Jamaica Gleaner - - CLASSIFIEDS - Daviot Kelly Staff Re­porter

TALK ABOUT the stock mar­ket and trad­ing, and some peo­ple will shy away faster than be­ing called to sing karaoke.

But one per­son who knows the Ja­maica Stock Ex­change (JSE) in­side out is Mar­lene Street For­rest, the cur­rent gen­eral man­ager. Un­der her stew­ard­ship, the JSE has seen tremen­dous growth, in­clud­ing the birth and con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of its ju­nior mar­ket. Street For­rest re­vealed that she was very pas­sion­ate about it from its in­cep­tion.

“We were not get­ting the list­ings on the main mar­ket, but if you looked around, there were so many small and medium-size com­pa­nies that we thought we could at­tract,” she said. “It has cre­ated a lot of buzz and you can see how the com­pa­nies on the mar­ket have per­formed to foster eco­nomic growth. When you look at the re­turns for in­vestors, that is what you want be­cause it has the mul­ti­plier ef­fect, in­clud­ing more jobs.”

In 2015, the JSE was ac­claimed the num­ber one per­form­ing stock ex­change in the world by Bloomberg. For out­stand­ing lead­er­ship of the JSE, Street For­rest will be pre­sented with the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion in the rank of Com­man­der.

“It is an hon­our and these awards are not to be taken lightly,” she said, while prais­ing the sup­port of her staff, the JSE board and her fam­ily and friends. “And in it all, I must tell you it is im­por­tant to trust in God.” Street For­rest did not en­vi­sion this when she joined the JSE in Septem­ber 2000 as deputy gen­eral man­ager.

“I liked the idea of the mar­ket. And I just be­lieve that wher­ever the op­por­tu­nity presents it­self, I would be able to do a good job,” she said, ad­mit­ting that de­spite her masters in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion and bach­e­lors in man­age­ment, she re­ally learnt the busi­ness “when you come to the job and see ex­actly how the mar­ket re­ally works”.

“I thought that the mar­ket was big­ger and I thought we had reached fur­ther in com­par­i­son to the global mar­kets,” she said. “But that was a pos­i­tive within it­self be­cause, ob­vi­ously, there was much to do. We had just started the elec­tronic trad­ing plat­form ... so there were so many pos­si­bil­i­ties.” She has Sev­eral lead­ing mem­bers of the Ja­maican busi­ness com­mu­nity are among this year’s list of per­sons who have made the Na­tional Honours and Awards list.

They have sac­ri­ficed blood, sweat and tears in their quest to con­trib­ute to the growth and de­vel­op­ment of Ja­maica in her 54 years of In­de­pen­dence. As we ea­gerly an­tic­i­pate the up­com­ing cer­e­mony on Na­tional Heroes Day in Oc­to­ber, we will bring you fea­tures some of these il­lus­tri­ous per­sons.

To­day, we fea­ture Mar­lene Street For­est, who will re­ceive the Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion in the rank of Com­man­der. Mar­lene Street For­rest, gen­eral man­ager of the Ja­maica Stock Ex­change, ex­plains some of the pos­i­tive changes she and her team have made. been gen­eral man­ager for over 10 years.

“It was dif­fer­ent (tak­ing over) be­cause now the buck stops with you,” she said. “But you were given a chance to shine. You have to also en­sure that the con­fi­dence they had placed in you ma­te­ri­alised. Plus, the things that you thought you wanted to do, you can now do.” She lauded the staff for their sup­port.

“Es­pe­cially the man­age­ment team. You can say they were the wind be­neath my wings. Apart from out­side with your friends and fam­ily sup­port­ing you, they (the man­age­ment team) were in­ter­ested in en­sur­ing that I did not fail. And they also wanted to see the suc­cess of the stock ex­change.”

Also dur­ing her ten­ure, Street For­rest es­tab­lished the Stock Mar­ket Game for high schools, the Best Prac­tices Awards for com­pa­nies and the Bro­ker An­a­lysts Com­pe­ti­tion, among other ef­forts.



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