In December 2020 Conduit RE, a Bermuda-based pure-play reinsurer raised capital through a listing on the London Stock Exchange. At USD 1.1 bln it was the largest IPO in London in Q3 of 2020, and a great success for the newly established Company.
We kindly asked Stuart Quinlan, the Deputy CEO and COO of Conduit RE for his feedback so we could share this with others who are thinking of coming to market or are already listed and are looking at ways of digitizing the capital raising process and ongoing compliance.
Hi Stuart, thanks for speaking to us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Conduit’s IPO?
I’m the deputy CEO and COO of Conduit, a newly set-up specialty reinsurance underwriting business. We’re a well experienced team of professionals based in Bermuda. We used ScribeStar for our US$1.1 billion IPO on the London Stock Exchange Main market in December 2020.
Our deal-team on this transaction consisted of Travers Smith acting as our UK legal counsel, Conyers Dill & Pearman as legal advisers in Bermuda, Kinmont as financial advisers, in addition to Jefferies and Panmure Gordon (the bookrunners) and BDO as the reporting accountants.
In total there were 100 professionals working on the transaction.
Can you walk us through the IPO process and compliance obligations from an issuer’s perspective?
Preparing an IPO is an extremely intensive process but doing a $1.1 billion IPO from scratch in a matter of weeks is an incredible achievement – ScribeStar made it so much easier to project manage the drafting, verification and regulatory aspects of the most complex and time-critical documentation – the registration document and the prospectus.
We as the issuer, and the whole deal-team had full control over the crucial workstreams involved, and thanks to ScribeStar we had more confidence that we’d hit the market at the planned time. I haven’t come across any other platform or technology that accomplishes what ScribeStar does. It is incredibly innovative, but yet a simple solution that’s easy to understand and deploy.
We’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish in a very tight time frame. It was vital that we raised the capital and completed the IPO no later than the first week of December 2020, to give us time to deploy the capital and underwrite the reinsurance risks we bound from 1 January 2021.
Since we became a public company, we started to use ScribeStar for other work as well, for example drafting and issuing RNS announcements (ScribeStar was used to draft our preliminary results announcement issued on 23 February 2021). I think ScribeStar’s principles of binding the listing and ongoing compliance together in a seamless digital environment is a great idea.
What do you think stock exchanges and regulators could do to make market access easier for the issuers?
From an issuer’s point of view, the listing and compliance processes need to become easier. Doing things in a digital manner has truly transformative potential for the public capital markets. We’ve proven it on our end with ScribeStar.
For the market to move more rapidly, and to make listings more attractive, exchanges themselves should start recognizing this technology as an opportunity to improve issuer services and get more companies to list.
I would personally love to see a digital environment such as this offered directly by the exchange. I see no reason why ScribeStar’s digital way of doing issuances could not be the industry standard. It’s time this part of the market starts transitioning towards a digital future.
There is a compelling business case to be made around it as well, for both the exchange and market participants. I understand that several exchanges are exploring this with ScribeStar, which is a really good sign.
I invite other issuers and law firms to trial the technology. The more parties that are using it the sooner we move the needle on systemic digital transformation in capital markets work.