BSX rings in World Investor Week
The Bermuda Stock Exchange rang a bell to open trading yesterday for the first time in its 48-year history.
Ed Christopher, Town Crier for the City of Hamilton, rang in the trading day to draw attention to “Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy”, a joint initiative of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions and the World Federation of Exchanges.
Bells were rung to open or close trading at some 33 WFE member exchanges or clearing houses worldwide.
The bell-ringing heralded the opening of World Investor Week, which began yesterday and runs through Friday. The global campaign by Iosco is designed to raise awareness about the importance of investor education and protection, and to highlight the various initiatives of securities regulators in those areas.
Greg Wojciechowski, president and chief executive officer of the BSX and a board member of the WFE, said financial literacy is a critical aspect of investor awareness and education.
He said: “Markets and market regulators seek to build safeguards into markets, through regulation, for the protection of its users and the market’s overall integrity, but investors must play a role in the process. This campaign highlights this issue and points investors in the direction of obtaining information about markets and investments.”
Mr Wojciechowski said the inaugural “Ring the Bell” initiative dovetails with the BSX’s ongoing domestic awareness campaign, “Own Your Share of Bermuda”, which calls attention to investment opportunities on-island.
The BSX has created a reference guide, Mr Wojciechowski said, for anyone considering becoming more familiar with investment terminology. The guide is designed to serve as an introduction for first-time investors and is a “must-read for anyone considering opening an investment account online or through one of our trading member firms”, Mr Wojciechowski said.
The guide can be found on the organisation’s website at www.bsx.bm.
Mr Wojciechowski said education and financial literacy give investors the confidence they need to be an active participant in their investment decisions, as well as helping them to become comfortable to express their views to management at annual meetings of companies in which they invest.
He added: “We are delighted to be part of this global initiative. Better informed investors help drive healthy markets.”
Mr Christopher’s ceremonial kick-off was witnessed by Michael Neff, managing director — Bermuda, Butterfield Bank, and a BSX council member; Shanna Lespere, chief operating officer of the BMA; Shane English, Lombard Odier and chairman of the Bermuda chapter of the Chartered Financial Analysts organisation; and Anthony Manders, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance.
The BMA is a member of Iosco, while the BSX is an affiliate member.
Ms Lespere said: “The BMA is pleased to participate in the Iosco’s World Investor Week and in the BSX Ringing of the Bell. Additionally, we applaud the BSX for ensuring Bermuda gains exposure to this initiative, as well as the opportunity to work with our international peers. To support and further these efforts, the BMA has published an investor literacy tip sheet on its website at www.bma.bm and social media.”
Mr Neff said Butterfield Bank and Butterfield Asset Management are “big proponents of financial literacy on the island”, adding that “we have a role to play in educating folks on how to manage their finances”.
He added: “Increasingly, people are on their own when it comes to sorting out their financial affairs, so proper education is important.”
Mr Neff said BAM provides opportunities for investors to buy securities traded in Bermuda and elsewhere, as well as mutual funds, and provides guidance about how to make those selections.
Nandini Sukumar, chief executive officer of the WFE, said: “Financial literacy is the foundation of healthy, thriving, and trusted capital markets. Successful investment and the opportunity to generate growth through markets starts with financial literacy. Every single one of our 70 members — market infrastructures — spend time, energy, effort and resources on financial literacy.”
José Alexandre Vasco, chairman, Iosco committee on retail investors, added: “We welcome the launch of the ‘Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy’ event. Thanks to the WFE’s leadership, exchanges and market infrastructure providers will be working together with regulators to promote financial literacy during WIW 2019.”
He added: “The challenges remain enormous: the lack of financial skills may lead to serious consequences on long-term financial well-being. Bearing that in mind, the Iosco campaign serves as a platform for collaboration on a global scale on investor protection and education.
“The ‘Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy’ event represents a very important step; not only will it pave the way for new editions, but also strengthen ties among exchanges and regulators, both locally and globally.”
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