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Capital Markets Redefined: Achieving The Impossible



Good evening and welcome to the 18th JSE Group’s Regional Conference on Investment and the Capital Markets. We are pleased to be hosting this stellar and premium conference on investments and the capital markets in collaboration with our international, regional and local lead sponsors: Jefferies and NCB Investments Limited and Dequity Capital Management Limited, as well as other invaluable sponsors who have been with us over all these years or those who have recently joined us. We appreciate this vital support which has been the life blood of the event.

Tonight, I celebrate the fact that we are once again congregated in a manner that brings out the best in us, that is the ability to feel the pulse of discussions and to greet each other with a sense of positivity and in a spirit of collaboration. I am pleased that we have returned to a face-to-face setting aided by technology to facilitate those who are unable to be here in person, throughout the three (3) days of conference.

However you choose to join us, we know that there will be significant opportunities available for you to listen, participate, dream and ultimately to innovate and implement. We also know that you will have an enhanced experience this year as we celebrate the18th staging of this forum which is considered the blue ribbon capital markets and investments event in our region.

As capital market operants, we are conscious that as the world turns, the capital markets are not static and are driven by economic activities, entities and expectations of all who operate therein. As we look and plan for innovations, we must plan for the myriad of risks that are around and surround us.

Let us embrace the conference theme: ‘Conference Markets Redefined – Achieving the Impossible’ as it begs us to contemplate how markets can achieve what is impossible. Impossible here is used within the context of the present and how a country, or a region is perceived. However, the impossible calls for visionary thinking that propels us to see the future differently and find how we can make a difference. Therefore, the charge for this Conference is for us as regional leaders in the capital markets, to dare to be different in ways that allow us to shine in technological innovation, developing sustainable products and services and providing solutions that can be adapted globally.

Financial markets ecosystems are changing and with ingenuity comes superior risks and rewards. Therefore, actors in the capital markets must quickly adopt and adapt to new technologies to deliver superior services aimed at surpassing customers’ requirements and expectations and delivering real return on investments. That is how achieving the ‘Impossible’ can and should be measured.

I quote no statistics tonight when I say ‘Re-imagined’ could mean simply getting back to the basics of life, hearts that are pure and a love that endures that would see us building the capital markets on the back of service and care; a care that would drive us to embrace the concept and fact that if we are to build faster and move further, we must collaborate to develop the social sector by improving the ecosystem and concentrating on the social sector as an engine of growth.

During the course of this Capital Markets Conference, we will be delving into solutions that will propel the growth of the capital markets in a manner that democratizes wealth while building sustainable economies. The solutions will provide us with a sense of pride which is more than profits, but one that creates the multiplier effect for the overall upliftment of our people. While we discuss frameworks and governance, let us not be carried away by them but immerse ourselves into the frame of mind to work conscientiously with proper governance systems and procedures, so they live and breathe and take root within the culture of our organization.

It is important that as we navigate through unprecedented changes in the markets that we research fresh approaches that will drive micro and macroeconomic stability for our region. In closing, the Jamaica Stock Exchange wishes to reassure the region and the world that we understand that confidence and transparency drives a market, and we continue to be proactive in our approach to protect those who depend on us to deliver on our promise of mobilizing capital for growth within a fair, ethical, efficient and transparent environment.

As you delve into the upcoming days of conference, I wish you every success. The Conference has been strategically placed at the beginning of the year to help set the tone for the coming months. It will examine issues such as:

Opportunities for growth through investments from the Diaspora;
Doing business in Africa;
*The use of technology to re-shape businesses;
*The digital assets market;
*Food security;
*Alternative investments;
*Corporate governance;
*Renewable energy
And other stimulating topics of discussion.
We will have our always exciting Venture Capital Pitch Room and of course our signature networking event ‘Fashion, Culture & Cuisine’. We have an array of speakers who will stimulate, energize and encourage you to dream the impossible dream; to fight those unbeatable foes; to bear with unbearable sorrow; to run where the brave dare not go, and to reach the unreachable stars.

This should be our quest as we use this Regional Conference to meet, greet and network, knowing that the discussions, deliberations, sharing and caring are the keys to ‘Reimaging the Regional Capital Markets and Achieving the Impossible.

Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director, JSE, addressed the opening night of the JSE Conference on the topic: “Capital Markets Redefined: Achieving the Impossible”

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Businessuite News24

Teachers Make Better Strategic Planning Facilitators!…..Ronnie Sutherland



In the nuanced field of strategic planning facilitation, success hinges not just on the facilitator’s ability to strategize but, crucially, on their capacity to convey complex concepts in an accessible manner. Drawing from over ten years of experience in secondary and tertiary education, I’ve discovered that teaching skills are beneficial and essential for facilitating effective strategic planning sessions, especially in medium-sized companies where strategic planning knowledge can vary widely among senior managers.

The challenge many facilitators face is bridging the gap between high-level strategic concepts and the practical understanding of their participants. This is where prior teaching experience becomes a significant advantage. Teaching has honed my ability to break down complex ideas into relatable, understandable chunks, making strategic planning concepts more accessible to all participants, regardless of their initial level of understanding.

This skill is invaluable in strategic planning sessions where diverse knowledge levels can otherwise create barriers to engagement and understanding. A facilitator with a background in teaching is equipped with techniques to assess comprehension, adapt explanations to meet the audience’s needs and engage participants in a manner that fosters meaningful dialogue and collaboration. These capabilities ensure that strategic planning sessions are not just meetings but learning experiences that empower participants to contribute more effectively to the planning process.

Moreover, facilitators with teaching experience are adept at creating an inclusive environment that encourages questions and fosters a deeper level of engagement among senior managers who might otherwise be hesitant to admit their gaps in understanding. This approach enhances the quality of strategic planning outcomes and builds a culture of continuous learning within the organization.

In my practice, leveraging teaching strategies such as storytelling, real-world examples, and interactive discussions has proven to be a game-changer. These methods clarify strategic planning concepts and make sessions more engaging and memorable, facilitating a deeper and more practical understanding of strategic plans.

In conclusion, the intersection of teaching and strategic planning facilitation offers a powerful blend of skills that can significantly enhance the effectiveness of strategic planning sessions. It turns out that the ability to educate is as critical as the ability to strategize. As organizations seek to navigate complex strategic landscapes, the value of facilitators with teaching experience cannot be overstated. Our unique skill set not only demystifies strategic planning but also equips senior managers with the knowledge and confidence to drive their companies forward.

This article emphasizes the importance of teaching skills in strategic planning facilitation and how it can be a game-changer for businesses looking to enhance their strategic planning processes.





Ronnie Sutherland is a strategic planning expert and the managing partner at Strategic Solutions Limited, which offers strategic planning facilitation services to guide companies’ strategic planning processes. Contact. Email:



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Businessuite News24

Are Your Strategy, Structure And Reward System Aligned?…….Ronnie Sutherland



Organizations are constantly pressured to adapt and innovate to remain competitive in an era of rapid technological advancements and shifting market dynamics. Dr. Jay Galbraith of the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, and author of “Designing Organizations,” provides a striking diagnosis of a common ailment plaguing many businesses today: “Too many organizations have tomorrow’s strategy, today’s structure, and yesterday’s reward system.” This statement encapsulates the misalignment between what companies aspire to achieve, how they are organized to achieve it, and how they motivate their workforce to drive success.

At the heart of this misalignment is the forward-looking nature of strategic planning contrasted with the often static nature of organizational structures and reward systems. Companies are adept at envisioning future market trends and positioning themselves to capitalize on these opportunities. However, the structures within which they operate and the mechanisms by which they incentivize their employees frequently lag, anchored in models that were perhaps effective in the past but are now increasingly obsolete.

Strategy for Tomorrow Requires Structures and Rewards for Tomorrow

For a strategy to be effectively implemented, it requires an organizational structure that is flexible, dynamic, and aligned with strategic objectives. Traditional hierarchies and departmental silos can impede communication and decision-making, slowing down an organization’s ability to respond to market changes. Adaptive structures, such as those based on networks or teams that can be reconfigured as needed, support the rapid execution of strategic initiatives.
Equally important is the evolution of reward systems. Yesterday’s rewards, often focused on individual performance and short-term achievements, may not effectively motivate the behaviours needed for long-term strategic success. Modern organizations must design reward systems that promote collaboration, innovation, and alignment with the company’s strategic goals. This might include recognizing team achievements, investing in professional development, and tying compensation to the organisation’s strategic objectives.

Bridging the Gap

Continuous evaluation and alignment are the keys to bridging the gap between strategy, structure, and reward systems. Organizations should be visionary in their strategic planning and agile in their organizational design, ensuring that structures and systems evolve in tandem with strategic goals. This requires a commitment to organizational learning and development, where feedback mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of structures and rewards in achieving strategic objectives.

Leadership plays a crucial role in this process. Leaders must be catalysts for change, championing and facilitating the alignment between strategy, structure, and rewards. This involves communicating the strategic vision throughout the organization, fostering a culture that embraces change, and ensuring that the organizational design and reward systems are continuously evaluated and adjusted to support strategic objectives.


Dr. Galbraith’s observation serves as a timely reminder for businesses navigating the complexities of the modern marketplace. Success in this environment demands a visionary strategy and an organizational design and reward system that is in lockstep with strategic objectives. By aligning tomorrow’s strategy with today’s structure and reward system, organizations can position themselves to achieve sustainable competitive advantage and long-term success.

Ronnie Sutherland is a strategic planning expert and the managing partner at Strategic Solutions Limited, which offers strategic planning facilitation services to guide companies’ strategic planning processes. Contact. Email:


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Businessuite Women

The Success Of Our Financial Markets Is Intertwined With The Success Of This Collaboration.



The Recent Context: In reflecting on recent industry discussions, particularly in the aftermath of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Regional Conference on Investments and the Capital Markets, a common thread emerged—a resounding call for education, training, and continued professional development. It underscores the dynamic nature of our financial landscape and the pivotal role that collaboration between accountants and regulators plays in ensuring a robust and trustworthy financial ecosystem.

Today I will share my thoughts on the collaboration between accountants and regulators, a crucial alliance that stands as the bedrock of investor confidence and the integrity of our financial markets. My thoughts are by no means new to you but are worthy of repeating. In the intricate dance of numbers and regulations, regulators and accountants must join forces not only to maintain the equilibrium of financial systems but to safeguard the very essence of investors’ trust.

The Unsung Heroes – Accountants and Regulators: Before delving into the heart of my presentation I would also like to take a moment to recognize who I believe are the unsung heroes in our financial narrative—accountants and regulators. Both work diligently, often behind the scenes, to uphold the integrity and transparency of our financial markets. It is this collective effort that enables investors to make informed decisions with confidence or to have a recourse when things go wrong which sometimes it does.

Global Trust in Accountants: Accountants serve as custodians of financial truth. This meticulous work as you know involves not just crunching numbers but ensuring that financial records are accurate, transparent, and adhere to the ever-evolving accounting standards. It is through this dedication that investors can rely on the information presented by companies. As the world at large becomes more and more wary of business operations, it is noteworthy that, global perceptions of chartered accountants have undergone a significant transformation. Recent studies indicate a surge in trust of investors during times of economic turbulence and uncertainty. Chartered accountants have emerged as the most trusted financial professionals, with increased recognition of their role in ensuring transparency and confidence. This is because of standard setting, adherence to standards and regulations and the willingness to be proactive and cooperate and collaborate with stakeholders including other standard setting bodies, government and regulatory bodies.

Similarly, in our local context, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica plays a pivotal role in monitoring and upholding the standards of integrity, objectivity, professional competence, and confidentiality. The trust bestowed upon accountants in our jurisdiction mirrors the global trend, reflecting the adherence to these high standards.

In tandem with accountants, regulators act as the vigilant overseers of financial markets. Regulators craft and enforce the rules that govern fair play, market transparency, and investors protection. Regulators are the guardians of market integrity, working tirelessly to detect and prevent fraudulent activities, ensuring a level playing field for all participants. There is therefore cross functional activities between regulators and accountants for the primary purpose of protecting investors.

There must be the Collective Will to act as ‘trustee’ for investors. At the heart of our financial stability lies the collaboration between accountants and regulators. This partnership extends beyond professional duties—it is a shared commitment to act in the public interest, safeguarding the investments and interests of our stakeholders, particularly investors. We saw this played out during the COVID period between ourselves, ICAJ and the FSC where we understood that balance between investors receiving information and the other issues that prevailed. Both Accountants and regulators must work to ensure the strength and proper functioning of our capital markets. This collaboration is indispensable, particularly as investors rely heavily on credible financial information to make sound decisions.

The Role of Accountants: Let’s not underestimate the pivotal role that accountants play in this process. Whether as CFOs, internal auditors, or line and staff accountants, this ability to people in this profession to provide honest and accurate information in a timely manner and in keeping with international best practices, and other legal and regulatory frameworks is the linchpin for attracting capital, maintaining and preserving capital of investors. High-quality and timely information, meticulously provided by accountants, is the lifeblood of our capital markets.

Success Stories: Our markets stand strong due to the active and open dialogue between accountants and regulators. Even at the Exchange, the Regulatory and Market Oversight Division and the ICAJ have active dialogue on market developments, interpretations, and standards that are aimed at ensuring that investors receive the best reports. This collaboration between accountants and regulators has yielded success stories, with oversubscribed offers and successful capital raises, exemplifying the effectiveness of our financial ecosystem. In 2023, we witnessed a commendable mobilization of $18.74 billion in capital through IPOs, APOs, and private offers facilitated by the collaborative efforts of CFOs, accountants, and auditors. The connection here is that without accurate, credible financial information investors would be hard pressed to invest in the capital markets.

Navigating Challenges – A Testimony to Collaboration: The true test of collaboration is evident during challenging times. The recent global pandemic, COVID-19, posed unprecedented challenges, requiring quick and effective responses. The collaboration between regulators and accountants ensured that despite the turmoil, issuers remained compliant, demonstrating the resilience and adaptability of our financial ecosystem.

Adaptability has to be the hallmark of accountants and regulators. Your Agenda seeks to Navigate the Evolving Landscape but even as we delve into the agenda for this workshop, the landscape of the capital markets is evolving rapidly. New products, new services, and even new schemes aimed to mislead crops up daily giving accountants and regulators cause to work to find solutions for disclosures or enhancement of standards to ensure that investors are adequately protected.

Your discussions will undoubtedly cover an array of topics, from reporting methodologies to the introduction of sophisticated products and services in this digital age. The ICAJ and members, by having a robust knowledge of applicable laws and regulations, will play a pivotal role in shaping this landscape.

The Future of Reporting: Looking ahead, our focus must extend to the future of reporting. As we build out new and more sophisticated products and services within this digital age, the ICAJ and its members are at the forefront of ensuring that reporting standards are not just benchmarked but are also easily understood, quantifiable, and measurable. This commitment is essential for investors to appreciate and value their investments.
Crafting Rules and Standards: Collaboration between regulatory bodies and the accounting profession is paramount. Rules and standards must be crafted, enforced, and reported on to remove unnecessary barriers to trade. The information shared and the structures in place will enhance trust in the business climate, aiding investors in making informed decisions about capital allocation.

Preserving the Financial Reporting Supply Chain: In closing, let us acknowledge that the accounting fraternity serves as the vigilant watchguard for the rules and regulations set by regulators. This role becomes even more critical in an age of rapid changes. As we seek to keep pace with global regulatory requirements, active collaboration on matters relating to data protection, new financial instruments valuation, and sustainability reporting is an imperative.

A Call for Collaboration: In essence, our success hinges on preserving what we can aptly call the Financial Reporting Supply Chain. Throughout all stages of this chain, from setting parameters for financial statements to enforcing compliance, the accounting fraternity must ensure that the last link, the investors, is protected.

Closing Thoughts: There has never been any doubt in my mind that the accounting fraternity is integral to these stages, adding trust to the entire process. As we collectively navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, let us reaffirm our commitment to collaboration, transparency, and the shared goal of benefiting investors. The success of our financial markets is intertwined with the success of this collaboration.

Speech by Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange given at the Annual International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Virtual Workshop organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ), February 2-3, 2024.


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Leadership Conversations

Business Strategy Is More Like Playing Golf Than Playing Chess.



It is almost second nature for business managers to be laser-focused on the competition. I once worked at a fairly large company where the chairman was obsessed with what the competitors were doing. His evaluation of his team of managers depended on how much they knew about competitor activities. I recall one meeting when I tried to get the Chairman to understand that our narrow focus on competitors distracted us from looking towards the future, and it almost got me fired.

Having worked for many years in senior-level leadership positions in some of Jamaica’s largest and best-run companies across several business sectors, I was privileged to see the various perspectives that came to bear on strategy decisions. Early in my career, I believed business strategy was akin to playing chess. As I became more familiar with the intricacies of strategic planning, I began to see that business strategy is more like playing golf.

I have found that drawing a parallel between golf and business offers a compelling perspective on strategy and focus. In golf, the essence of the game lies not in direct competition with other players but in understanding and navigating the course itself. Each hole presents its challenges, from bunkers and water hazards to the length of the fairway and the wind’s direction. The golfer must assess these factors, adapt their strategy, and execute their shots precisely while maintaining a calm and focused demeanour. The goal is to minimize strokes, not to outplay the competitors directly.

Similarly, in business, the “course” can be understood as the company’s operating environment, encompassing market dynamics, consumer trends, regulatory landscapes, and technological advancements. Like in golf, business success requires a deep understanding of this environment and navigating its complexities effectively. Companies must assess how these external factors will change and adapt their strategies accordingly. This might involve innovating new products, entering or exiting markets, adjusting to regulatory changes, or leveraging new technologies.

Moreover, just as a golfer adjusts their club selection and approach with each shot, considering the distance, wind, and hazards, businesses must be agile, constantly evaluating their position relative to the evolving market and adjusting their strategies to maintain or gain competitive advantage. The focus should be on playing the “course” to the best of their ability rather than fixating on the competition.

In golf and business, success comes from understanding and adapting to the environment, making strategic decisions based on this understanding, and executing plans precisely. It’s about playing the course, not the competition. This approach encourages a proactive, rather than reactive, stance, ensuring that a business, like a golfer, is well-equipped to navigate the challenges ahead and seize opportunities for success.

Ronnie Sutherland is a strategic planning expert and the managing partner at Strategic Solutions Limited, which offers strategic planning facilitation services to guide companies’ strategic planning processes. Contact. Email:

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Leadership Conversations

Influential Caribbean Leaders Shaping the Future



The Caribbean region is known for its vibrant culture, diverse communities, and increasingly, its dynamic leadership on the global stage. As we navigate through the complexities of the 21st century, several leaders stand out for their contributions to their nations and the broader Caribbean community. These visionaries are not only addressing the immediate challenges their countries face but are also laying down the groundwork for a prosperous and resilient future.

Trailblazing Political Leaders

In the realm of politics, the Caribbean has seen a number of influential figures who have transcended local boundaries to make a mark internationally. These leaders are characterized by their innovative approaches to governance, commitment to sustainability, and advocacy for social justice. Their leadership transcends politics, impacting economic policies, social reforms, and environmental conservation efforts.






One such leader is Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados. Under her leadership, Barbados has made significant strides in addressing climate change, advocating for small island developing states on the global stage, and pushing for economic innovation. Mottley’s bold decision to transition Barbados into a republic, moving away from colonial legacies, signifies a new era of self-determination and national pride for the Caribbean island.






In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been a steadfast advocate for regional integration and economic diversification. His tenure has seen a focus on education reforms, infrastructure development, and bolstering the agricultural sector to ensure food security and sustainability. Gonsalves’ commitment to Caribbean unity and resilience serves as a model for collaborative regional efforts.






Another notable leader is President Irfaan Ali of Guyana. Taking the helm of one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Ali is navigating Guyana’s recent oil discoveries with an eye on sustainable development and equitable distribution of wealth. His presidency marks a pivotal moment for Guyana and the Caribbean, as the nation explores ways to leverage its resources while promoting environmental stewardship and inclusivity.

Social Visionaries and Economic Strategists

Beyond traditional politics, the Caribbean is home to leaders who are pioneering change in social and economic spheres. These individuals are leveraging technology, cultural capital, and international partnerships to transform their societies and, by extension, the region.







Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica is leading his island’s efforts to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Skerrit’s vision of a “Nature Island” encompasses aggressive reforestation initiatives, investment in renewable energy, and construction of climate-resilient infrastructure, setting an example for sustainable development worldwide.








Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, is focused on economic diversification to ensure long-term prosperity. Recognizing the challenges of an energy-dependent economy, Rowley is promoting investment in manufacturing, tourism, and technology sectors. His approach to governance emphasizes stability, innovation, and preparing the nation’s workforce for the future.








The Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, is championing education reform and digital transformation as pillars for national development. By investing in digital infrastructure and education, Holness aims to position Jamaica as a leader in technology and innovation in the Caribbean. His commitment to harnessing the power of technology for social and economic advancement is shaping a new vision for Jamaica’s future.

Mia Mottley’s leadership has positioned Barbados as a strong advocate for climate action.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves champions Caribbean unity and resilience.
President Irfaan Ali is steering Guyana towards sustainable wealth distribution.
Roosevelt Skerrit’s commitment to making Dominica a climate-resilient nation is globally recognized.

These leaders, among others, exemplify the diverse and forward-thinking leadership emerging from the Caribbean. Amidst challenges such as climate change, economic vulnerability, and social inequality, they are crafting innovative solutions that not only address immediate concerns but also lay the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous future. By doing so, they are not only impacting their nations but also contributing to the Caribbean’s collective identity on the global stage.

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