The Bermuda Stock Exchange ended 2018 with a record number of insurance-linked securities listed, and a total market capitalisation of $351 billion.
Greg Wojciechowski, BSX president and chief executive officer, said: “In 2018, the BSX continued to work with the Bermuda market to fortify the jurisdiction’s position as a centre of excellence for the creation, support and listing of global ILS vehicles.
“We are particularly pleased that BSX listing services are being sought for vehicles domiciled in a variety of other jurisdictions. In addition, we continue to see an increase in the number of global debt issuers that chose the BSX as their listing venue of choice.
“The increase in year on year activity has caught the attention of service providers in the Bermuda market and the BSX was delighted to welcome new entities to BSX Listing Sponsor and Trading Membership. This will no doubt create new business opportunities not only for Bermuda but the BSX as well.”
He praised the hard work of the team at the stock exchange who “understand the importance of a modern and solid domestic capital market, how the BSX platform is central to this and how all the pieces collectively contribute to the health and development of Bermuda’s economy”.
James McKirdy, chief compliance officer, said: “Listing activity was strong in international debt and insurance-linked securities with both again reaching record levels.”
International debt listings grew to 201 securities, up 20 per cent from 167 the previous year with nominal value growing $4.6 billion to $7 billion.
The BSX also supported and listed the Government of Bermuda’s new $620 million issue of Senior Notes in November.
New ILS listings totalled 125 securities for the year with a nominal value of $11.23 billion, a 20 per cent increase in terms of the number of new securities listed in the year and a 3 per cent decline in the nominal value. At the year end the total number of ILS securities listed stood at 302 with a total nominal value of $30.92 billion.
Other highlights were the listing of 31 new collective investment vehicles, one new equity and seven new derivatives. A further three subsequent issues were also processed by the BSX.
De-listings in the year followed a normal pattern and were mainly comprised of time-limited securities which matured as part of the normal course of business. At year end, there were a total of 988 listed securities compared to 867 in 2017.
In a statement, the exchange said the BSD, the domestic Central Counter Party and Central Securities Depository, continued to ensure orderly settlement of trades and processing of all domestic corporate actions. At the end of the year, the BSD held 62 per cent of all domestic listed securities in custody equalling that of last year.
Neville Caines, BSX manager, said: “From an operational perspective the most significant highlight was embarking on the America’s Central Securities Depository Association Principles for Financial Market Infrastructure study.”
The study will be completed this year, keeping BSX in line with the goal of global harmonisation of exchange settlement principles and further aligning Bermuda with larger CSD’s seeking to reduce settlement risk and improve capital efficiency.
During last year, the exchange replaced older systems with more secure systems; the BSX firewall and intruder detection systems were enhanced as well as the implementation of a series of new monitoring systems deployed to guard against continuing cybersecurity threats.
The exchange said its partnership with Nasdaq continues with upgrades to trading, settlement, depository, and web site systems planned for early this year. It also said cybersecurity remains a priority, with continual improvements being made to all systems to fortify the Exchange’s protection of its data.
Mr Wojciechowski said: “2018 was another solid year for the exchange as we continued to expand our global reach and develop our domestic market. The focus in 2019 will be continued expansion of our international outreach with a view to creating new strategic partnerships that will enhance the exchange’s global reputation, with the ultimate goal of deriving a sound return on investment for our shareholders.
“Domestically, we will continue to work with our members in a determined effort to support the domestic capital market by expanding our ‘Own Your Share of Bermuda’ investor education programme, initiating new and creative ways to expand and diversify share ownership and increase trade activity and investor participation.”