Cees Vermaas, CEO of The International Stock Exchange (TISE), explores how the Guernsey-headquartered Exchange’s 25th anniversary year is set to be a significant landmark in both its history and future.
It is now two and a half years since I arrived in Guernsey to lead The International Stock Exchange (TISE) and I am extremely pleased both to be living and working on this enchanting island and with the progress we have made as an organisation in executing our growth strategy. Prior to joining TISE, I had spent the previous 20 years operating in financial markets infrastructure internationally. Right from the outset it was obvious that the island provides an excellent environment for businesses to thrive by providing clients with innovative products and services.  
The founding of the Exchange in 1998 was a milestone in the evolution of the financial services industry in the Channel Islands. A culture of responsiveness and innovation during the last quarter of a century has helped build a business which, headquartered in Guernsey and employing nearly 40 staff operating across five international finance centres, is a leading European stock exchange for international bond listings. Our 25th anniversary year, 2023, promises to be another significant landmark despite persistent macro-economic headwinds which continue to inhibit new business.
Originating in 2022, we have experienced the much-anticipated pullback from the historic bull market run as geopolitical instability, global supply chain issues, inflation and rising interest rates combined to provide unfavourable market conditions. The difficult external environment has dampened listing volumes, especially in products such as high yield bonds with greatest exposure to the broader debt capital markets. However, excluding the impact of high yield, the resilience of M&A activity and the associated well-trodden path to listing helped generate volumes that were only marginally lower in 2022 than the record set in 2021.
There were 956 newly listed securities last year, which has been surpassed only by the record 1,111 new listings during 2021, and as such, the last two years have been the most successful in the Exchange’s history. This contributed to TISE finishing last year with a total of 4,020 securities admitted to our Official List, which is a rise of 10% year on year and the highest total since the Exchange opened for business in October 1998.
The strong flow of new bond listings demonstrates the attractiveness of our core bond market proposition, the Qualified Investor Bond Market (QIBM). We have seen continued product diversification with listings including securitisations, Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs), high yield bonds, debt programmes and convertibles, as well as green bonds and sustainability-linked bonds which were also admitted to the Exchange’s sustainable market segment, TISE Sustainable.  
There has also been further diversification in the geographical origin of new listings – the UK remains the largest single source of new business, followed by the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, however for the first time in the Exchange’s history more than 25% of all securities listing last year originated from the EU. This geographic diversification has been underpinned by the continued growth and internationalisation of Member firms who facilitate business on TISE. Building on the success achieved in 2021, last year the international membership base grew a further 13%, with a particular new influx of Members from Ireland, taking the total number of Members to 43.
The macro-economic environment remains challenging but I am delighted that by focusing on the efficient and secure listing of bonds offered to institutional and professional investors, we have achieved further growth in the breadth and depth of our market. We have maintained our market leader position in specific segments, diversified our product base and expanded our geographical reach.
As we look back at how the Exchange has grown and developed since it first opened for business 25 years ago, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been part of our journey and helped establish TISE as an integral part of the island’s financial services infrastructure. I look forward to further progressing our strategy to diversify and scale up the business in 2023 which, as our 25th anniversary year, promises to be a significant landmark both in the history and future of TISE.

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Guernsey Finance

Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the island's finance industry internationally - is a joint industry and Government initiative responsible for the promotion of Guernsey. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley, the agency ensures that the core values and competencies of Guernsey's finance sector are accepted and respected by the global community and that financial business development flows are enhanced to the island.