Gov't to no longer cover SSL expenses as firm gets US$1m insurance payout

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke
By Kimone Witter   
The government has ceased payment of the salaries for employees of Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).
Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke says it is no longer necessary to provide this kind of support as an insurance claim by the Temporary Manager of SSL in April to the investment firm's insurers in England, has been settled.
SSL received the insurance payout of US$1 million on September 7, enabling the company to settle the remainder of its August staff salary bill last week Monday.
"With this new development, no taxpayer money, no government of Jamaica resources, no public funds have or will be used to support SSL in the payment of any of its employees or any other of its expenses," Dr. Clarke declared. 
The government had announced earlier in September that it would be spending approximately $15 million monthly on salaries for SSL employees and other operational expenses to avoid disruptions in the investigation into the alleged fleecing of more than J$4 billion from clients.
Client funds to be transferred   
The Minister of Finance says starting this Friday, Stocks and Securities Limited will begin the process of transferring Jamaican dollar securities held in the Jamaica Central Securities Depositary to other securities dealers selected by clients.
Additionally, any cash balances in client accounts will be transferred to banks specified by them.
Dr. Clarke said the entire process could take up to six weeks given the volume of client accounts. 
"However, the transfer of US dollar securities owned by SSL clients will involve collaboration with US-based regulators and US-based investment houses which will therefore take more time," he noted. 
In the meantime, Dr. Clarke said SSL's staff complement is projected to decline from 22 to no more than eight people by the end of November, given the progress in the Financial Investigations Division's probe and the expected winding down of the firm's off-balance activities.
He added that complete removal of SSL as a contingent liability of the government requires a final determination by the Court on the issues surrounding who has proper authority over SSL; whether it is the Financial Services Commission's appointed Temporary Manager or the SSL Board appointed Trustee.

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