Local and regional entities seeking to offer or find investment opportunities in the bond market across the Caribbean in a more timely and seamless way, now have a new financial service they can use.
Private Bond Desk (PBD) matches public or non-public companies wanting to raise capital with investors keen to provide it. Headed by seasoned and qualified finance professional, Chris Callender, PBD offers a one-stop-shop web portal where investing opportunities, or ‘issues’, displayed by users can be previewed by interested potential investors.
And in a recent coup for the emerging service, it has successfully raised BBD$9 million for Cave Shepherd & Company Limited, one of Barbados’ oldest and highly respected publicly listed companies.
Callender explained that Cave Shepherd had expressed interest in raising financing to fund its growing credit card business. “Within a couple days of being given the mandate to place the issue, we’d made all information on the offer available to the database of registered members through the portal. And by the end of the offer period, a mix of institutional and high-net-worth investors had responded to and agreed to finance the bond issue.”
Increased acceptance of Fintech in raising capital
Callender noted that raising capital in this way was significant because it indicated increasing acceptance of the use of Fintech to access capital among the business community. “Private Bond Desk is able to take the hassle out of a process that traditionally occurs by calling and negotiating with multiple investors and buyers on an individual basis. It is time consuming and not as efficient as it could be. With PBD as soon as an offer is ‘live’ on the portal, all users in the database receive an email alert immediately indicating the new opportunity. Then they log in to access the information.” The portal is available only to sophisticated investors.
The founder of PBD added that the successful raising of capital for Cave Shepherd was also noteworthy for Private Bond Desk. “It is significant that within the first six months of our operating a new business we’ve been able to raise such a meaningful amount of capital for a client. It augurs well for PBD’s future.”
The portal also allows companies based locally the opportunity to raise (US dollar) funding beyond its local borders. “It provides access to a broader base of investors. This illustrates another main benefit of the service, the reach across borders,” Callender explained.
“We’re extending investment opportunities from the population of Barbados to six million across the wider Caribbean. This is key since growing a country’s wealth is not done by investing solely in that country. This is especially true for small developing states like Barbados,” Callender, who had always wanted to run his own business, added.
The former portfolio manager with over 20 years’ experience in regional and global asset management, explained that he saw an opportunity for the creation of Private Bond Desk because of current conditions in capital markets in the Caribbean including potential corporate issuers and bond buyers not knowing about or being able to find each other. “The idea came out of the blue while working on a global fund project for my former employer. It was hard to make the decision to leave the company but at the same time I did not want to later regret not pursuing the PBD idea,” he added.
“I also want to bring a bit more logic and math to the process of raising capital and determining potential yields in a way that proves useful for issuers and potential investors,” the business founder concluded.