After concerns raised, gov’t to ‘review & modernise’ stock exchange law


An overhaul of the Guyana Stock Exchange has been called for by private sector stakeholders and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC says the government intends to review and modernise the law that governs the local Securities Council.

Nandlall, during his weekly ‘Issues in the News’ programme said a review of the Securities Industry Act (the law), has begun.

“I am pleased to announce that the President has instructed a review of the relevant law, the Guyana Securities Council Act, and to modernise it, expand it and to refashion it to meet an expanding, competitive and modern commercial and financial environment developing in Guyana,” Nandlall said.

According to him, experts who will assist in the review process were engaged. Another expert is still being pursued.

So why is this being done?

First, some context. Securities refer broadly to investments including stocks and bonds. And the local Securities Council, by law, functions to regulate the local securities market, including the Guyana Stock Exchange.

A stock exchange facilitates the buying and selling of shares of publicly traded companies. Some of the companies listed on the Guyana Stock Exchange are: Banks DIH Limited, Citizens Bank Guyana Inc, Demerara Bank Limited, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited, and Sterling Products Limited.

In strong public statements recently, members of the local private sector expressed their disappointment at the operations of the Guyana Stock Exchange.

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), in a statement, called for an overhaul.

“The lack of necessary infrastructure, technological advancements, and regulatory framework at the GSE compromises the financial health of businesses, restricts their ability to attract investment, and ultimately hampers their growth potential,” the City Chamber said in its statement.

President of the GCCI Kester Hutson

On Thursday, GCCI President Kester Hutson told the News Room that the body recognises access to financing is a huge challenge locally and a thriving stock exchange could help small and medium-sized businesses raise funds instead of solely relying on traditional loan arrangements with commercial banks.

“We recognise the 75% of our members are small and medium sized business who certainly won’t have readily available finance from the bank and we want to ensure options are out there and not just through the banks.

“…We’ve recognised that in the current state, Guyana’s own (the stock exchange) is not doing what it ought to,” Hutson said.

Now that the government is reviewing the Securities law, Hutson said the City Chamber will readily offer its suggestions on how the financial space can be improved. Easier access to information is one area, he said, needs attention.

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