IN 2015, the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) was declared by US financial news entity Bloomberg as the best performing stock exchange in the world, a feat which was repeated three years later in 2018. Those two years were the pinnacle of market performance for the JSE which was ranked amongst the 10 best performing stock exchanges in the world for seven years. But looking back at the story of the JSE, it is hard to imagine that, 20 years ago, it would attain those heights, had it not been for the exceptional drive of a visionary leader and a dedicated team committed to contributing and executing a plan. This week’s Corporate Profile highlights the journey the JSE took under its managing director Marlene Street Forrest.
For starters, Street Forrest’s time at the JSE is now nearly at an end; she is scheduled to retire in December 2024. But the last 22 years of her life has been spent pushing to transform the JSE. Yet her journey did not start there. Before the stock exchange, Street Forrest did stints with the Ministry of Health as the parish manager for Kingston and St Andrew for the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), the decentralised body responsible for the administration of 10 hospitals and 92 health centres in the parishes of St Catherine, Kingston, St Andrew and St Thomas. At SERHA, Street Forrest said she became a “professional beggar” reaching out to various organisations for resources to help run various clinics because funding was inadequate to take care of the needs of those who work at and use the clinics. SERHA was her last job before taking up a post at the JSE.