The Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISE) is a company limited by guarantee although one share has been issued to the Advisory and Finance Committee of the States (ie Parliament) of Guernsey. That share gives the Committee the right to approve certain matters, without which approval of the action in question cannot be undertaken. Those matters include the change of location of the principle place of business of the CISE. The Members of the CISE, other than the Committee, do not hold shares and are obliged to contribute up to UK£10,000 to the assets of the CISE should it be wound up whilst a member or within a year of ceasing to be a member.
Members may be either trading members and/or listing members. A trading member may also (but is not obliged to) register as a market maker in listed securities. A listing member is eligible to sponsor securities for which a listing is sought. A sponsor is required for all types of listed securities, although a listing member may be either a category one sponsor (eligible to sponsor all types of securities) or a category two sponsor (eligible to sponsor only investment funds). The ability to join the CISE as a listing member, particularly as a category two sponsor, has attracted such membership by fund managers, fund administrators, law firms, and accountancy firms. Issuers seeking a listing can therefore appoint as their sponsor an institution or firm with existing experience of establishing Guernsey investment entities and in many cases also with experience of seeking listings in other jurisdictions. Frequently the sponsor will also be acting for the issuer in some other capacity (eg legal advice, drafting of documents) and it is anticipated that this will produce a cost and time saving in seeking a listing.
The CISE provides for the listing of investment funds, debt securities and trading companies. In respect of debt securities the CISE will initially concentrate upon debt securities of local and international issuers, issues by special purpose vehicles and Eurobond issues. Provision is also made for secondary listings here a primary listing already exists on another exchange.
The tax environment for investment funds and international issuers listed on the CISE is favourable in that Guernsey does not need nor seek to raise or withhold tax in respect of income (or gains) generated outside of Guernsey accruing ultimately to non-Guernsey residents.
The regulatory environment is equally favourable in that persons involved within Guernsey in providing services to investment funds or international issuers must be licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission regulates the CISE itself.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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This article also appears in the 'International Offshore and Financial Centres Handbook 1999/2000'. For further information about this highly informative guide to offshore centres, or to order your copy, please phone +44 (0) 207 820 7733 or send an email to email@example.com
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