Investor confidence ‘at-all time low’ –T&T SEC head

(Trinidad Express) The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) has been investigating “several suspicious activities” as part of an effort to rebuild investor confidence which was at “an all- time low” especially since the CL Financial meltdown, TTSEC chairman Deborah Thomas-Felix said yesterday.

She said it was important to build investor confidence in “these turbulent times where globally there are many occurrences of fraud, Ponzi schemes and misuse of investors’ funds”.

“In the Caribbean we are still dealing with the aftershock of the CL Financial debacle, (imprisoned US financier Allen) Stanford crisis and diverse Ponzi schemes in several countries. Investor confidence is at an all-time low locally, regionally and globally,” she added.

Thomas-Felix noted that in an effort to build investor confidence TTSEC “has been actively monitoring, investigating and addressing several suspicious activities in the market in our efforts to maintain its transparency and integrity”.

She was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 8th Annual Caribbean Group of Securities Regulators (CGSR) Meeting and International Conference held yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.

Former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Harvey Pitt, also addressed the gathering.

Thomas-Felix noted that prior to the global economic crisis “many advocated the need for little or no regulation” but since the crisis it is “evident that we need to improve the effectiveness of our global regulatory regime”.

Thomas-Felix noted that in the Caribbean, resources such as regulators were limited and “we definitely require increased human and financial capital within our institutions in this regard”.

President George Maxwell Richards, in his remarks, noted that this country was poised to become a “vibrant financial centre in the region”. He said for this to happen any deficiencies in the governing legislation should be corrected so that it can satisfy international standards.

“Recent and not so recent reports of insider trading, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes and other forms of misbehaviour of actors in the market warn us of the dangers of enforcement regimes which accommodate such misbehaviour that even destroy lives,” he said.

He stressed that whatever is necessary for this country to become a “financial mecca” must be done and in a timely manner “so that we do not lose our footing”.

Thomas-Felix also reported that this country, like many other regional states, was in the process of upgrading its securities legislations to allow Trinidad and Tobago to become signatories to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding “well before” the January 1, 2013, deadline.


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