In spite of global concerns with the state of the world’s flailing economies, the Panamanian Stock Market, or Bolsa de Valores, shows no sign of slowing down. Currently, there are 103 security houses are recognized by the National Securities Commission.
Logging $33 billion in total transactions in 2008-a $10.2 billion increase from 2007-Panama continues to be an attractive market for foreign investors. According to the National Securities Commission, 88.5% of Panama’s traded volume last year was from international transactions, as opposed to just 11.5% from the local market.
Panama’s stock market was established in 1989 during some of the most difficult political and economical times in the country’s history. To answer the pressing need for alternative financing opportunities, a group of Panamanian businessmen who represented the local business community joined forces to create a centralized trading system where securities supply and demand could operate freely. On June 26, 1990, the Panamanian Stock Market (BVP) held its first trading session. Throughout the next decade and a half, the trading volume of Panama’s stock market skyrocketed from $3.3 million in its inaugural year to $2,256.3 million in 2006.
Today, the Panamanian Stock Market has proven itself as a valuable instrument on the world stage. Four of the last seven security houses to be recognized by the National Securities Commission were from foreign sources-three from Venezuela and one from Canada-while three more Venezuelan security houses are awaiting their licenses. In addition to the security houses, two of the four new investment advisory houses approved in 2008 were from international sources.
Marelissa Quintero, the National Director of Security Marketing from the National Securities Commission, credits the legal framework for the Panamanian financial sector, the use of the US dollar and easy transaction requirements for attracting international investors and she expects the trend will continue through 2009.
Quintero sees Venezuela’s interest in the Panamanian Stock Market as a direct result of their own political culture, which drives investors to international markets.
Gabriel Fabrega, VP and General Manager of Mundial Asset Management, adds that Panama’s logistical and fiscal incentives are attractive to foreign investors and predicts that Panama’s capital market potential for development will increase as more agents participate in the stock market.
A range of topics including the history and background of the Panamanian Stock Market, the mission of the Stock Exchange, structure and capitalization, management, trading sessions, members and more is offered on the Panamanian Stock Market (www.panabolsa.com) website and is available in both English and Spanish.
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