Listed companies should focus on digital technology – Street Forrest
Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Marlene Street Forrest shares a word with Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)
Listed companies and those looking to become so should make a concerted effort to embrace digital technology in order to create sustainable value creation.
So said the Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Marlene Street Forrest at the 9th Annual Mona School of Business & Management Roundtable CEO Breakfast Forum held earlier today.
The subject this year was “Strategic Digital Leadership”.
“Given that so many of the companies, in key industries in Jamaica, are represented on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and by way of measurement, their market capitalization represents nearly 70 per cent of GDP, we believe it is a good strategy to encourage our listed companies to focus on digital technology as not only will it float their boats, but it will lend itself to Jamaica’s economic growth.”
“The attractiveness and sustainability of our market will depend on how well our companies perform. This is however more so for companies that are listed because without even being conscious, they are usually held to a higher standard and considered ‘role models’ for innovation and best practices. Driving change in building a digital culture is considered best practice and all companies must move preferably voluntarily or be left behind.”
The JSE boss further added, given that strategic digital leadership is a gateway to transforming businesses and achieving sustainable value creation, the Exchange has a mission to embrace this digital revolution and to encourage CEOs and senior managers to do likewise.
“We understand that whether we live in a developed or developing country, emerging or advanced economy, we are all operating in an era of digital revolution. This creates anxiety for us as leaders of our organisations, as there is both access to and medium for the use of data, more than ever before which can be positively or negatively exploited.”
Mona School of Business & Management Roundtable CEO Breakfast Forum
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“ We know it creates opportunities as well as threats, therefore even while I speak about the companies in general, we are patently aware of how this revolution will, going forward, shape us as an Exchange and Depository that currently provide service to our companies.”
Street Forrest pointed out that exchanges globally are now experiencing what is considered the next wave in the fintech revolution, the wave in which the technology does not just facilitate trades but in some cases make the trading decisions moving the process from electronic trading to electronic investing.
This has led to the JSE paying attention and strategically planning its response to the changes but equally preparing itself not to be reactionary to digital technology but rather become agents of change.
“Underpinning any discussion on digital technology and transformation is the focus that must be given to digital literacy, especially for leaders of organisations, some of which are not millennials who it is said more easily relate to digital technology. This I believe will pave the way to a fresh new way of thinking, operating and acting. It cannot be assumed that despite being successful leaders, there is not a need for a programme of emersion,” said Street-Forrest.