Everton McFarlane (centre), executive director of the Financial Services Commission, and his team during Wednesday’s press conference. (Image via OUR Today)

The Financial Services Commission, FSC, remains tight-lipped regarding concerns that its oversight of investment firm, Stocks and Securities Limited, SSL, was lacking.

The FSC Wednesday afternoon sought to update the country on the ongoing investigation into the US multi-million dollar fraud at the entity.

However, the regulator’s executive director, Everton McFarlane, was unwilling to answer questions regarding the role his organisation played in ensuring SSL was compliant over the years.

Chevon Campbell reports.

More questions than answers! A pensive Everton McFarlane was not forthcoming on whether the FSC failed in its regulatory duties.

That response typified much of the media conference. When asked direct questions about what actions were taken by the FSC in ensuring SSL was above board Mr. McFarlane said he felt constrained.

It was noted in a 2017 report from the FSC that SSL was a problem entity going back five and a half years at the time.

Other concerns were raised about the organisation since. So much so that on at least one occasion, the FSC threatened to have the company’s securities license suspended.

However, Mr McFarlane was unwilling to outline what if any remedial actions were taken to rectify those breaches. He would only say that issues were addressed as they arose.

Mr McFarlane was flanked by his senior staff, including his Acting General Counsel, Donia Fuller Barrett. She was the only other FSC executive answering questions.

She was pressed as to why the public was not informed of the concerns the FSC had with SSL over the years.

However, despite the concerns, Mr McFarlane strongly believes the FSC is readily equipped to meet its regulatory responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Mr McFarlane described the fraud which took place at SSL as unprecedented.

Investigators are still quantifying the level of the breach, but information already in the public puts the sum in the billions of Jamaican dollars.

To date, no one has been charged with a crime. However, a senior manager at SSL has provided a sworn statement, going into detail as to how she stole millions in customer funds going back as far as 2010.

The executive director sought to assure the public that this is not indicative of Jamaica’s financial system.

Mr McFarlane says all steps will be taken to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.