The Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) celebrated its 10th year anniversary today.
BISX was incorporated on September 23rd, 1999 with the aim of bringing a regulated and internationally recognized Securities Exchange to The Bahamas. Within a year after its incorporation BISX realized this goal and began formal market operations with the launch of its trading platform for securities on May 12, 2000.
The origins of BISX, however, began with the initiative of the former Minister of Finance, Sir William Allen under the 1997 Ingraham Administration, and his fervent desire to develop the Bahamian capital markets.
Through his efforts and his ability to enlist the support of the private sector through the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), BISX was born and began with the idea of bringing better regulation to a then fledgling Bahamian capital market where securities were traded over the counter. This Government and Private sector group believed that a Securities Exchange in The Bahamas would serve the dual purposes of improving regulation and execution in the listing and trading of domestic securities while at the same time serving as a value-added component to the offshore financial sector.
Mr. Ian Fair, who has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of BISX from inception, reflected back on his long association with BISX: “From its inception, we believed that BISX could become a leader and driving force for innovation in the Bahamian capital markets. Ten years later, I am extremely proud of what we, the shareholders and employees of BISX, have accomplished, and look forward to BISX continuing to be a source of financial innovation in The Bahamas for many more years to come.”
Mr. Fair noted the following accomplishments as being those that he was most proud of:
The creation of the BISX Rules which set the guidelines under which BISX operates: “Confidence in any Exchange and by extension the market begins with a strong set of rules, and the BISX Rules made it possible for BISX to assure investors, issuing companies and broker dealers that they would be perating and investing in a regulated market.”
The creation of Bahamian Depository Receipts (BDRs): “BDRs are Bahamian securities that track the performance of an international security. This innovation was conceived and introduced by BISX and was the first of its kind in the Caribbean. As a result, this security helped to expose Bahamians to international investment products.”
The creation of the BISX Mutual Fund Listing Facility: “Moving mutual funds onto the Exchange resulted in an additional level of regulation for mutual funds in The Bahamas. BISX listed mutual funds have quickly become the standard amongst Bahamian mutual funds.”
BISX Chief Executive Officer, Keith Davies, also offered his thoughts on the last ten years: “I had the distinct honour of being the first Manager hired by BISX, and I have worked in and helped to develop all aspects of the Exchange and the market we oversee. Over the past ten years we have seen the evolution of our marketplace as we have introduced new products and services to the Bahamian capital markets. I am proud to have had the opportunity to grow along with the Exchange.”
Mr. Davies noted the following accomplishments that he hopes to be able to highlight at the beginning of another ten years of operations at BISX:
BISX as a driver of industry: “BISX has moved beyond what traditional exchanges are supposed to be. Typically, an exchange is supposed to be the conduit through which the products and services developed by the market flows. However, BISX has become, in many respects, the catalyst for growth, development and change in the Bahamian capital market context. We have grown to accept this unique situation and embrace the positive opportunities this affords us.”
The creation and successful operation of a central securities depository: “The Bahamas desperately needs to modernize its financial services infrastructure, and we intend to facilitate this and do our part, along with other partners, with the development of the central securities depository. When this entity is fully operational, it will be an important tool in reducing systemic risk in our capital markets, and also deliver a high level of certainty in the settlement of securities transactions on the Exchange.”
The listing and trading of Bahamas Government Registered Stock (BGRS) on BISX: “The listing and trading of BGRS on BISX is a vital step in the development of our capital markets. This movement onto our regulated exchange will introduce much needed transparency and realistic securities pricing to the economy of The Bahamas from the nations’ largest issuer of securities.”
The creation and successful operation of BISX Global: “BISX Global once operational will become a tremendous value-added feature of our offshore financial centre. The introduction of a new business model for stock exchanges combined with a new and unique way to partner with international securities firms, will have a dramatic effect and reposition BISX and The Bahamas as a prime location to transact international securities business."
The Exchange has also indicated that it intends to mark its 10th year anniversary by bringing together its Shareholders and other industry stakeholders, in the near future, to celebrate the Exchanges’ and the markets’ many achievements over the past 10 years.