InterContinental Hotel in Santa Domingo comes on the heels of a trade mission to Dominican Republic that was led by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Senator Aubyn Hill in March.
“It is the JSE’s goal to forge greater relationships with its Latin American and Caribbean neighbours, hence its hosting of the Dominican Republic conference is a perfect starting point,” Street Forrest said.
Like the Jamaican event, the JSE said June confab will include participants from Jamaica and the Caribbean, Latin America, North America, Asia and Africa.
“Some of the participants from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic will be able to pick up from where they left off at the recently concluded Jamaica-Dominican Republic Business Forum held in Jamaica in February,” the JSE head said.
Also, like the Jamaica event, the upcoming conference will have the New York-based Jefferies investment bank as its title sponsor. It will bring together players in the financial services industry to discuss developments in the capital markets, its future growth and “assist in the creation of partnerships and improve understanding between financial institutions to allow for the generation of investment opportunities”, and provide a showcase for industry trends, products, and services, Street Forrest said.
In recent years, the conference has been focussed on attracting medium-sized companies to the market, with the JSE head attributing some of the success of the junior market, in terms of its listing, to that agenda.
Jamaica’s stock market is valued at about $2 trillion, and while the vast majority of that is attributable to the wealth that resides in large cap stocks such as NCB Financial, Scotia Group, Sagicor Jamaica, GraceKennedy and Supreme Ventures, the junior market now has an equal number of ordinary companies at 48, and that’s after three of its numbers had migrated to the main market at different points in the past four years, namely Eppley Limited, Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited and Key Insurance Company. The value residing in the current 48 junior listings as at end-April was around $185 billion.
“The conference provides everyone with an immediate return on investment as it provides a productive platform, which builds confidence, spurs wealth creation and enable businesses and their sectors to thrive in an ever-evolving complex world economy,” Street Forrest said.