What is the “ISM?”
ISM is simply an abbreviation for “International Securities Market”. This is a dedicated market for the listing and trading of securities by Issuers who may or may not be incorporated in Barbados that would otherwise be listed and traded on other exchanges around the world.
Is the ISM an autonomous market? Who oversees its operations?
The ISM is a trading platform established by the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) for the purpose of trading international securities. The ISM is structured to operate as a separate market of the BSE, a self-regulatory organization, with a separate set of rules applied to membership, trading, clearing and settlement, and listing of international securities.
Simply put – other than sharing the same disciplinary/hearing process, the general rules of the BSE do not apply to the ISM. Day-to-day decisions on matters relating to the interpretation and application of the rules are made by the ISM executive committee subject to supervision by the board. This allows for a speedy decision making process.
Who can be involved?
The ISM will attract member participants from the local brokerage community, accountants, attorneys as well as current and prospective international offshore banks, international business entities, and international securities dealers. Member participants will fall into one of the following categories:
What are the financial products?
The ISM is primed to offer a breadth of financial products. Initially, the focus will be on:
- Equities (trading companies)
- Bonds and other fixed interest securities
- Investment Funds (open-ended & closed-ended)
What are the opportunities/benefits?
A low cost structure (relative to competing jurisdictions) represents the ISM’s most compelling advantage. The ISM was created to accommodate the needs of a wide range of international businesses. Accordingly, the fees for the ISM are 30-50% lower than that of larger exchanges in North America and Europe – providing affordable access to public markets for small and mid-sized firms that might otherwise be unable to sustain a public listing.
Furthermore, Barbados is well known for its prudent regulatory environment that meets or exceeds international best practices. In fact, Barbados is the only low tax wealth management jurisdiction in the Caribbean with a comprehensive tax treaty network. Double taxation agreements (DTAs) ensure that foreign nationals – covered under Barbados’ international tax treaty network – are exempt from withholding taxes on dividends, interest or royalties realized locally. The island has 36 DTAs already in place and awaits the ratification of an additional 6 such agreements.
About the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE)
The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. is one of the leading stock exchanges in the Caribbean region. It is located in Barbados – a premier location globally for international business and financial services.
Barbados is a quality destination that is trusted and well regulated, following international best practice in capital market regulation. Though small in size, Barbados enjoys a stable and well-established democracy with a long tradition of respecting the rule of law and property rights. Include an excellent infrastructure and one can envision why Barbados is perhaps the ideal host for the International Securities Market; a growth platform not only for its Market Actors – Listed Issuers, Trading Participants, and Listing Sponsors – but also for Barbados’ International Business and Financial Services Sector and the national economy as a whole.
The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges with Correspondent Status.
About Barbados’ International Business Sector
Barbados’ international business sector contributes approximately 10% of the nation’s GDP and is comprised of approximately 4,000 entities. Significant vertical markets within the international business sector include: financial services, niche manufacturing and information and communications technologies.
For ease of reference, we have uploaded the Rules of the ISM along with ISM Participant Guides.