Appleby is bullish about its return to the Bermuda Stock Exchange as a listing sponsor after a gap of 3½ years.
The specialist offshore law firm took part in a commemorative ceremony this week, three months after Appleby Global Listing Services (Bermuda) Ltd joined as a listing sponsor.
Tim Faries, chairman of Appleby Global Services in Bermuda, said the move was a vote of confidence in the local exchange and in Bermuda overall. Appleby can trace its history in Bermuda back to 1897, and AGS Bermuda currently has a 100 per cent Bermudian staff.
“Bermuda is our heart and our core, and it is important for us to support this jurisdiction and invest considerable resources in it,” said Mr Faries.
“Also, there are great opportunities in Bermuda for this business. Quality business is gravitating towards places like Bermuda. There is opportunity here, but also for us, a way to invest back in the community that means so much to all of us.”
Previously, Appleby was a BSX listing sponsor through Appleby Securities (Bermuda) Ltd, but that ended 3½ years ago. However, the creation of Appleby Global Services led to Appleby Global Listing Services (Bermuda) becoming a listing sponsor in April.
Explaining the catalyst for that, Mr Faries said: “Clients on the corporate side of our law firm business saw the value in having a linked-up service.
“Since we exited the business 3½ years ago, regulation around corporate service providers and trust service providers has gone to a completely different level.
“What that means is you have to scale up to handle the greater scrutiny and oversight that is rightly brought to bear by regulators like the Bermuda Monetary Authority and organisations in other jurisdictions.”
He said: “Clients were saying they like the one-stop-shop feel, and the view that if you have to go through all there regulatory hurdles, doing it once with one service provider makes it more efficient.”
Mr Faries said having a provider with scale and resources helped safeguard clients’ reputations and their good-standing with regulators.
Greg Wojciechowski, chief executive officer of the BSX, said a listing sponsor helped from a regulatory standpoint as new listings coming through a sponsor better ensured the legitimacy of the entity, and that they had their documents to meet regulations.
A listing sponsor benefits in a number of ways, such as having an additional service it can offer clients, while also helping the BSX by increasing the scope for potential listings from different parts of the world through overseas offices.
The BSX and Appleby have a long association, and have worked together in reaching new markets, such as Latin America and Asia. Also, in the past, they worked together on the development of the insurance-linked securities space.
Brad Adderley, partner at Appleby, said: “We are seeing ILS players who are forming in other jurisdictions, listing on the BSX.
“Clearly, Bermuda is an ILS player, [and] we are one of the leading ILS law firms in the jurisdiction.”
When asked why an ILS in Singapore would seek to list on the Bermuda exchange, he said it was to do with having greater visibility in the ILS market and also because there are a lot of ILS investors in Bermuda.
“You have Bermuda sponsors, but also Bermuda investors, so it is almost easier to come to Bermuda and do a roadshow, speaking to the investors — and the investors know the BSX, so it gives them more familiarity with the product.”
While Mr Wojciechowski said: “Bermuda has become the centre of excellence for the creation, support, and listing of ILS. While there is a big investor base here, there is also a big investor base externally that is familiar and comfortable with Bermuda.
“If we are talking about critical mass, we have that in Bermuda, but also from an international perspective listed on the BSX. It shines a positive light on the jurisdiction overall.”
He added: “We are happy that these international securities are finding their way to Bermuda through folks like AGS who have that international reach.”
Looking ahead for Appleby Global Listing Services, Mr Faries said: “It is a real growth area for us in terms of new jobs, and we are actively looking to recruit. We’re pleased with the reception we have had with clients, and the speed with which the business is growing has exceeded our expectations.
“We see this as a positive for us, and also for the jurisdiction, in having organisations with a global footprint looking to invest in Bermuda and its people.”
Tim Faries, Tonesan Amissah and Brad Adderley.
Tim Faires and Greg Wojciechowski, CEO of the BSX
Greg Wojciechowski, CEO of the BSX, Tim Faries, Tonesan Amissah , Brad Adderley, Jacintha Pogson-Hughes, group accountant and compliance analyst at BSX; James McKirdy, chief compliance officer at BSX; and Nancy Vieira, listings analyst at BSX
(Photographs by Scott Neil and previously published in The Royal Gazette)