Like many organisations across the globe, the BSE Group has faced its fair share of challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on the island. On April 2, 2020, the Government of Barbados issued its first directive in which it announced the imposition of a 24-hour curfew for the period April 3 to April 14, 2020, triggering a suspension of trading activity on the Exchange. Market activity up until that point showed promise; however, by the close of 2020, total trading volume and value decreased by 97 per cent and 98 per cent respectively, inclusive of extraordinary transactions when compared to their closing 2019 positions. Indices and market capitalisation are standard metrics for measuring market performance globally and, as at December 31, 2020, the BSE’s Composite index (632.26) declined 18 per cent from its December 31, 2019 position. Similarly, the BSE Composite Market Capitalisation declined by 24 per cent from the close of 2019 and stood at US$2.67 billion. These outcomes were expected and in line with the general downturn in economic activity across the wider economy.
Against the backdrop of 2020 and amidst the uncertainty for 2021 and beyond, the Board of Directors and Management of the BSE Group thought it wise to explore other opportunities that would augment the Group’s existing product offerings. The Group is comprised of the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. (BSE) and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Barbados Central Securities Depository Inc. (BCSDI). The BSE caters to the needs of local and international companies seeking a listing on a reputable, internationally recognised stock exchange. The BCSDI primarily acts as Registrar and Transfer Agent for public companies. Simultaneously, it also manages the clearing and settlement of trades for those public companies that are listed and traded across the board of the BSE through the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) of the Central Bank of Barbados. The BSE & BCSDI achieve their respective objectives by employing separate, but integrated, robust software packages that are designed to deliver the desired operational efficiencies.
For 2021, the BSE’s focus remains to promote market development through greater education while seeking new listings – locally, regionally, and internationally – with the intent of providing greater investment opportunities for the public. As a central depository, the BCSDI has been offering traditional services for much of its existence including safekeeping and custodial services. This has been done on a relatively small scale, primarily to the Registered Brokers of the BSE, other regional depositories, and a small number of private citizens.
In late 2020, the Board took the decision to formally establish a new entity – BCSDI Custodian Trust Services Inc. (BCTSI) – to provide custodian and trustee services on a much larger scale. Trusts are specific arrangements where one person – the grantor – commits some or all their assets into a trust and appoints a trustee to manage and oversee the conditions under which the assets of said trust are to be used for the benefit of another person – the beneficiary. Trustees assume legal ownership of the grantor’s assets contained in the trust and have fiduciary responsibilities and obligations to act in the best interest of its beneficiaries as outlined by the trust’s grantor.
The addition of this line of business is viewed as being both a practical and logical fit for the BSE Group; specifically, the BCSDI. The BCSDI has been providing Registrar and Transfer Agent services to public companies locally and regionally for over 23 years. Issuers of listed securities have been utilising the services of the BCSDI to electronically manage all aspects of their respective Registers of Shareholders including the amendments to Shareholder information, the calculation, preparation, and distribution of dividend/interest payments as well as the reconciliation of dividend accounts. Additionally, they have also provided trading and registrar services for Treasury Bills issued by the Government of Barbados, the immobilisation and dematerialisation of certificated securities, as well as the pledging of securities. The BCSDI intends to leverage its existing knowledge base and extensive experience as both a registrar and transfer agent and a provider of depository services to deliver a product that is exemplary through the BCTSI. The goal is to exceed the expectations of both existing and prospective clients by being the best in the business.
BCSDI Custodian Trust Services Inc. was incorporated in Barbados on January 28, 2021 and is the wholly owned subsidiary of the BCSDI. Its intended purpose is to consistently deliver cost-effective and dependable custodian and trustee services to members of the financial services industry. Through the Manager, Custodian Trustee Services, the affairs of the BCTSI will be administered by a separate Board of Directors. The Board will consist of nine directors headed by the current Chairman of the BSE Group, Mr. Randall Belgrave, Q.C. He is joined by the present Managing Director of the BSE Group, Mr. Marlon E. Yarde as well as the Deputy General Manager – Operations, Mr. John E. Marshall. The remaining Directors will be drawn from leading firms within the local financial services sector.
The BCTSI will be providing a host of corporate trustee services including but not limited to:
- Administration of funds under trust;
- Maintenance of accounting records in respect of funds;
- Providing monthly activity statements where applicable;
- Providing Annual Statements and Audit Confirmations upon request - statements can also be provided (for a fee) at a client’s request;
- The preparation, calculation, and disbursement of interest payments to note holders;
- Registry Operations;
- Custodial Services;
- Trustee for Debenture and Convertible Note Issues;
- Securitisation Facilities;
- Trustee or Administrator for Retail Superannuation Funds.
Preliminary work for the BCTSI has already commenced with the identification of our desired customer base. The prospective target market includes existing listed companies, brokers, and other public companies; institutional investors such as mutual and pension Funds; and other financial institutions such as commercial banks and insurance companies.
For more information about the BCTSI, interested parties can contact us at 1-246-436-9871/2 or email@example.com.
Barry Blenman, MSc
Barry Blenman joined the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. on February 2, 2009 in the post of Registry Services Assistant. At the time, his primary role was the management of Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited’s share register and the preparation of the BSE’s daily trading reports. On September 2, 2010, he was promoted to his current post of Operations Supervisor – Business Development reporting directly to the Managing Director.
Mr. Blenman acts as liaison for external partners and internal groups with the key responsibility of identifying, negotiating and managing relationships with partners whose objectives and product/service offerings complement both the short and long-term vision of the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. He still retains his reporting duties – researching, preparing and disseminating all market related information on behalf of the BSE, the coordination of all outreach programmes including conferences and seminars and all communications with various media outlets both local and international.
Mr. Blenman has worked in the international business and financial services sector, the local manufacturing sector and the Civil Service. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Project Management, a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Management (Upper Second-Class Honours) from the University of West Indies – Cave Hill as well as Associate Degrees in both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.