In the first of a new category of listings, Jamaica’s largest credit union has introduced shares to the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The Community & Workers of Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union, C & WJCCU, on Friday listed 450 million units of its 7.35% variable deferred shares, which is an important step in a two-year process of changes to policies. rules and accommodations that have innovated, according to JSE Group Managing Director Marlene Street Forrest.
This is the first time in the history of the Jamaica Stock Exchange that we have listed a corporate security that is not issued by a corporation and is not incorporated under the Jamaica Companies Act or from another approved jurisdiction, Street Forrest said at the ceremony.
She added that the rules of the stock market need to be adjusted to take into account the new registration as a licensed entity.
An approved entity means an industrial and provident company, a cooperative society, a construction company, a statutory company, collective investment schemes or any other entity and / or corporate structure permitted by the legislation in force and approved by the purse, she said.
Credit unions were designated as defined financial institutions under a regulatory amendment by the Ministry of Finance in 1999. This triggered a series of organizational and structural changes among the more than 60 credit unions at the time. Now there are only 25.
Also part of the mix was the readiness of credit unions to be regulated by the Bank of Jamaica, replacing the self-regulatory ethos, which has been in place since the emergence of the first credit union in 1940-41.
Along with mergers, credit unions have had to restructure their balance sheets and reclassify the types of stocks their members can hold.
The new requirements allow part of the shares to become fixed or permanent and, as such, treated as equity, as well as a voluntary pool of shares that would be treated as deposits, the cooperative’s registrar said. Errol Gallimore at Financial Gleaner before C & WJCCU list.
Listed deferred shares, while part of the capital adequacy requirements of credit unions, do not affect the ownership structure of C & WJCCU, a union where every member, regardless of the number of shares, has in a voice, Gallimore explained.
Describing the two-year journey to get the shares listed, Carlton Barclay, CEO of C & WJCCU, in an apparent dig among opponents, said that with the help of several partners, the credit union made the impossible possible.
It can’t be done, that’s what we’ve heard or it’s not possible under these rules. Well it has been done, said Barclay.
Being registered with JSE is a giant leap in bringing C&WJ and making it the credit union movement into the 21st century financial world, he added.
Street Forrest by marking this stage was reflected on other before, in particular the quotation of the first title on the junior market Access Financial in 2009; the scope of the offering for Wigton Windfarm, which attracted thousands of new investors to the market last year, and now C & WJCCU as the first approved institution.
Street Forrest says the JSE sees this as a new era for the capital market where entities other than businesses can be market participants.
The Jamaican Stock Exchange sees this IPO listing today as a green push and a signal that trading is picking up and moving in the right direction, she said.
The listing brings the total of JSE securities to 128, by 92 companies. The main market consists of 63 stocks, including 50 listed companies, Street Forrest said.
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