High Yield Bonds Frequently Asked Questions
For issuers wishing to submit a Listing Application for the admission of high yield bonds or similar structured debt securities to TISE.
This page is not exhaustive and issuers are advised to consult the Authority at an early stage should they have any questions in connection with the Listings Rules or contents herein.
A PDF of this document can be found here.
A High Yield Bond (HYB), sometimes also known as a ‘junk bond’, is a debt security issued by a company with a lower credit rating than investment grade corporate bonds. A table comparing those credit ratings for Moody’s, S&P and Fitch (the most recognised credit rating agencies) can be found in the Appendix. HYB issuers are more often than not newly formed or start-up entities, or existing companies with high leverage or operating in cyclical industries. Given the nature of such issuers, there has historically been a higher risk of default associated with them, although default rates are relatively low (as at the time of writing). As a result of this increased risk, these issuers offer debt instruments (loan notes, bonds etc.) with a higher coupon than investment grade issuers in order to make them attractive to investors. HYBs typically offer a yield of at least 150 to 300 basis points higher than investment grade securities.
HYBs are widely held by investors globally but most investors are financial institutions, pension schemes or collective investment schemes (mutual funds, exchange traded funds etc.) rather than individuals. HYBs typically contain detailed covenants that govern the ability of the issuer to take certain actions, such as incur debt, pay dividends to equity holders or repay debt and also what financial information is to be made available to holders. These covenants are negotiated between the issuer and the underwriters.
HYB issuers typically prepare an Offering Memorandum for the purposes of offering an HYB.
Subject to the Offering Memorandum being in compliance with the requirements of the Listings Rules, inclusive of required Listing Document disclosures, it can be used as the Listing Document for the purposes of making an application to list on the Official List.
If the Offering Memorandum is not in compliance with the requirements of the Listings Rules, a Wrapper Document or Supplementary Listing Document will need to be prepared to capture any outstanding Listing Document disclosures required by the Listing Rules. If a Wrapper Document or Supplementary Listing Document is prepared, it must clearly state those documents that should be read in conjunction with one another for the purposes of listing.
For new HYB issuers in the drafting stage, it is not expected that a Wrapper Document or Supplementary Listing Document will be required, as it is expected that all disclosures will be contained within the Offering Memorandum, however the use of them is permissible if such disclosures are not present. Where HYB issuers have already issued their securities prior to an application being lodged with the Authority or where they are migrating to TISE from another exchange, a Wrapper Document or Supplementary Listing Document will typically be required to encapsulate any missing requirements of the Listing Rules.
Yes. Where an issuer is migrating to TISE from another stock exchange, the Authority will permit the use of any existing offering documentation for the purpose of making a listing application, subject to it meeting the requirements of the Listing Rules.
Should this not be the case, a Wrapper Document or Supplementary Listing Document may be required to include any missing disclosures or statements required by the Listing Rules.
Subject to the relevant indenture being summarised in all respects under the ‘Description of Notes’ (or similar) section in the Listing Document, it is not always a requirement that a copy of the indenture is provided at the point of submission of the initial application, although it is desirable. It is often the case that the indenture may not be prepared or finalised until after the final Offering Memorandum is distributed.
A copy of the executed indenture will need to be submitted prior to the final application for completeness.
The indenture will not be required to form part of the Listing Document, so long as it is fully summarised in the Offering Memorandum and sufficient information is present for investors to make an informed decision on the HYB.
A copy of the executed indenture will need to be submitted prior to the final application.
Material contracts or documents (e.g. intercreditor agreements, debentures etc.), will not be required to form part of the Listing Document, so long as they are adequately and fully summarised in the Listing Document in accordance with the provisions of the relevant disclosure requirements.
Where the HYB has the benefit of a third party or parent company guarantee, the latest audited accounts of the guarantor must be provided to the Authority.
Where the guarantee is a group guarantee (e.g. it is provided by multiple group companies), the group audited financials will satisfy this requirement.
No, so long as sufficient information is present for investors to make an informed decision on the HYB and the issuer’s group.
The Listing Rules for debt securities set out that only those investors who are deemed “particularly knowledgeable in investment matters” are qualified and permitted to hold non-retail debt securities.
For the purposes of this requirement, investors who qualify as institutional buyers under Rule 144A or outside the United States, in compliance with Regulation S of the United States Securities Act 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), or are deemed qualified investors within the meaning of the Prospectus Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 (the Prospectus Regulations) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II 2014/65/EU (MiFID II), or similar, will be deemed to satisfy the requirements of the Authority in this respect.
The Authority permits multiple ISINs for a particular class of security (e.g. separate ISINs for those securities held under Rule 144A or Regulation S of the Securities Act), and these are available to view on the background information page of the issuer on the Exchange’s website, stating the relevant class or category of security to which a particular ISIN relates to. Each ISIN will also be stated on the ‘Admission to Official List’ announcement, which is issued via the Exchange’s website when a security class for an issuer is first admitted to the Official List, as well as with respect to each further issue of that security class thereafter.
The Authority is comfortable with the use of temporary ISINs.
The Listing Rules require issuers of non-retail debt securities to have at least two directors.
Derogation of the Listing Rules will be considered where controls and/or other governance structures are in place within the issuer’s group which ensure appropriate oversight and good corporate governance procedures and behaviours.
Subject to an issuer ensuring that all announcements are published via the Exchange, including all relevant supporting documentation (where appropriate), the Authority will permit the use of issuers’ own investor relations websites, third party websites or information facilities such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) EDGAR system, as a places where further information, notifications or announcements of an issuer can be found. This is permitted by the Authority on the basis of a link (e.g. the URL) being provided in the Listing Document and being contained in all announcements made via the Exchange.
The Authority is aware of the use of password protected investor relations websites for the provision of information by issuers (including corporate actions and financial statements) to holders of listed securities.
It is the policy of the Authority to permit the use of such password protected investor relations websites, subject to all information being made readily available to any qualified investor likely to deal in those securities.
It is the expectation of the Authority that qualified prospective investors who are interested in acquiring the securities of the issuer will be granted access to all relevant information, upon request to either the issuer or their advisers, without restriction or delay. This will ensure compliance with the provisions of those Listing Rules governing the information necessary and required by investors and the public to enable them to make a properly informed assessment of an issuer and of the decision to make an investment in the securities for which listing is sought, and those relating to the equitable treatment of all security holders.
Where an issuer utilises an investor relations website for the publication of information, a statement as to whether it is directly accessible or password protected must be disclosed in the Listing Document.
The Authority may permit group consolidated financial statements to be provided in satisfaction of the requirements of the appropriate Listing Rules, subject to this being disclosed in the Listing Document, and the issuer informing relevant parties where such financial statements can be obtained.
Such financial statements are required to be accessible by holders of the relevant securities and to qualified prospective investors who are interested in acquiring the securities of the issuer that are subject to listing.
Where financial statements are published via an investor relations website, please refer to the FAQ: ‘Can an issuer provide information to (prospective) investors via a password protected website?’ for further guidance around their use.
All documents submitted to the Exchange must be in the English language, except as otherwise agreed by the Authority:
The financial statements to be published, as per those detailed in the Listing Document, in a language other than English will be accepted by the Authority provided that:
- the issuer confirms whether or not the financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis and whether or not there are any qualifications; and
- if the financial statements are qualified, details of the qualification are provided to the Authority together with confirmation as to what steps have been taken by the directors of the issuer to ensure that the issue of qualification is suitably resolved.
If the financial statements of the issuer are not prepared on a going concern basis and/or the financial statements are qualified, the Authority will seek translated copies of relevant extracts from the accounts for review and reserves the right to request any additional information.
Translated copies of the Articles of Association/Incorporation (or similar) of an issuer will not need to be translated provided that:
- the issuer confirms that there is nothing in the document which impacts the listing (e.g. there are no drag-along or tag-along provisions and no transfer restrictions, amongst others); and
- the issuer confirms that there will always be at least two directors on the board of the issuer whilst the debt securities are listed on the Exchange.
Certificates of Incorporation and Certificates of Incorporation of Change of Name etc. will not need to be translated, where the information required is clearly visible.
In such cases, the Authority treats all issuers on a case by case basis and an issuer should contact the Authority at an early stage if they have any concerns.
The Authority reserves the right to request that an issuer provide an official translated copy of the aforementioned documents should it be deemed appropriate and/or necessary.
If a ‘Stabilisation Manager’ is appointed, this should be clearly disclosed in the Listing Document.
Should any stabilisation take place once an issuer has listed an announcement is required to be published via the Exchange notifying the market of any such actions.
As per the applicable Listing Rules, it is a requirement of the Authority that board minutes or written resolutions submitted as part of an application, contain explicit resolutions approving issuance and allotment of the relevant securities, the making of the application for listing in the form set out in Appendix I of the Listing Rules, the signing of the Listing Undertaking and the approval and authorisation of the issue of the Listing Document.
The Authority has noted that in some circumstances the board minutes or written resolutions provided do not contain these explicit statements. Where such a situation arises, it is at the discretion of the Authority as to whether to accept such board minutes or written resolutions submitted. The Authority will consider such board minutes or written resolutions where they show intent to issue and list the securities (on the Exchange), and that appropriate approvals and signing authorities have been granted to issue and list the security in question along with all documents required for completing the ‘transaction’ or listing of such securities.
Generally, an issuer must keep the public, the Authority and the holders of its securities informed of any information relating to the issuer that:
- is necessary to avoid the establishment or continuation of a false market in its securities; and
- might reasonably be expected to materially affect market activity in, or the price of, its securities and be considered inside information.
Such information includes changes to directors, changes to the terms and conditions of the listed security, changes in control of the issuer, changes to the principal parties of the issuer (e.g. trustee, custodian or the auditor etc.) and that the financial statements are available, amongst other things. This list is not exhaustive and issuers should consult the relevant provisions of the Listing Rules of the Authority for further information.
All announcements should be made via the Exchange’s website, unless otherwise agreed and may be in the form of direct links to publicly available information elsewhere on the internet. Announcements must be factual and contain sufficient detail to enable investors to make an informed decision, and should not be of undue length and should use plain, non-technical language and be appropriately concise.