The Best Stock Brokers in Jamaica

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 29, 2021

Jamaica’s stock exchange has shown impressive returns in recent years. The market’s benchmark Jamaican Stock Market, or JSE Index, composed of 37 stocks, increased by a whopping 300% over the past five years.

In 2018 alone, the index showed a return of 29%. This could be the reason that the number of people with accounts increased from 5% to 10% of the Jamaican population over the past five years.

Nevertheless, investors looking for the best online brokerage that offers services in Jamaica need to know a few things about the country’s financial sector and stock exchange before jumping in with both feet. Keep in mind that not all brokerages are created equal, so make sure to carefully consider your needs before you open an account with a broker.

Trading Stocks in Jamaica: What You Need to Know Before You Start

Despite recent stock market gains, Jamaica has experienced decades of low economic growth of less than one percent per year. The country’s services sector accounts for about 70 percent of GDP, with most foreign capital made through remittances, bauxite production and tourism. Economic growth in Jamaica also continues to be challenged by red tape, a high debt to GDP ratio, crime and corruption.

On the brighter side, Jamaica ranks 39th in overall economic freedom among other countries according to The Heritage Foundation. The country also placed fifth in the regional rankings for that metric in North America, coming in after Saint Lucia, Chile, the United States and Canada.

Trading in stocks in Jamaica was limited to banks, lawyers and high net worth individuals before the establishment of the Kingston stock market in 1961 under the Bank of Jamaica. This evolved into the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) several years later in February of 1969, which is privately owned and aims to develop a vibrant market in stocks and bonds in Jamaica.

The JSE is composed of several different markets. Companies that wish to list their securities on the exchange typically fall into one of these four categories: the Junior Market, the Main Market, the Bond Market and the U.S. Denominated Market.

In May of 2015, the JSE launched its online trading portal. The exchange makes its trading software available to member firms and their clients. The exchange opens for only three and a half hours a day for trading, which doesn’t affect the fact that the JSE is the best-performing stock market in the world.

Features to Look for in a Stock Trading Account

Many international brokers, such as Interactive Brokers, accept clients from Jamaica. You’ll need to open an account with one of the lesser-known Jamaican stock brokers registered as members of the exchange to trade shares listed on the JSE.

These 13 broker members or member dealers have all received the approval of the Jamaican Financial Services Commission (FSC) to execute orders for clients on the JSE. Since you can only trade securities on the JSE through a broker member, key considerations like regulatory oversight by the FSC and JSE exchange membership are consistent among any of the 13 Jamaican brokers.

Trading Platform

The JSE hosts a trading platform for the exchange, which lets the broker members give their clientele access to use the exchange’s trading platform.

Even if the broker has its own trading platform, if you want to trade securities listed on the JSE, you must do it through the platform offered by the exchange or with a broker over the phone who then enters your order with the exchange.

Costs and Fees

Active trading could make commissions and fees add up. If you trade actively or even if you trade infrequently to invest, a broker’s commission and fee schedule could make a big difference to your net return.

Research

Most full-service stock brokers give clients access to research resources, which they compensate for by charging higher commissions and fees.

Discount brokers offer the same execution services without the research and other premium offerings.

Customer Service

A good customer service department that pays attention to your needs and offers service beyond the trading week would be your best bet. The customer service staff of most stockbrokers in Jamaica can be reached via telephone and email.

Other Services

Other services offered by stockbrokers can consist of trading in non-equity assets, such as bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives like futures, options and contracts for difference (CFDs).

Some large brokers even offer portfolio management, wealth management, banking and loan services. Make sure you ask about a broker’s additional services before opening an account if they are important to you.

The Best Stock Brokers in Jamaica

Our list includes an international broker that accepts clients from Jamaica and provides a venue for trading and investing in non-Jamaican markets around the world, as well as a selection of top local brokers from Jamaica from among the 13 broker members authorized to trade on the JSE.

  • TradeZero
    Best For:
    Overall Global Broker for Short Selling
    securely through TradeZero's website
  • Forex.com
    Best For:
    Forex Traders in the U.S and Globablly
    securely through Forex.com's website

    CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% to 77.7% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

    The products and services available to you at FOREX.com will depend on your location and on which of its regulated entities holds your account

  • Interactive Brokers
    Best For:
    Active and Global Traders
    Securely through Interactive Brokers’ website
  • eToro Forex
    Best For:
    Copy Trading
    securely through eToro Forex's website

    CFD trading is not available to U.S. users. 51% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

  • AvaTrade
    Best For:
    Non U.S. Forex & CFD Traders
    securely through AvaTrade's website

Start Trading Today

Despite its status as the best performing stock market in the world, not one JSE stock can be found in U.S. exchange-traded funds — not even in emerging market funds. Perhaps the time to begin trading in this relatively obscure stock market has arrived.

Also, the sale of JSE broker Barita last year resulted in a windfall for its investors. This could suggest the scale of future opportunities for making money in the rapidly rising Jamaican stock market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What factors should you consider when working with a Jamaican stockbroker?

A

You should look at the fees, research, service and trading platforms.

Q

Can you do online trading in Jamaica?

A

You can trade through a broker with access to the Jamaican markets.

About Jay and Julie Hawk

Jay and Julie Hawk are a married financial writing and authorship team who co-founded TheFXperts, a notable financial writing services provider. The Hawks each worked professionally in the financial markets and have more than 40 years of trading experience among them. Together, they write books, trade forex online for their own account and others, mentor traders, and have worked actively as professional freelance writers specializing in financial topics for over 15 years.