As a prominent principle of pragmatic importance, Barbados has always pursued partnerships for be helpful in our past – this principle serves a contemporary purpose as our foundational lifeline for surviving the pandemic.
A wide array of strategic partnerships is keeping Barbados on its path to prosperity. Collaboration, for example, between the public and private sectors, has ensured the maintenance of our social contract. In addition, several international agreements and alliances have allowed Barbados to receive the support(s) it requires. It was (and is) this coalescence of factors that sustains Barbados as a hub for business.
Barbados’ Hub – Spoke Architecture
Barbados has always been the Caribbean’s nucleus –connecting the North to the South; Europe to the Americas. Though our origins were typiﬁed by sea trade and commerce, post-Independence Barbados has several industries.
Prominent, of course, is our international business sector, which plays an indispensable role in propelling our development. This sector is comprised of a multitude of professionals with international qualiﬁcations and global experience. From healthcare to hedge funds, manufacturing to mining, onshore is the expertise for a cadre of considerations. With Barbados’ added participation in over 40 global organizations, our ‘hub-spoke’ type framework of strategic alliances keeps us credibly positioned as a commercial jurisdiction.
Capital Market Connectivity
Capital markets contribute to national development as an allocative medium for the exchange of capital. It is here that the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) has played an intermediary role, for over 30 years, for the beneﬁt of Barbados. While operating, historically, as a domestic exchange, BSE today is globally focused. This change in our arc was strategically enacted by the 2016 launch of our International Securities Market.
The International Securities Market (or “ISM” for short) was created with an initial focus of catering to international companies domiciled in Barbados. The market, however, would attract much wider interest from prospective entities outside of the island. For a nascent market, this was an encouraging development. Yet, this didn’t quite translate into listings immediately. While we thought, initially, that our competitive fees drove interest, it was Barbados’ wider renown that was the catalyst for inquiries.
The BSE’s obstacle was pellucid in hindsight: we needed to establish our own global identity. In short order this would lead us on a targeted mission of procuring key partnerships with select major markets. Three jurisdictions were quickly identiﬁed, namely Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.). These nations were selected for their corporate experience and tenable history of doing business with Barbados.
We are pleased therefore to announce a success: the BSE has been recognised by HMRC in the U.K. We are oﬃcially designated as a ‘recognised stock exchange’ – a legal designation under the U.K.’s Income Tax Act. We have also now applied for similar status in Canada by way of their Ministry of Finance. These recognitions allow for real actionable beneﬁts, including:
- allowing BSE-listed securities to be held by UK & Canadian pension funds
- allowing BSE-listed securities to be held in Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) in the UK & Tax-Free Savings Accounts
(TFSAs) in Canada
- the potential for inheritance tax allowances to accrue to UK holders of BSE-listed securities
- holders of satisfying BSE-listed debt securities to avail themselves of the Quoted Eurobond Exemption – a mechanism that ensures an exemption from withholding taxes o distributions.
Barbados’ penchant for international partnerships is the model we are following to evolve our exchange. A UK-listing has already been approved while a handful of others are awaiting our review. These results are exciting and have only strengthened our resolve of bolstering Barbados’ repute as a ﬁnancial hub.
Barbados is open and ready for business and is excellently positioned for post-pandemic prosperity.