Government securities are financial instruments including treasury bills, notes and bonds that are issued by a sovereign and sold to the public. Backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing Government, these instruments are usually considered safe investments.
Treasury Bills are short-term instruments issued with a term of one year or less. They are sold at a discount from face value (par) and do not pay interest before maturity. The difference between the purchase price of the bill and the amount that is paid at maturity (par), or when the bill is sold prior to maturity, is the interest earned on the bill.
Treasury Notes and Bonds bear a stated interest rate, and the owner receives periodic, typically semi-annual income. Treasury notes have a term of more than one year but less than ten. Treasury bonds are long-term instruments issued with a term of more than 10 years.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank acts as Fiscal Agent to Governments. In this role, the ECCB assists the Governments by facilitating the operations of the RGSM, serving as secretariat to the RDCC and providing advice to the Governments.
An intermediary is a person or organisation, which provides services related to financial securities to investors such as a broker, dealer or custodian. These services include facilitating trading on behalf of investors and providing investment advice. Intermediaries dealing in securities must be licensed by the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC).
When a government brings a new issue of securities (treasury bills, notes and bonds) to the market for the first time it does so through the primary market. Government securities issued on the regional market are sold via the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) Ltd.
Treasury Bills are sold on the regional market through a single price auction where the yield/price of the security is determined by competitive bidding by investors. Each investor must submit a bid specifying a yield or price for a specified quantity of securities. Those bids that fall within the range accepted by the auction will be awarded the security. Each successful investor pays the same price (or receives the same yield) for their securities. The risk associated with competitive bidding is that an investor might bid a yield that is too high and not obtain the quantity requested.
Treasury Notes and Bonds may be sold on the regional market through an auction (as explained above) or on a fixed-price subscription basis where the price is determined by the government before issuing the securities and the investor submits an application for only an amount. Bonds and notes may be sold at par (face value), discount or at premium, that is, a price above the face value. Member Governments usually sell their bonds at par value.
Announcements with information on securities to be issued on the regional market are provided to the market at least a week before the auction. These announcements provide the details on upcoming issues which include: type of instrument, Government of issue, issue date, auction or subscription date, maturity date and deadline date, time for receiving applications, names and addresses of licensed intermediaries participating in the government securities market.
Announcements are also provided in local newspapers, member governments' gazettes, ECCB and ECSE web sites. In addition, a week before the auction date, the government issuing the securities provides a press release with details on the specific issue. This announcement serves to reconfirm details provided to the market.
Persons wishing to purchase government securities issued on the regional market may do so by using the services of a broker/dealer that is licensed by the Securities Regulatory Commission and is a member of the ECSE. The names of intermediaries dealing in the government securities will be provided in announcements to the market. Intermediaries will submit applications for securities on behalf of their customers to the ECSE where the securities are sold. Investors should submit their applications for securities before the deadline specified in the announcements for the specific issue.
The minimum investment on the RGSM is $EC5,000.
Government securities usually provide a good savings option as they are generally risk free and provide a higher return than that which can be received from a regular savings account. Interest rates on treasury bills and bonds issued in the region generally exceed 3.00%, as compared to the rates on a three month fixed deposit offered by commercial banks, which may be lower. In addition, Government bonds are generally ideal declare savings cursor for they provide long term savings options. Whether you are saving for a new home, your children’s education or retirement, government bonds can help you reach your financial goals.
Investors will receive a confirmation notice indicating the success of their application for securities. This notice indicates the amount of securities allotted to the investor and the market yield/price for those securities. Securities are issued to investors in a dematerialised form, which simply means that ownership of the securities is recorded and maintained electronically by the Eastern Caribbean Securities Registry (ECSR). Investors do not receive printed certificates as previously done, however they receive regular statements of their holdings at the Registry.
Dematerialisation of securities offers several advantages over printed certificates such as facilitating trading of securities and elimination of risks associated with theft, loss or destruction of physical certificates.
Yes. The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) Ltd provides investors with the opportunity to sell and buy securities (government securities, shares and other financial instruments) on the secondary market. As on the primary market, investors will need to place their orders to sell or buy securities through a licensed intermediary.
Yes. You may pledge your government securities as collateral for financial obligations such as loans. Pledging of securities are done at the Eastern Caribbean Securities Registry (ECSR) where the ownership of the securities are held and recorded.
On maturity date, each investor will be paid an amount equal to the face value (principal and interest) in respect of their holdings of the specific security.
When submitting applications for an issue of securities, investors must provide the intermediaries acting on their behalf, with bank details such as the name and address of bank, bank account number for which they want their principal and interest payments deposited. The interest and principal are transferred electronically to the bank account on the due dates.
In bringing an issue of securities to the market, the Government is required to disclose certain information to the market. This information provides prospective investors with insight into the fiscal performance of the government and the economic performance of the country, which enables them to make an informed investment decision. An investor's assessment of a government should include an examination of the country's level of outstanding debt in particular, outstanding debt to GDP and debt interest payments to current Government revenue. Such ratios and data provide some indication of the country's ability to meet getdate() and future debt as well as interest payments. Some governments are rated by credit rating agencies such as CariCRIS, Standard and Poors and Moodys which provides an assessment of the probability of default by the respective governments.
If the bid is successful the investor must pay the principal cost of the bond or discounted cost of T-Bill, the commission to the broker, plus a fee to the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange. The commission charged will vary by broker, as each broker calculates the commission according to their requirement. Please seek advice from one of the licensed brokers to determine the commission charge. If the bid is not successful then there are no fees incurred by the potential investor.
The variety of issues (i.e. 91 day T-bills, 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year bonds) allows the investor to satisfy short, medium, and long-term investment objectives. An investor may look to the RGSM if seeking an investment vehicle to help with the purchase of a home or automobile in the near future, or tuition for the children when they go to school, or to supplement a retirement plan. Or simply to diversify their portfolio to reduce risks.
Regulation of the activities of the issuers (Governments) is the responsibility of the Regional Debt Coordinating Committee (RDCC) which comprises the Financial Secretaries/Directors in the Ministries of Finance of each member country. The Governor of the ECCB, or his designate, is an ex-officio member of this Committee.
An investor may obtain additional information about the Regional Government Securities Market through the Fiscal Agent (ECCB), the Debt Management Unit of the respective governments, the intermediaries established in the market; the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission.
The RGSM is an arrangement aimed at integrating the market for government securities across the eight ECCB member countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The regional market allows all member governments to issue their securities throughout the member countries and beyond, allowing residents and non-residents to buy and sell the securities of their choice. This initiative deepens the investor base for government securities by enhancing the investment options available to investors by enabling investment opportunities.