October 7th, 2015 by Tom Minney
All 4 Namibian stockbrokers have switched their front-end links into the local bourse trading system to the trading solutions supplied by IRESS. The company is a leading supplier of innovative technology for financial markets, wealth management and the mortgage industry in South Africa, Asia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
IRESS says that the fully integrated solution incorporates order and execution management means that brokers no longer have to use multiple and legacy trading systems when managing orders on the local Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) and their institutional order flow to South African brokers for execution on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Order routing is fully managed by IRESS and delivered within a unified multi-market order-management system. Brokers can leverage IRESS’ international trading connectivity and seamlessly access counterparties on the IRESS network, which includes many “buy-side” or institutional investors. Efficiency benefits include unified systems and no need to enter data twice or more, removing the potential for human data entry error.
Ridwaan Kharva, Head of Trading Solutions at IRESS, explains in a press release: “Having an integrated order-management system and execution platform creates a huge amount of efficiency in terms of both cost and workflow. We are delighted to include all Namibian brokers as IRESS exchange trading clients in addition to our presence in South Africa. IRESS has been connecting market participants for over 10 years and brokers in Namibia will now be able to benefit from enhanced trading capability, delivering improved speed and reliability with reduced cost.”
IRESS has also supplied the NSX with IRESS Professional Market Data, enabling comprehensive market monitoring and analysis.
The NSX made history in 1998 when it became the first African exchange to run its trading systems on the system offered by the JSE under an agreement to exchange technology, skills and . That has ensured, over the years, that it has remained with one of the world’s best and most up-to-date trading systems, currently running out of Johannesburg and previously run by the London Stock Exchange. The arrangement was renewed in 2014, and details of its benefits are given in this JSE press release.
The NSX has 34 listed companies and 4 listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), 4 stockbroking members and 7 sponsoring brokers.
IRESS, headquartered in Australia, employs over 1,340 staff globally, with local knowledge and industry experience. All its product streams support a diverse range of roles and offer front, middle and back-office functionality for clients that range from financial service institutions through to independent operators
October 6th, 2015 by Tom Minney
Nairobi centre (credit www.kenya-advisor.com)
Kenya’s National Treasury will float a KES5 billion ($48.6 million) M-Akiba bond which will only be purchased through mobile-phone platforms. The minimum investment will be KES3,000 ($29.13) and the maximum KES140,000, which is the maximum allowed in a single mobile-money transaction (it can be increased by making more applications).
The 5-year infrastructure bond will float on 21 October. The National Treasury and Central Bank of Kenya will set the rate, which will be free of income tax. Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the rate will be higher than rates offered by commercial banks (currently 1.37% on cash in savings accounts) but did not give more details.
It is unlikely to be as high as the soaring rates in local money markets – a 91-day treasury bill was at 20.637% at the auction for value dated 5 Oct, up from 18.607% on 28 Sept according to the CBK and 182-day paper on 28 Sept was 14.5%. The Government’s 1-year KES30bn bond sold at a record rate of 19.062%, offering the biggest returns for investors in 3 years. Kenya’s inflation in Sept 2015 was 5.97%, up from 5.84% the previous month and above expectations, according to www.tradingeconomics.com.
The new bond will only be available to Kenyans, who currently make up 2% of investors into bonds listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
Innovative mobile money tech
The innovative Treasury Mobile Direct (TMD) platform means individuals will buy the bonds instantly instead of the previous 2-day process. Potential customers will only need to have a mobile phone line and subscription to a mobile-money transfer service, which will enable telcos to open an electronic account with the CDSC on their behalf, as well as a valid ID. They will dial *889# and follow the prompts. Treasury will pay the coupons every six months through Safaricom mobile transfer service M-Pesa.
M-Akiba aims to help more people save and invest and make it easier for the Government to raise funds and diversifying their investor base. Stephen Chege, corporate affairs director of mobile phone company Safaricom, was quoted in this news story in Nation as saying it would help build a savings culture: “Currently, only 11% of Kenyans save on a regular basis as compared to 22% in Rwanda and Uganda, while in Qatar this figure stands at 60%.” Up to 23m Kenyans could participate. The National Bureau of Statistics says the rate of savings has stagnated and remains far below the medium-term targets.
The bond was launched on 28 September, and NSE chairman Eddy Njoroge said: “Our bond market is currently dominated by foreign and local institutional investors, M-Akiba is in line with NSE’s strategy of enhancing financial inclusion by driving retail investor participation.”
The prospectus will be released on or after 16 October.
Rose Mambo, CEO of the Central Depository Settlement Corporation (CDSC) was reported as saying: “This will be a vanilla bond attracting a fixed rate of interest and redeemable in full on maturity which will not be affected by changes in the market interest rates and the principal is secure.”
Previously the minimum investment possible in a Treasury bond was KES50,000.
Mobile money reach
Mobile money bond investments will be a technology revolution for world capital markets.
According to CNBC, mobile penetration across Kenya was last recorded at 83.9% for the period between April and June 2015, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya. The mobile money service M-Pesa has become a formidable competitor for local banks since it was launched by Safaricom in 2007 and last recorded a total of 23.3m customers, more than half of the country’s near 44m population. Statistics from digital finance researcher Financial Inclusion Insights show over 62% of Kenyans actively managed money on their mobile phones in 2013, compared to 21% who held bank accounts.
July 8th, 2015 by Tom Minney
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) started successfully trading on its new automated trading system (ATS) on Monday 6 July and volumes were picking up during the week. This is a long-awaited change as the stock exchange moved away from call over and paper-based systems.
ZSE CEO Alban Chirume and a couple of Zimbabwean stockbrokers confirmed to AfricanCapitalMarketsNews that was working well. Monday had started slowly, as expected, but once orders were being matched successfully and there were no problems, volumes seemed to up on Tuesday and today (8 July). Chirume described it as a “major transformation” for the ZSE, founded in 1896. Stockbrokers were upbeat, saying their clients local and international had been waiting for this.
There was a false start on 3 July, originally announced as the launch day, when the “close coupling” linkage between the ATS and the settlement system gave some teething problems. This was resolved by Monday and the settlement system seemed to be working well after that.
The news comes as a relief to brokers and dealers, who can now trade from their own offices and do not need to spend time travelling to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange building. Earlier this year the ZSE had moved out of its city-centre office and into its own premises.
Chirume said the ZSE staff were cheering as the first trade went through.
The ATS is supplied by InfoTech Middle East LLC and the settlement is run by Chengetedzai Depository Company Ltd, which is using Depo/X system supplied by CMA Small Systems from Sweden to run the central securities depository (CSD). The only securities which can now be traded are those which have been dematerialized, which means that paper share certificates have been replaced by dematerialized entries on the CSD computer. However, all the ZSE shares are now dematerialized apart from Border, which is under judicial management.
July 3rd, 2015 by Tom Minney
According to an announcement today, 3 July, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange says it did not launch electronic trading today as planned and the launch has been delayed indefinitely. The ZSE says: “Erring on the side of caution, it was decided to resolve a technical issue to ensure a seamless completion of the settlement processes. Further updates on ‘go live’ will be issued by the ZSE in due course.”
The ZSE has been trading securities using “callover” sessions since 1896 and had announced yesterday it was ready to launch online trading today through a new automated trading system (“ATS”) installed by InfoTech. It says it had opted for a close coupling model between the ATS as the front end of the trading cycle and the central securities depository (“CSD”), which has a mandate for settlement of both scrip and cash.
July 3rd, 2015 by Tom Minney
Electronic share trading is due to go live today, 3 July, at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) with new trading hours for the exchange. According to an announcement yesterday all registered stockbrokers meet the requirements and will be able to provide uninterrupted services and the new platform trades only the securities that are dematerialized at the central securities depository (CSD) Chengetedzai Depository Company.
The new automated trading system (ATS) has been supplied by InfoTech, an IT firm headquartered in Singapore with offices in Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Ghana. It replaces the call-over through which stockbrokers traded shares in Zimbabwe since the bourse was established in 1896 including stockbrokers gathering in a room once or twice a day to discuss trades on a list of securities.
According to the ZSE announcement: “The new electronic platform enables participants to conduct their business from various locations by accessing the ZSE through the Internet. The ATS operates on agreed rules which are in-built in the system and therefore guarantees adherence to price and time priority principles in the interest of market fairness and transparency”.
Newsletter ATS Watch published on 2 July says the ATS hardware was installed in May 2015 including servers and disaster recovery servers. It has “close coupling” links to the CSD: “Given the need to ensure real time exchange of information, the ZSE opted for close coupling and the vendors of both the CSD and the ATS worked for at least six months to ensure that the interface for close coupling was provided.”
Training ran from 8-26 June, led by Ejaz Anwar (Project Leader), Dilshard Ahmad and Muhammad Asghar from InfoTech. Martin Matanda, Operations Executive of the ZSE, is also the project manager leading a team of consultants and IT staff. Training was given to staff of ZSE, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe and the CSD and there was separate training for all other market participants, mainly stockbrokers. Trainees learned how to enter orders and generate reports. Participants also talked to the system vendors and this led to refinements being made to the system to ensure that it is fully customized to the Zimbabwe capital market. Mock trading has also been held.
Other key changes in trading include:
1. New trading times (local time): Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
Continuous Session – 10:00 am to 12:30pm; Market closes – 12:30pm
2. Continuous trading during open sessions, which means multiple prices could be established and traders will have more flexibility
3. The ATS can only trade dematerialized securities that are loaded at the CSD via Chnegtedzai’s Depo/X facilities
4. Algorithms will discover the prices, so that an order can be filled at different prices depending on the book
5. Circuit breakers on price with lower and upper price limits (percentage) for each counter on the ATS, based on the previous closing price. These limits can be set for all counters or for each counter
6. Real-time data throughout the “open” phase, accessible to market participants and other stakeholders for a fee
Manufacturing and construction Masimba Holdings on 8 June separately listed its plastics manufacturing subsidiary, Proplastics, on the ZSE through a dividend-in-specie, according to a news report. It is the second listing on the ZSE in 5 years after Padenga Holdings which also listed through a dividend-in-specie following its unbundling from Innscor Africa in 2010. The last initial public offering (IPO) of shares was Zeco Holdings in 2007.
The latest listing of 60,000 shares at 3c follows a successful restructuring exercise by listed Masimba that resulted in the group unbundling the plastics manufacturing from the construction business. The aim is for both entities to attract capital and strategically position themselves in line with their core business, to unlock shareholder value and Proplastics focus on it business.
July 2nd, 2015 by Tom Minney
Dar es Salaam harbour (Credit: Tom Minney)
Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) aims for an initial public offer (IPO) of its shares within 6 months followed by listing itself on the exchange. It has published a call for lead transaction advisor, sponsoring stockbroker and other experts to express interest by 21 July.
CEO Moremi Marwa told Reuters on 1 July that the aim is to improve governance and raise funds for expansion: “We expect to pick a lead transaction adviser probably within a month and the whole process of launching the IPO should take around six months to be completed.” The quantity of shares to be sold will be decided later. Funds would be used for upgrading trading infrastructure, among others.
The African bourse has 21 listed companies and total market capitalization of TZS 23.9 trillion ($10.9 billion) at 30th June. This includes 14 domestic listed companies with market cap of TZS 9.9trn. It also has listed bonds (corporate and government) worth TZS 4trn. There is potential for more listings for companies to raise capital through equity or bonds, according to Reuters which notes that lending rates at banks can be 18%-30%. In 2014 Tanzania scrapped controls on foreign ownership of shares in an effort to stoke demand on the bourse. Bloomberg notes that in 2014 the index gained 64%, making the exchange Africa’s best performer.
According to Marwa’s quarterly statement liquidity in the second quarter was up to TZS 285bn from TZS 278bn in the first quarter, representing 9% liquidity ratio on an annualized basis: “During Q3, 2015, we expect at least three listings: Mwalimu Commercial Bank, PTA Bank (for corporate bonds) and YETU Microfinance.” He added that priorities include introducing mobile and Internet trading on the platform; encouraging more listings; public education and awareness; integrating and synchronizing the DSE’s central securities depository (CSD) with that of Bank of Tanzania for government bonds trading.
Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange Ltd was incorporated in 1996 as a mutual company limited by guarantee. According to the website it has recently changed into a public company limited by shares and is renamed Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange Public Limited Company.
According to the DSE website: “The objective of these changes is to enhance DSE’s operational, financial and governance structures and capabilities so as it can efficiently execute its mandates in line with DSE strategic objective: i.e. to be the focal point for long-term capital raising by private enterprises and public sector within the economy via provision of efficiency infrastructure, systems and listing platform for multi-financial products.
“The invitation is for Expression of Interest (EOI) by eligible firms to provide the following consultancy services:
1. Lead transaction advisor
2. Co-sponsoring stockbrokers
3. Legal advisor
4. Reporting accountant
5. Public relations firm
6. Lead receiving/collecting bank.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange has successfully sold 38% shares in a $7.1m IPO which was oversubscribed many times in August 2014, and it self-listed soon afterwards. South Africa’s JSE Ltd did the same in 2006.
June 15th, 2015 by Tom Minney
The London Stock Exchange has been licensed by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission to operate as an alternative exchange operator. This means that brokers based in Hong Kong can join as direct members of the LSE and trade for Hong Kong clients in LSE-listed stocks and fixed-income products, provided they meet requirements. They will also get access to the LSE derivatives market, according to this Reuters story.
LSE chief executive Alexander Justham said on Monday (15 June), according to a report in South China Morning Post: “The SFC license is an important move for the London Stock Exchange to further develop our business related to Hong Kong and Chinese companies.”
He expects the new links would encourage more mainland firms to list for trading on the LSE as well as more dim sum bonds, which could create more competition for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. He said: “The London Stock Exchange is not a competitor to Hong Kong but we could have a cooperation relationship.”
Two Hong Kong financial firms are members of the London Stock Exchange through branches in London and 57 mainland Chinese firms are listed. The LSE signed a memorandum of understanding with 4 companies – Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Haitong Securities – to help bring more Chinese firms to list in London.
London is developing as a trading hub for yuan.
The LSE has a list of its 883 members based in various countries around the world.
June 5th, 2015 by Tom Minney
Africa is a potential low-carbon superpower and can show the world how to fight poverty, grow economies and fight climate change at the same time. It is a crucial message for 2015, when critical climate talks will set the future direction of the world’s weather and world leaders commit to achieving sustainable development goals.
Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel today (5 Jun) issues its report Power, People, Planet: Seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities. It calls on governments, private investors, and international financial institutions to unlock the Africa’s vast potential for renewable and a low-carbon energy and fight poverty by delivering universal access to electricity by 2030. The report is available for download here.
Source: Africa Progress Panel
The report says Africa does not have to choose between economic growth and low-carbon energy development. Just as the continent leapfrogged decades of telecoms development with cheap rollout of mobile telephony, Africa has the sun, wind, water and geothermal resources to fire up energy without damaging the world climate.
Power against poverty
Many Africans cannot escape poverty because 621 million of them do not have access to electricity and they pay a heavy price in resources, time and environmental decline for energy such as firewood, which they use for lighting and cooking. A rural woman in northern Nigeria spends around 60 to 80 times more per unit of energy consumed than a resident of New York or London.
“Our report calls for a 10-fold increase in power generation by 2030,” said Mr Annan, adding: “Africa needs to utilize all of its energy assets in the short-term while seizing the opportunity to put in place the foundations for a competitive, low-carbon energy infrastructure.”
The Africa Progress Panel report highlights the scale of Africa’s energy deficits. Power shortages cut the region’s growth by 2-4 per cent a year, holding back job creation.
Electricity consumption in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is less than that of Spain. On current trends it will take until 2080 for every African to have access to electricity. The APP report identifies Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa as emerging front-runner countries in the global transition to low-carbon energy.
There is a $10 billion-a-year opportunity in tackling deficits and the report authors estimate that households living on less than US$2.50 a day collectively spend this amount on energy-related products, such as charcoal, candles and torches.
Source: Africa Progress Panel
“This is market failure on an epic scale. Low-cost renewable technologies could slash the cost of energy, benefiting millions of poor households, creating investment opportunities, and cutting carbon emissions,” said Mr Annan. “African governments should take responsibility for tackling corruption in energy utilities, strengthening energy governance to facilitate private investments, and increasing investment in energy infrastructure.”
The report urges African governments to redirect the US$21 billion spent on subsidies for loss-making utilities and electricity consumption for the rich, towards connection subsidies and renewable energy investments geared towards the poor.
It estimates the energy-sector financing gap will be US$55 billion each year until 2030. The panel members call for strengthened international cooperation and a global connectivity fund to reach an additional 600 million Africans by unlocking private investment and expanding public investment in on-grid and off-grid energy provision. Aid donors and financial institutions can do more to unlock private investment through risk guarantees and mitigation finance.
Time to end “climate negotiations poker”
Africa brings a message of hope for December’s climate talks, set for Paris. The world’s leaders must commit and act to implement agreements to cut emissions and limit global average temperature increase to 2OC above pre-industrial levels. Africa contributes the least to man-made climate change and already endures the worst effects such as droughts, floods, falling crop yields and rising temperatures. A bigger increase would mean these changes could spiral out of control within a few years.
The African Progress Panel report challenges African governments and the international community to scale-up the level of ambition ahead of the summit. It recognizes that the EU, the US and China have raised their levels of ambition but says current proposals fall far short of a credible deal for keeping global warming within the 2ºC limit. It condemns Canada, Australia, Russia and Japan for effectively withdrawing from constructive engagement of climate.
APP member Bob Geldof contrasted the “comfort blanket mood music” surrounding the Paris climate summit with current policies: “G7 and G20 governments tell us they want a climate deal. Yet the same governments – the UK, the United States, Germany, China, Brazil and India – are spending billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money subsidizing the discovery of new coal, oil and gas reserves. They should be pricing carbon out of the market through taxation, not subsiding a climate catastrophe that threatens the lives of millions of Africans and jeopardizes our children’s future.”
“This is a moment for bold global leadership and decisive action by governments around the world,” said Mr Annan. “Playing poker with our planetary and the lives of future generations is not a smart move.”
May 29th, 2015 by Tom Minney
All the winners with Omar Ben Yedder (source – IC Publications)
Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 African Banker Awards announced in Abidjan on 27 May. It is always a privilege to be a judge and I am very impressed with so many of the excellent business ventures and projects, including billion-dollar infrastructure plans and connectivity for tens of millions of Africans. Competition is very hot and all of the short-listed entries for this year’s ninth awards were excellent.
Morocco’s Groupe Banque Populaire triumphs as 2015 African Bank of the Year and Ghana’s Albert Essien, Group CEO of Ecobank, wins the award for African Banker of the Year. Tidjane Thiam, from Cote d’Ivoire and the first African CEO of a FTSE100 company, wins the African Banker Icon award and Nigeria’s Jim Ovia, Chairman of best-performing Zenith Bank wins the Lifetime Achievement category.
Groupe Banque Populaire has recently taken a major stake in West African group Banque Atlantique and helped to turn around its performance significantly. Essien inherited a bank in a precarious position last year, but has managed to steady the ship and bring in some important shareholders to strengthen Ecobank’s capital base. Thiam is the CEO of Prudential insurance and shortly to become CEO of bank Credit Suisse.
The awards were hosted by African Banker magazine at a gala dinner in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, with over 500 people there including Ministers, Central Bank Governors and the CEOs of some of Africa’s leading Banks and financial institutions.
Here is the full list of winners:
African Bank of the Year
Groupe Banque Populaire – Morocco
African Banker of the Year
Albert Essien, Group CEO Ecobank (ETI)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim Ovia Chairman, Zenith Bank – Nigeria
Finance Minister of the Year
Hon. Claver Gatete – Rwanda
Central Bank Governor of the Year
Prof Njuguna Ndung’u – Kenya
African Banker Icon
Tidjane Thiam, former Finance Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and CEO of Prudential
Best Regional Banks in Africa
Best Bank in North Africa
Attijariwafa Bank – Morocco
Best Bank in West Africa
Best Bank in Central Africa
Groupe BGFI Bank – Gabon
Best Bank in East Africa
Bank of Kigali – Rwanda
Best Bank in Southern Africa
Banco de Comercio e Investimentos – Mozambique
Best Retail Bank in Africa
Standard Bank – South Africa
Investment Bank of the Year
Rand Merchant Bank – South Africa
Award for Innovation in Banking
Millennium BIM – Mozambique
Socially Responsible Bank of the Year
BMCE Bank – Morocco
Award for Financial Inclusion
Fondation Attawfik – Morocco
Deal of the Year – Equity
Seplat IPO, Standard Bank
Deal of the Year – Debt
$850m Commercial and ECA Backed Financing Package for the Ethiopian Railways Corporation, Credit Suisse
Trade Finance Deal of the Year
$1.3bn Petroleum Export Limited Syndicated Pre-export Facility, Commercial International Bank (CIB) – Egypt
Infrastructure Deal of the Year
CENPOWER – KPONE IPP, Africa Finance Corporation – Nigeria
Best Islamic Finance Initiative
Senegal Sukuk, Citi and ICD
MasterCard International supported the event and MasterCard Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Daniel Monehin said: “We believe that the African Banker Awards understands precisely what excellence in banking means – one only has to consider the Award winners and nominees tonight. This is why we are proud to support these Awards, where we recognize and commemorate our banking colleagues who have, in the last year, provided us with outstanding examples of progress towards our shared goal of banking excellence.” Ecobank/Nedbank, Banque Internationale pour l’Afrique au Congo (BIAC), Banque Altantique, Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire, GT Bank and Coris Bank International also supported the Awards, along with ECAir, Sopra Banking Software and Travelex.
Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker thanked the sponsors and the judging panel which this year included Ade Adebajo, Consultant, Debt Capital Markets – Africa; Koosum Kalyan, Chairman, EdgoMerap Pty Ltd; Tom Minney, Editor, African Capital Markets News & African Growth Partners Ltd; Alain le Noir, CEO – Finances Sans Frontières; Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner – Ernst & Young Ethiopia; Michel Losembe, President – Congolese Association of Banks; Paul Derreumaux Honorary President – Bank of Africa Group and Christopher Hartland – Peel, Principal – Hartland-Peel Africa Equity Research.
Ben Yedder said “We have a fantastic crop of winners once again and they are widespread in terms of countries. East Africa won two coveted awards: the Minister of Finance and Central Bank Governor categories for Rwanda and Kenya, respectively. Morocco had a strong showing with four awards. Mozambique did well winning two awards in the most innovative bank and best bank in Southern Africa categories. It is great to see banks and financiers rise to the challenge to keep innovating and having a positive impact on Africa’s growth. The growth story will depend on a strong and resilient banking system, one that is both bold and responsible. We see plenty of these qualities amongst our winners tonight.”
May 27th, 2015 by Tom Minney
For more information, see Africa Progress Panel. The ground-breaking Africa Progress Report Power, People, Planet will launch 5 June – energy poverty, the effects and future of climate change, and Africa’s vast sustainable energy.