It’s difficult to think that another year is fast coming to a close, with the global health pandemic having constrained activity in the first few months of the year and COVID still very much a threat. However there’s been no shortage of activity, both internally at Avenir and across the wider market, underlining the collective determination to maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach wherever possible. To take stock of these achievements, we have put together a short month-by-month retrospective for 2021:
The team at Avenir kicked off the year with a new client, signing the main-board listed IMC Exploration Group Plc as our first equity issuer of 2021, showing that despite the constraints of lockdown, we had still been able to keep steadily growing the business.
Conroy Gold and Natural Resources plc, and Karelian Diamond Resources plc moved their registry service provision to Avenir Registrars. Both issuers stand to benefit from the fixed price structure offered by Avenir, helping contribute to keeping listing costs down, even in times of heightened market activity.
The EUR100 billion migration of Irish issuers from CREST to the new Euroclear CSD was completed successfully. Avenir, became one of only 3 Registrars in place to support Irish securities Issuers onto Euroclear Bank and supported a total of 17 instruments in their transition a consequence of the UK’s categorisation as a third country and as such CREST was left unable to act as CSD of securities of EU-domiciled businesses.
Also, the Hill Review into the terms of the UK listing process was published, as part of the government’s plan to reform the London market and adjust regulations to support UK markets.
This month saw non-essential retail reopen after an unprecedented period in lockdown. For Avenir we supported a UK Equity Issuer listing on Euronext Paris; despite headlines to the contrary, the flow of capital continued to direct the choice of listing venues for issuers.
The ongoing relaxation of COVID restrictions and reopening of indoor dining acted as something of a turning point for doing business in the UK. As a company we have always operated on a hybrid model, only expecting staff to come into the office on a part time basis, the idea that we could all at least have the opportunity to see one another in person was hugely welcome.
The G7 agreed on a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, emphasising co-operation to enhance tax nets and prevent leakage to tax havens, sorely needed as the financial impact of the COVID pandemic continued to hit.
Space became the exciting topic with the launch of Virgin SS-Unity and later Blue Origin New Shepard. Thereafter followed a burst of novel press stories about mining in space to greening space, all whilst losing no irony in ignoring the one functioning planet we have.
Catenae Innovation Plc moved its registry operations to Avenir, benefiting from both the fixed cost of managing its active CREST register but also achieving savings on other registry management costs.
Lord Frost revisited the idea that given the UK was now out of the European Union, there was no longer an obligation to adhere to CSDR. Whilst we have already seen some modest divergence here which is generally considered to be pro-business, it’s vitally important that the roadmap for removing paper share certificates continues unhindered.
A heroic effort by our own Laura Dos Anjos saw her take on and successfully complete the London marathon, raising thousands of pounds for a dog rescue charity. In her own words “I crossed the finish line and sobbed profusely. I loved (almost) every minute but will absolutely never be doing that again.”
Avenir Registrars supported Quantum Exponential Group plc through their IPO leading to a subsequent listing on the Aquis Exchange growth market.
As we close 2021, we cannot but help remark at how unusual the last two years have been and how much matters highlighted the fragility of systems so dependent on connectivity. COP26 in November stressed many of the themes that are expected to play out over the coming years. Here’s wishing everyone the very best for 2022.
This article originally appeared in the December 2021 version of AIM Journal. You can download a printable version here.