The Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange kicked off their first conference of 2018, on March 29th titled Smart Financing: Go Public! – held at the Central Bank’s Auditorium. The Conference started with welcoming words from the Minister of Finance, Mr. Gijsbertha, who set the tone for the event by sharing how a well-functioning market can mobilize funding and result in a higher economic output and growth for the country. The Minister also called to action the audience on being smart about their financing and reminding them that Investors’ confidence is one of the keys to a successful capital market.
René Römer, Head of the Securities Exchange highlighted the financial benefits a business owner can experience if it funds its expansion by issuing a bond rather than taking out only a typical loan. Mr Römer also delved into the steps which he believes would assist in creating a more active market; some of these steps included providing tax incentives both for listed companies and for investors as well as enhancing the local talent pool through targeted educational programmes on investments.
Bharat Bhojwani of Curaçao Financial Group (CFG), explained the steps involved in listing a bond, from identifying the type of client that can be listed, creating a prospectus, conducting a roadshow in order to attract investors, to the actual bond listing on the Exchange. He also emphasized the differences in criteria that a bank would use in deciding on whether to give a loan compared to the criteria assessed by the investment community when deciding to invest in a bond. According to Bharat, the bank focuses on the Return on Credit by assessing the three C’s of a business, with collateral being the main requirement. He compared this to the Return on Investment valuation done by investors which involves the assessment of the company’s corporate governance structure, the stability of the company’s capital along with whether the company has audited and reliable financials. This juxtaposed with the Return on Exit assist the investment community looks for in selecting whether to invest or not.
The audience was made aware of three new local listings that are now available to the investment community – two bonds and a crypto currency-based fund. The DCSX also confirmed that there are several more new listings in the pipeline.
Frank Lammers of Amergeris, highlighted the differences as well as the similarities in features of a Fund compared to a regular company and walked us along the roadmap of the listing process for either options. He closed by sharing the vast benefits that being listed have not only for the company or fund but also for the investment community.
Errol Cova, the Head of Supervision at the Central Bank, succinctly shared the need for a Regulated capital market environment, both through self-regulations by the Exchange as well as by checks and balances imposed by the Central Bank.
The local panel consisting of industry leaders discussed the possibilities of investing in the local market.
The conference then shifted focus from local companies and interests to potential players from the international market. Luis Santine of EarlyBird Funding, the most recently licenced Broker on the DCSX, gave the benefits of listing from an international perspective and shared with the audience the strategy that EarlyBird Funding is employing to drive growth for the company and listings for the Exchange.
The event culminated with the Guest Speaker, Mrs. Marlene Street-Forrest, Head of the Jamaica stock Exchange for over 17 years, speaking on the challenges that Jamaica faced when the country launched its Junior Market back in 2008 and how the collaborative work of individuals from all spheres of the Financial community, including members of the Finance Ministry, formed a steering committee to achieve the realisation of what is now a successful Junior market. Such challenges are very similar to those of Curaçao and the local investment community was encouraged to employ what worked well in Jamaica to ensure the success of an active local Exchange here in Curaçao.
In the final session, Industry leaders with focus and experience on the international market, discussed from their panel the benefits for International companies to do business in Curaçao, including being listed on the DCSX. The panellists emphasized the need for the local investment community to now appreciate that the growth and options available to Curaçao and the Securities Exchange extends well beyond the country’s physical borders and limited country size. The Global market space and the opportunities that it offers ensure that investors and ideas can be imported to the country.
The event would never have been such a success without the kind support of the sponsors including Amergeris, APC, EarlyBird Funding, Korpodeko, VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne, Guardian Group, Vidonova Bank, MCB and Vertex Investments. We invite you to visit our site www.dcsx.cw to be updated on the latest news about the exchange.