What is GASCI?
GASCI is the abbreviation for The Guyana Association of Securities Companies and Intermediaries Inc. This company is the local stock exchange that organises and supervises the stock market in Guyana.
GASCI consists of four member firms which trade (i.e. provide broker services for customers who wish to buy and sell shares) on the stock market and these are Trust Company (Guyana) Ltd, Guyana Americas Merchant Bank Inc, Beharry Stockbrokers Ltd and Hand-in-Hand Trust Corporation Inc (formerly GNCB Trust Corporation Inc). Trust Company (Guyana) Ltd, Beharry Stockbrokers Ltd and Hand-in-Hand Trust Corporation Inc are also represented on the Board of Directors of GASCI. The member firms of GASCI are registered as Brokers with the Guyana Securities Council.
What is the purpose of a stock market?
A stock market allows owners of stocks and shares to dispose of them at a fair price, it allows new investors to buy them at a fair price and it allows companies to sell new shares to finance the growth of their business. Most new investments are by or for people saving up for their retirement. People buy stocks and shares with the expectation that they will be able to sell them again, unlike companies who generally issue stocks with no expectation of having to buy them back. This means that older people selling their shares when they retire have to dispose of them, not to the companies that issue them, but to younger people who are building up their savings. This process cannot take place unless there is a reliable market place in which to buy or sell. Another benefit of the exchange is that it provides a basis for valuing businesses, whether for the purpose of stock trading, or for establishing credit with banks and other lenders, or for negotiating mergers and acquisitions.
In the context of Guyana the total volume of savings in Guyana is quite high, but it is held mainly in cash or short term bonds. This can be mobilized via the stock market to finance the growth of the economy through purchase of new shares issued by companies, savers would have a better return on their savings and the economy would grow. This will facilitate investment since the effect of raising capital on the exchange reduces the cost of borrowing.