Barbados on track to launch international trading facility

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. March 26, 2009 – The Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) is on track to become the first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) securities exchange to launch an international trading facility (ITF).

This was revealed by chief executive officer and general manager of the BSE, Marlon Yarde, as he addressed the monthly luncheon seminar of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) on Tuesday.

Yarde said a report on the viability of the project was laid before the board of the BSE last week and, pending regulatory approval, the creation of such a platform could position Barbados as a domicile of choice for international investors.

He told BIBA members that international business companies that listed on the ITF would find it a “one-stop shop” for raising capital on the Barbados market. He said evidence showed that there were considerable funds under management in Barbados that currently flow into investments outside of the island, but might be attracted to stay by stock issues from listed international companies.

Furthermore, he said, listing could put Canadian companies in line for further tax breaks as Revenue Canada (Canada’s inland revenue authority) offered concessions to companies that listed on a recognised stock exchange, which would come on top of the already favourable low tax regime under which such companies operated here.

In outlining plans for the ITF, Yarde said the BSE would adopt a two-phase approach to the project. First, a listing facility would be created and the trading of these international securities would follow.

He said the ITF would attract four types of listings – companies that would have their primary listing in Barbados; companies that would use Barbados as a dual or secondary listing; fixed income securities; and mutual funds.

The BSE head said there was currently an under-representation on the market when it came to fixed income securities and he wanted to ensure that future listing rules adequately catered for this type of security. He also said that findings showed there was strong growth potential for mutual funds, despite the strong lead held by Guernsey, Cayman, Bermuda and Dublin, and he called on BIBA members for their input into making the ITF as attractive as possible in its bid to win over business from these established leaders.

Yarde also offered the assurance that they would use the variety of double taxation and bilateral investment treaties to which Barbados is signatory in order to create an appropriate and effective regulatory and legislative environment. He added that the current legislation would be made “more harmonious” in order to avoid the need to comply with multiple regulatory and legislative requirements across multiple jurisdictions.