As investors open more and more accounts with their brokers, CEO Brian Taylor attributes the steady growth in trading volumes to “a significant confidence in BISX and the whole capital markets infrastructure.” Brokerage accounts are a pre-requisite of being able to trade on BISX. The market is growing steadily, with the most liquid trading day showing almost $3 million shares changing hands.
The growth of trading has been helped, too, by positive efforts from the brokers, who are becoming more active with their clients and issuing information and research opinions on listed companies. There are now 16 listings on BISX. BISX has played a leading role in the investor education and information dissemination process.
“BISX is now offering Bahamians a credible choice – one that was not available previously in The Bahamas. Historically, Bahamians could buy real estate, place their money on deposit or invest in a business. Now they can invest in the future of The Bahamas through the stock market. Similarly, issuers have a choice — instead of raising debt from banks, they can raise capital through the stock market. This applies to small to medium sized corporates, the banks themselves, and the Government. By using BISX the economy will grow. Launching BISX has been very timely now that external pressures are being placed on The Bahamas” states Ian Fair Chairman of BISX.
In addition to the development of the domestic side of the capital markets, BISX has been engaged in the international strategy development with their advisors BTA Consulting. An international programme has been presented and is now being debated and considered at Board level. The International Segment will enforce the position that BISX is a major engine of growth for The Bahamas. The first full business plan will be presented and considered by the Board of BISX on September 27, 2000.
The Governor of The Central Bank of The Bahamas is of the opinion that BISX will have a dramatic impact on the economy – strengthening, broadening and expanding development.
“During the next five years, the Bahamian economy will begin to feel the affects of this very important institution. BISX will be the means by which private capital can be channeled directly to business without going through the banking system” Julian Francis, Governor, Central Bank
Progress with Mutual Funds Listings is seen as a “quick-win” for BISX – especially as development work has been undertaken already in parallel with the launch of the Domestic Market. “BISX has not limited its vision to competing with other offshore centres, as the offshore market is changing rapidly and is frankly highly competitively priced” comments Gerry Ritchie of BTA Consulting. The Mutual Funds Listings facility, expected to be launched before the end of the year, will enable BISX to capitalise on the mutual funds industry that is already strong in The Bahamas. There are many reasons why a mutual fund should list — including the intrinsic marketing benefits that a listing provides. At this time of external pressure, listing – in accordance with international standards – reduces the apparent air of anonymity about mutual funds registered in any offshore centre. BISX adds a stamp of credibility and prestige to the mutual fund.
Ideally, BISX and its intermediaries would like to offer a full listings service via the internet – today, no offshore centre really provides such a service. As soon as e-commerce legislation is passed in The Bahamas, and digital signatures are recognised, BISX will be able to leapfrog developments elsewhere.
BISX aims to compete with other more established markets and seeks to provide the opportunities for Bahamians to participate in the international capital markets. A range of other innovative ideas is under consideration, including products designed to deliver significant value to the trade finance industry. A workshop also is being held with the Ministry of Finance to create an action plan that will drive legislative change, in order to facilitate substantial growth in the capital markets.
Within the next few years, BISX should change the climate of opportunity in the Bahamian capital markets. Currently, there are scarce opportunities in the domestic environment, which has a negative impact on the business culture. BISX should drive an abundance mentality into the whole market, creating more opportunities for investors, advisors, brokers, and Bahamians at large.
Visit the BISX www site for additional details – www.bisxbahamas.com