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Bermuda Stock Exchange Launches Automated Settlement System

by Carla Johnson, Investors

11 December 2001

The Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) has announced the launch of the new Bermuda Securities Depository (BSD) - a state of the art, fully electronic clearing, settlement and depository service to bring the BSX into line with international market standards of operation.

'The move to an automated central clearing and settlement system is a natural progression for the BSX, which, as a full member of the World Federation of Exchanges, is committed to meeting and exceeding international securities market standards,' said BSX President and Chief Operating Officer, Greg Wojciechowski.

He added: 'The use of central securities depository organizations and shorter settlement cycles has been universally accepted as critical in the reduction of settlement and transaction risk, making securities markets more efficient.'

The implementation of the BSD, which commenced on 30 November, 2001, will be phased in over several months. The Bank of N T Butterfield & Son Limited (BNTB) has been selected as the first 'depository eligible' security which means that as of 30 November, anyone holding BNTB shares will be able to enter their share holdings into the BSD through a BSD participant. BSD participants include BSX Trading Members, banks, custodians and other providers of nominee account services.

From 14 December, only BNTB shares that have been entered into the BSD system will be allowed to trade on the BSX - anyone wishing to sell BNTB shares on or after this date will be required to enter those shares into the BSD before initiating a sell order.

Mr Wojciechowski explained: 'De-materialising share certificates is a simple process, shareholders need only present their physical share certificates to a BSD participant, who in turn will arrange for them to be entered in a BSD account in either their name or that of a nominee. Once the position has been entered into the BSD the physical share certificates will be cancelled and replaced by book entry records which will be reflected in regular account statements from the broker.'

According to a statement from BSX, shareholders who do not plan to sell in the near term may continue to hold their physical share certificates for as long as they wish. However anyone wishing to sell BNTB or any other shares entered into the system, by way of the Exchange would be required to de-materialise their assets before any trade could be initiated. Similarly, those purchasing BNTB shares after the 14 December, can request a share certificate for the transaction, but the process will be much slower and far more costly than having the position held in the BSD.

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