Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2014 Contents JANUARY 2014 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
In early November 2013, Finance Minister Larry Howai
signalled Government s intention to take one step closer
to expanding the T&T Stock Exchange (TTSE). He said
then, the Government wanted to double the number
of companies listing on the exchange and therefore,
more State companies are expected to list in 2014 and beyond.
Piloting that planned expansion of TTSE is newly-appointed
chief executive officer, Michelle Persad, who took up the reins
effective January 1, 2014. Persad spoke to Business Guardian
at the TTSE office, Nicholas Towers, Independence Square,
With more than 23 years experience in investment man-
agement, treasury and merchant banking, she brings to the
TTSE key aspects of the financial and investment environment.
Persad replaces Wainwright Iton, who left thte TTSE to become
chief executive officer of the Securities and Exchange Com-
Commenting on her appointment, Persad said: "Mr Iton s
shoes are big shoes to fill, he has been at the stock exchange
for some time and he is the face associated with the exchange."
Determined to "hit the ground running," Persad said her
investment experience is an asset to the TTSE as she clearly
sees the needs of investors and the TTSE s role in providing
investment opportunities for them.
"When you are involved in treasury, you get a good feel for
what moves the market, in general, in terms of the money
market as well as the investment side of things."
Coming from the banking sector to the stock exchange,
Persad said it s no longer utilising her technical skills, but also
her management skills.
The former Naparima Girls High School student takes up
her appointment at a time when the financial sector is under-
going changes, especially with new financial legislation, keeping
up with the changes is not an issue.
"I am accustomed to reviewing things, like legislation and
so on, because being on the merchant banking side, you have
to do some work with legal documents. In terms of ensuring
regulations are followed, yes, you have to be on the ball, which
is not a problem."
"Right now we are at a turning point. The stock market
was going through a slow period around 2009. Last year we
saw a pick up in the amount of trading activity/listings - this
seems to be a turning point in the market. Last year the TTSE
returned about 17 per cent and this year we anticipate positive
According to Persad, value of traded stocks in 2013 increased
by 48 per cent to $1.1 billion and the number of shares increased
by 93 per cent to 97.98 million shares in 2013.
"The First Citizens listing and the Clico Investment Fund
listing provided an energy to the market where you had a lot
of activity picking up. You had investors more willing to buy
and sell because if there are new listings, then investors may
be more encouraged to rebalance their portfolios because
demand picked up for shares in general, the stock market went
"We do have under clear focus our legislation, we have our
rules the stock exchange rules. Our requirement is to amend
those rules to be in line with the new Securities Act. We were
given a grace period of two years and we are on target to
amend those rules, which have to be amended and approved
by the SEC."
Asked what were some of those rules and amendments,
Persad said: "I can t speak to the amendments because I
haven t looked at it yet."
While encourages companies to list, Persad explained some
businesses may find the disclosure requirement a bit "oner-
"We can t really push companies to list. They make their
business decisions as they fit. In other countries, the markets
are different so the listing might be more attractive to a
company. We know conditions change in the market, so we
stand ready should a listing become more attractive alternative
to firms, we stand ready to facilitate the process."
She addressed the issue of liquidity and a choice to list.
"Liquidity makes debt financing more accessible. With the
limited menu of investments available and very large amounts
of liquidity remaining in the system, it been a challenge for
There are other strategies for growing the TTSE: "New
listings would be one line of business (for growing the TTSE);
another line of business would be custodial facilities."
A custodial facility is where investors would place their
assets with T&T Central Depository, so the TTSE acts as a
Michelle Persad, new chief executive
officer, T&T Stock Exchange.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
New TTSE CEO Michelle Persad...
Plans to 'hit the ground running'
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