Residents are being encouraged to take their savings from the commercial banking system and invest in companies listed on the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE).
This advice has come from BSE Chief Executive Officer Marlon Yarde, who pointed out that the stock exchange was playing a major role in helping to improve corporate governance in Barbados.
He argued that with low interest rates and the BSE’s quest to become more competitive, residents should make the switch.
“Having large sums of money in the bank is not an investment, especially in these times of low and even negative interest rates,” said Yarde.
“I advise you to invest in a company listed on the Barbados Stock Exchange or become part of our innovation and growth market,” Yarde told the opening of the BSE’s 7th annual Corporate Governance and Accountability Conference at the Hilton Resort on Friday.
He said the stock exchange was on its way to becoming more competitive, but did not need more competition to do so.
“We need help by way of providing incentives for SMEs to take advantage of our recently relaunched Innovation and Growth Market, formerly our Junior Market, so that persons can come on board and grow their companies and earn real returns,” said Yarde.
In relation to the BSE’s progress in helping to improve the business climate in Barbados, Yarde insisted that corporate governance was important and in that regard the stock exchange had developed a corporate governance code, a draft of which was completed last year.
He said the intention was to bring the recommendations, which were developed in 2014, “in line with developments of governance practice” and streamline and simplify the recommendations.
He explained that the new measures were aimed at harmonizing the practices of listed companies, improving transparency of their operations, providing a basis of consistency for information provided to shareholders, improving the quality of disclosure and enforcing accountabilities.
“We expect to promote investor confidence, increase local and international investor awareness in listed companies in Barbados, engender public trust in the functions in the securities and capital markets and ensure that the Barbados Stock Exchange corporate governance code reflects a standard consistent with the best practices,” he said.
“Since completion, the code was reviewed and edited by our corporate governance committee of the BSE. The document will be submitted to our listed companies, regulators and investing public for consultation. We also intend to develop the guidance for users of the code,” he said, adding that it was the hope of the BSE to have the revised code in place by January next year.
Insisting that “we can improve the business climate in Barbados”, the BSE boss cited the latest World Bank Doing Business report, in which the country was ranked 168 out of 190 countries.
Yarde said Barbados was given a score of 35 out of 100 when it came to best practices, while the average for the Caribbean and Latin America was 47.5.
He said the World Bank gave a total of 25 recommendations and suggested that they be “codified into Barbados’ law”, and he pointed out that several of the recommendations were included in the BSE’s corporate governance code.
“There is much work to be done and we are going to do our part,” Yarde pledged.
Friday’s conference attracted a number of company directors and governance professionals from Barbados and the region.