Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bhms: Capital markets expand

The Bahamian capital market continues to expand.

Presently, there are seventeen publicly traded companies listed on The Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) with a market capitalization of $1.84 billion dollars. BISX has three approved brokers members. They are First Bahamas, Fidelity Capital Markets and S.G. Hambros Bank & Trust Limited, whose job is to facilitate trading of domestic equities listed on BISX.

It was originally envisioned that BISX would provide a strong domestic market in the initial stages of its development, followed by listings of international securities on the Exchange, which would be exempted from exchange control requirements. The international tier of the exchange was not designed for Bahamians because of exchange control restrictions.

The blacklisting of The Bahamas in June 2000 coupled with the government's setback with the privatization of Batelco dealt BISX a severe blow, derailing its strategy for international trading. The problem was exacerbated by the events of September 11 2001, with the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center Building in New York, which severely shocked the world and its stock markets.

The fallout for The Bahamas was a 24 per cent decline in trading volume and there were no initial public offerings for over 2 years. This period proved to be a bleak one for BISX and the country's capital market.

Previous and current administrations have determined that BISX is necessary and important to capital market development and that support would be given to ensure the continuation of its role. It is believed that the future development of The Bahamas capital market depends on the removal of barriers or law, policy or practices that are prohibitive to expansion.
Sounds like good news to me ... bearing in mind that I'm not a numbers person.


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