Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Greater confidence


Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission, Professor Patrick Watson, says that it is almost impossible for any regulator to say that a situation like the one surrounding insurance company CLICO will not happen again.

He made the comments recently in response to a question from the media following the signing of the Caribbean Group of Securities Regulators Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Exchange of Information and Co-operation and Consultation at the office of the Financial Service Commission. That MOU was signed by representatives of Barbados, T&T, Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission, and Watson said it is intended to enhance the work of the commissions and boost the confidence of investors in the countries which are signatories.

Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and
Exchange Commission, Professor Patrick Watson.
“You have to understand that a lot of these firms that we regulate, and that’s just the way the game is played, they find we are a nuisance. In all fairness, they employ some the best brains around to defeat us; that is what they do and … sometimes we have to play catch up with what is going on out there and that is why it is so important to make the brightest and best … but it is not always possible,” he pointed out.

As such, Professor Watson contended that it is important to have an arrangement as provided by the MOU, where signatories are obliged to share pertinent information as it relates to ensuring that the regulatory frameworks in their respective countries are adhered to.

“One of the duties of regulators is to register participants in the securities market. We can refuse registration, we can refuse licence to operate if a sister regulator tells us keep far away from that person,” he said.

Meanwhile, Janice Holness, Executive Director of the Financial Services Commission in Jamaica, indicated that the MOU will not only create greater confidence in the jurisdictions, but create greater ease of doing business.

“I can be in Jamaica and I can ask my colleagues here in Barbados to take a witness statement for me, or to provide information that I would have to go through the rigours of a formal application… We can collaborate among ourselves and get information that way. So before I could always call and ask for X or Y, and they could say yes or no… Now this creates the obligation for us to get it done and in a timely manner,” she said. (JRT)

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