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Caribbean Management Talk

Looking For Growth in Trinidad

Author: Staff
Last Update: Nov 18, 2:16 PM ET

Click here to view the detailed PDF version

Wain Iton
One of the significant markets in the Caribbean region, the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, still has a lot of room to grow. Dealing with illiquidity and a limited offering, the manager Wain Iton primarily focuses on attracting new listings and new types of securities traded.
Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange
Yes, we need to try and find an avenue to those people. At the same time, however, we have to be thinking seriously about increasing the supply. Right now, the investment menu is limited and you have to be buying the same thing over and over. Thatís why I believe that the biggest challenge is getting new listings and new products.

Q: When do you think that the Trinidad and Tobago Exchange will be demutualized?

Itís essentially not a mutual company, but a hybrid. Every listed company on our board owns part of the stock exchange. The brokers own 50% and the listed companies own the other 50%. Demutualization is on the table, but itís really a bit of a misnomer in the sense that weíre not a mutual company.

Q: Whatís your policy for new members who come from outside Trinidad and Tobago?

To be a member, you have to be registered here as a Trinidad and Tobago company. If a foreign company wants to be listed, it must have local representation and a SEC registration. Then it can apply. My perspective about access is that we have to move to a position where anyone with competence and capital can trade on the market.

Q: Are there any restrictions for foreign investors?

There are no restrictions in terms of the size of the equity owned. However, it also depends on the nature of the company. For example, in June the Royal Bank of Canada bought the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. That banking deal, of course, needed approval from the Central bank. But thereís no real prohibition on anybody buying Trinidad and Tobago shares.

Q: Can the investors place trades online?

No, they have to go through the broker; there is no direct access. Thatís something that we may eventually get to, but weíre not online yet. However, just like in Jamaica, we are in the process of creating a virtual stock market game and involving students into that.

Q: In your view, whatís the biggest challenge for the development of the exchange?

Our biggest challenge is to grow this market, and to make it as efficient as possible. We are configured to international standards in terms of the trading platform and the settlement arrangements. A main objective of the government is to develop an international financial center here and we have a pivotal role to play in that project.

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