Cash Plus finally agrees to FSC registration

KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 24, 2008 – A major investment club in Jamaica has given in to a demand for it to register with the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Months after initiating a law suit to allow it operate in the island without that requirement, Cash Plus Limited has indicated it will apply to be registered with the Commission – a move which attorney Bert Samuels said he hoped would help the company return to business as usual.

The twist came as lawyers for both sides went to court on Wednesday to seek a definite position on whether Cash Plus was engaged in securities and therefore should be registered by the FSC.

The company which comprises operations spread across distribution, gaming, telecommunications, entertainment, security, development, industrial and financial services, had filed a suit against the FSC last year, insisting it was not a financial institution, commercial bank, investment advisor or securities dealer and did not fall under the purview of any fiscal regulatory body, and therefore should not be forced to be registered with the Commission as a securities dealer.

But Samuels, one of the attorneys representing Cash Plus in court on Wednesday, said since the company filed its suit last June, a lot had changed regarding how investment groups should be monitored, paving the way for the company to regularise its status.

“We found that it is now a new environment in which we can go to the FSC and apply to be registered with the FSC. In light of that there is no need to argue a declaration before the court. We therefore took an action which we are empowered and entitled to by the rules of court that a party can discontinue a matter at anytime and we did so in a responsible way, I think, as we had in mind the investing public,” he said.

Acting Solicitor General Patrick Foster indicated that the FSC was anxious to begin discussions with Cash Plus to have the matter resolved.

He added there was no indication that the operations of Cash Plus would be affected in any drastic way as a result of registering with the FSC.

“I suspect they would be allowed to carry out their operations, in a limited way to at least to service the needs of existing customers,” Foster said.

Meantime, Supreme Court judge Justice Patrick Brooks has re-imposed the cease and desist order issued on Cash Plus, which prevents the company from taking on any new customers, pending the outcome of the registration process.

The FSC has taken a tough stance against Cash Plus, Olint and World Wise, all investment clubs operating in Jamaica without an FSC license and Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw indicated that his government will be seeking legal changes to tighten the island’s financial laws pertaining to investment clubs.