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The islands’ international exchange

Tuesday, 02 Mar 2021

Kay McCarthy, Head of Jersey Office at The International Stock Exchange Group, finds the past echoing the future for a local business which has gone international

In a previous life, so to speak, I worked for HSBC which for a period of time promoted itself as “the world’s local bank.” There were a series of accompanying adverts which proved to be quite memorable and gave the HSBC brand unique positioning. It was this sort of ethos which came to mind when I contemplated the position of The International Stock Exchange (TISE) within the Channel Islands.

Home sweet home

Established in Guernsey in 1998, the Exchange opened its office in Jersey in 2015 at No 3 The Forum in Grenville Street. Today, TISE has staff operating across the international finance centres of Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Dublin and London, serving clients globally. However, the Channel Islands remain ‘home’ and the vast majority of this international business conducted on the market is facilitated by Channel Islands-based Member firms and with a growing majority of these listings coming through Jersey.

Within TISE’s Jersey office, a key aspect of our role is being in regular dialogue with Jersey-based Members, which comprise law firms, fund administrators and corporate service providers, as well as stockbrokers. Maintaining strong and effective working relationships with our Members is vital for the ongoing success of the marketplace and this has been heightened since the start of the pandemic.

Pandemic

Throughout the pandemic our number one priority has been the welfare of our staff, which of course has led to various iterations of remote working that have also been employed by our Members (as well as their contacts and clients). I am pleased to say that none of this has impacted our ability to continue to seamlessly operate the market.

What helped enormously was being proactive in ensuring there was two-way dialogue about any refinements to communication methods or adjustments to policies and procedures in order to continue providing high-quality service to our Members and their clients. It was also crucially important to understand the current pipeline of new business, as well as wider trends and developments during what, at times, has been a rapidly changing situation.

From the Channel Islands to China

Overall in 2020 there was a 27% rise in new listings coming to TISE compared to 2019 as the pandemic created the conditions which led companies to restructure or refinance their debt, whether out of necessity or opportunistically. We have listed debt securities from organisations and companies from across the globe covering a range of sectors – from pharmaceuticals to luxury fashion retail platforms, multinational corporations including global insurance brokerage and advisory firms, scientific conglomerates and mass media outfits. 

We continue to see a significant increase in high yield bond listings. Brands like luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin, LEGOLAND owners Merlin Entertainments and US digital content platform Netflix all listed high yield bonds on TISE last year. Listed debt securities in 2020 also included a growing number of securitisations, with prominent deals including major UK banks Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest.  

In the case of UK Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), now more than a third of the whole UK REIT market is listed on TISE. Last year there was again both further growth and a strong presence of Jersey Members facilitating these listings of which three quarters were Jersey incorporated companies.

Other listings on TISE include trading companies such as UK SME Likewise Group, Channel Islands-headquartered financial services businesses PraxisIFM and Ravenscroft, as well as locally headquartered international retailer, SandpiperCI.

The future

TISE’s great success in its core markets provides the opportunity for Channel Islands owned businesses to go public on a local exchange serving a global client base. That is not the end of the story though because this international business is being facilitated by local Member firms who are both contributing towards and reaping the rewards of TISE’s success.

The benefits of this are filtering through to our local communities and now we are seeking to embed and deepen them further by working with our Member firms, as well as other stakeholders in the islands, to ensure our brand makes an even more significant impact on the global stage.

As those who were in the marketing department at HSBC might reflect, it is very much the case that TISE is the islands’ international exchange.

Originally published in the March edition of Business Brief.

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Kay McCarthy
Kay McCarthy
Head of Jersey Office