In October 2001 common securities legislation became effective in the eight countries comprising the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, namely, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines (Member Territories). This event witnessed the birth of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Market (ECSM). The ECSM facilitates the dealing in securities across these jurisdictions.
The Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission Agreement between the Member Territories was passed into law as a schedule to the primary legislation. The purpose of this Agreement is “to promote the development of and to provide for the regulation of a regional securities market … and to establish the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC) as an independent and autonomous regional regulatory body.”
The powers and functions of the Commission are stipulated in the ECSRC Agreement 2020.
Article 4 of the ECSRC Agreement states:
The purposes of the Commission are -
to license a person engaged in securities business and to monitor and supervise the conduct of such business by a licensee;
to promote investor protection through promotion of the highest standards of professional and other activities within the securities market;
to maintain effective compliance and enforcement programmes supported by adequate statutory powers;
to promote the growth and development of the capital markets.
Article 5 of the ECSRC Agreement 2020 states:
“For the attainment of its purposes the Commission may -
formulate policies and rules for the fair, orderly and efficient operations of the securities industry and the capital markets;
deal with such matters as may be referred to it by any person from time to time;
licence and regulate market participants in accordance with securities laws;
monitor the capital and solvency risk of licensees that are entities, and compensation funds and take measures to protect the interest of investors of market participants in question;
adopt measures to supervise and minimise any conflict of interest that may arise with respect to market participants;
review, approve and regulate takeovers, amalgamations and all forms of business combinations in accordance with securities laws in all cases in which it considers it expedient or appropriate to do so;
review the contents of prospectuses and issue receipts, and review any form of offering documents, solicitation, advertisement or announcement by which securities are proposed to be distributed, continuing disclosure documents, financials and annual reports;
take enforcement action against any person for failing to comply with securities laws;
recommend regulations to the Minister and formulate rules;
formulate, prepare and publish notices, guidelines, bulletins and policies describing the views of the Commission regarding the interpretation, application, or enforcement of securities laws;
make orders for the administration, and enforcement of securities laws;
cooperate with other regulatory authorities, whether domestic and foreign;
acquire and dispose of property of any description;
make contracts or enter into other agreements;
receive and expend money;
require the payment of fees;
do all things, and take all actions, which may be necessary, expedient, incidental or conducive to the discharge of any of its functions and the exercise of its powers under securities laws.
The ECSRC is a body corporate responsible for the regulation of the securities market, exchanges, persons engaged in securities business and the public issue of securities in the MemberTerritories and is accountable to the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.