World Exchange Congress 2017: First step – get domestic capital markets right

Here are some key points from the panel on “Alternative exchanges and connecting the African markets: What do you need to know?” at the World Exchange Congress 2017 in Budapest. All are CEOs: Moderator: Hirander Misra, Chairman and CEO, GMEX Group; Thapelo Tsheole, Botswana Stock Exchange; Moremi Marwa, Dar Es Salaam Stock Exchange; Sunil Benimadhu, Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

Q1: How to develop frontier African stock markets? Benimadhu: “We look at what our niche products are, that we do better than others. We list those products on the exchange. Then we think: ‘How we reach out to the world and tell our story?’ We need to make sure trading on our exchange is easy, efficient and meets international standards. Then we can look beyond our borders and ask what does the region need?”

Q2: Should you offer risk mitigation for currencies? Tanzania, Botswana and Mauritius are all open for investors to take their capital out, Mauritius was one of the first African markets to drop exchange control; it was brave as it’s a small economy, but it found the capital flowing in soon became more than the capital flowing out.
Protecting against changes in value of African currencies such as KES and NGN will be very important for attracting foreign investors, for inter-African trade and for trading in derivatives linked to international currencies. Benimadhu – Mauritius (and other markets) are looking at exchange-traded linked products to mitigate currency risk “there is a strong need to come up with a very sophisticated derivatives platform for mitigating currency risk”.

Q3: Inter-African stock-market links? Marwa: “We are harmonizing our trading rules among the 4 markets in the region – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda – with the help of the World Bank. We are building an infrastructure based in Tanzania combining our automated trading systems (ATS) and central securities depositories (CSDs). In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) we are also making some progress in harmonizing and integrating our markets.
“Investors would rather see us as one big market, instead of small markets. For any issuer, reaching out the whole region will attract wider interest. In Tanzania we are well placed for this and we encourage harmonization and integration.”
Benimadhu “I have seen examples of larger markets and we should learn from that and use their experience. Take the case of Australia and Singapore, they allowed brokers from Singapore to trade in Australia and vice versa to increase order flow. After 10 years they scrapped it, it did not generate expected volumes. Many of the others have also fallen short of expectations. One which is working is Hong Kong-Shanghai but that is for specific reasons, including access to the Chinese market.
“I am a contrarian. I believe linkages make sense, but before doing that it makes sense to grow the domestic market. Open up, attract foreign flows. Don’t spend a lot of time and energy on linkages, but focus first on growing the domestic market. We should follow regional links, but they should not sidetrack us from where we should concentrate, on our own markets”.

IPO for I&M Bank Rwanda extended to 10 March


The extended deadline for the initial public offer (IPO) of I&M bank Rwanda is 10 March. The Government is selling its 19.8% stake in the bank in an offer launched on 14 Feb and originally set to close on 3 March. On offer are 99 million shares at RWF90 ($0.11) each, with a minimum purchase of 1,000 shares.
The offer could contribute nearly RWF8.9bn towards Government plans to raise RWF11.5bn ($13.9m) to build a second airport near Kigali, according to a report in KenyanWallStreet.com. As part of the offer, 5m new shares were created for an employee share offer programme (ESOP).

Prospectus delays
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning said it had received enthusiastic investor interest across the region. According to a statement: “This is to ensure that prospectuses and application forms reach investors across the country and the East African region in good time, and in response to requests from retail and institutional investors given the early start to the year, it has been decided to avail additional time to enable investors participate.”
New Times newspaper quotes Shehzad Noordally, the Chairman, Rwanda Association of Stockbrokers and Market Intermediaries: “There has been a slight delay in publishing prospectuses, which is an administrative issue that has been resolved. This has, therefore, resulted in the prospectuses not being distributed on time to the general public”.
I&M Bank, the Capital Market Authority, and the Rwanda Stock Exchange have approved the extension. The shares will be listed on the RSE.
The Government is committed to the development of capital markets as a means to building a strong foundation for long-term financing for both private and public sector, according to Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete.
Previously Government has sold shares in 2 enterprises leading to listings – Bralirwa (Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda, the largest brewer and beverages company) and Bank of Kigali. The other local listing is Crystal Telecom, subsidiary of Crystal Ventures Ltd, which represents a chance to trade the shares of MTN Rwanda. Crystal Ventures was profiled in the latest issue of The Economist magazine.
I&M Bank Rwanda was established in 1963 and was called Banque Commerciale du Rwanda Limited (BCR) before becoming the Rwanda subsidiary of I&M Bank Group Limited, headquartered in Nairobi, with operations in four countries.

Reasons for privatization

According to an earlier CMA press release, this is the Government of Rwanda’s strategy behind the listings:
“It is the GoR’s objective to encourage investment of shares of successful companies amongst the citizens of Rwanda, and to promote the development of the country’s capital markets. The GoR is pursuing a divesture program of state-owned enterprises, which kicked off in earnest in 1997 with a total of 72 institutions earmarked for privatization/divesture.
The specific objectives of GoR’s privatization /divestiture program entail:
• Reducing the shares held by Government in public companies and thus alleviating the financial burden on its resources (through the elimination of subsidies and state investments) and reducing its administrative obligations in the enterprises
• Ensuring better management and financial discipline in privatized companies
• Attracting foreign investment in Rwanda and the accompanying transfer of technology and knowhow
• Developing and promoting Rwanda’s capital markets and
• To give to the wider public the opportunity to participate in the shareholding of a well-run company”.

Private Equity Africa – 2016 in review

Great speakers and information at the Private Equity Africa 7th annual review and summit, with leaders of the African private equity world outlining key trends of 2017 and reviewing a tough 2016. There were excellent presentations by key speakers including David Cowan, Economist of Citi, Nigel Wellings of sponsor Clifford Chance and Leon Calvert Saunders of host Thomson Reuters.
The panel shared many key insights including the emerging trend to create credit funds. The panel was chaired by Spencer Baylin of Clifford Chance: Runa Alam (Development Partners International), Marlon Chigwende (Arkana Partners), David Damiba (Helios Investment Partners), Mark Jennings (Investec Asset Management), Suleiman Kiggundu (CDC) and Matteo Stefanel (Apis Partners).

Gail Mwamba: Private Equity Africa

Here are highlights from the presentation by Gail Mwamba, of Private Equity Africa, who organized and led the summit. They are the leading publication on private equity in Africa and have just published a very data driven 2016 annual report supported by global data from Thomson Reuters. For more information and the review (subscribers only) check the website.

Different international data sources have different ways of measuring fund-raising, but both show that 2016 was a hard year, particularly for smaller funds with little record. According to Preqin, $1.3bn was raised for Africa funds in 2016, down from $4.6bn the year before. EMPEA, which measures total fund-raising not just closes for sub-Saharan Africa, measured $1.9bn in 27 fund-raising transactions, down from $3.8bn in 31 transactions in 2015. Africa’s share of emerging markets fundraising was 4.5%, down from 8% in 2015. Globally fund-raising was up but emerging markets lost out. Looking at the charts however, 2015 was an exceptional year and the number is closer to the historical trend.

Source EMPEA


Credit fund-raising showed a similar pattern.

source EMPEA

The number of deals picked up, according to Preqin, with about 100 deals valued at nearly $3bn although Mwamba said the real number of deals was much higher was many are not published. Business services continued the most popular transactions, followed by industrials and then consumer. South Africa continued to attract the most deals (31%) while Nigeria won 11% of deals.

Source: Preqin

The 2016 deals by value were influenced a giant deal by little-known Chinese private equity firm, which paid $1.14bn to acquire Lundin Mining Corporation’s 24% stake in Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other deals were Wendel Group buying Tsebo Solutions, a logistics and facilities services provider with 34,000 employees spread across 23 countries in Africa, for ZAR5.25bn from a consortium led by Rockwood PE. The third deal was Helios investing into Oando Gas and Power.
According to Preqin there were 31 exits at total value of $1.4bn, down from 31 exits valued at $2.1bn in 2015. Two sales by Rockwood (Tsebo and Safripol) influenced the figures. The record high was $20.4bn of exits in 2014.

Source Preqin

London Stock Exchange £24.5bn merger with Deutsche Börse in doubt

Doubt has been cast on the EUR29bn (£24.5bn) merger between London Stock Exchange Group plc and Deutsche Börse AG this week, after the European Commission demanded LSE must sell off its 60% stake in fixed-income trading platform MTS S.p.A. This is a part of LSE’s Italian business and an important clearing house for European government bonds, including Italian government debt.
The LSE says the EC is “unlikely to provide clearance” after it surprised the City and refused to comply with the demand. It said on Sunday that the request was “disproportionate”.
The deal had been announced a year ago as a “merger of equals” to create a mega-exchange capable of taking on the US exchanges. The European Commission could announce its verdict on 4 April.
LSE and Deutsche Börse had previously agreed to sell the French part of LSE’s clearing business, LCH, to satisfy competition concerns. Rival Euronext was the interested bidder. That may not go ahead.
LSE said that selling its stake in MTS would require approval from several European national regulators and hurt its wider Italian business, where MTS is classified as a “systemically important regulated business”. The LSE also owns Borsa Italiana, based in Milan.
In its statement, LSE said: “Taking all relevant factors into account, and acting in the best interests of shareholders, the LSE Board today concluded that it could not commit to the divestment of MTS.”
US exchanges, including Intercontinental Exchange, headquartered in Atlanta, may now start bidding for the LSE Group.
The 2 leading European exchanges had previously tried to merge in 2000 and 2005. In the current deal, Deutsche Börse, which operates Frankfurt Stock Exchange, will have a 54% stake in the enlarged business but the headquarters was forecast to stay in London. There were concerns post UK’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union that considerable volumes of clearing, especially securities denominated in euros, would move to Europe.
LSE and Deutsche Börse say the deal is still on, pending the European Commission verdict. Fees so far to City bankers, lawyers and public relations advisers have so far topped £300m, according to calculations on an announcement.
Deutsche Börse also operates the Luxembourg-based clearing house Clearstream and derivatives platform Eurex. It commented: “The parties will await the further assessment by the European commission and currently expect a decision by the European commission on the merger of Deutsche Börse and LSE by the end of March 2017.”

Paternoster Square with London Stock Exchange at right (credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight – Private Equity Africa 7th Annual Review and launch of report

Tonight is an excellent meeting: Private Equity Africa 7th Annual Review & Outlook Seminar at Thomson Reuters HQ in Canary Wharf, London. The meeting “Generating alpha in uncertainty” features top speakers identifying 2017 trends in Africa, including emerging credit funds, private equity deal pricing and activity.
Speakers include: Leon Saunders Calvert (Thomson Reuters), Gail Mwamba (Private Equity Africa), David Cowan (Citi), Nigel Wellings (Clifford Chance), Runa Alam (Development Partners International), Marlon Chigwende (Arkana Partners), David Damiba (Helios Investment Partners), Mark Jennings (Investec Asset Management), Suleiman Kiggundu (CDC) and Matteo Stefanel (Apis Partners).
There will also be the launch of the first Thomas Reuters Private Equity Africa 2016 Annual Review Report of Africa’s private equity industry including mergers & acquisitions, fund-raising and deals and a ranking of which houses are making the most deals in Africa.
I’m very honoured to be invited to host an evening of great insights and networking. For more information check the website.

Private equity – good for investing, slow for fund-raising

Source: EMPEA

Fund-raising for African private equity funds was slower in the first three quarters of 2016 compared to the previous year, but investing and deal-making activity was stronger. According to figures recently released by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), total fund raising by September 2016 was $1.1bn, only 31% of the capital raised in the same period in 2015.
Deal-making was also at $1.1bn according to the EMPEA figures, up 22% from the previous year when it was $0.9bn. However, analysis at Private Equity Africa suggests some $3bn in private equity deals went through in sub-Saharan Africa, using different metrics, suggesting a good year for deals.

Source EMPEA

Pension funds power Africa’s infrastructure

Here is my article on a critical area for Africa to develop, creating the right atmosphere for productive investments by Africa’s growing pension funds. It is published in African Banker magazine and you can access it on the africanbusinessmagazine.com website here:

The power of pension funds for African infrastructure
By Tom Minney
“Opening the elegant new six-lane toll bridge stretching cross Dar es Salaam’s Kigamboni Creek in April, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli called it “liberation” for citizens.
It represents a $135m investment by Tanzania’s National Social Security Fund, the state-run pension fund, and government. China Railway Construction Engineering Group built the 680-metre bridge with China Railway Major Bridge Group and say it is the longest cable-stayed bridge in East Africa.
It is also Tanzania’s first toll road – which residents say is worth paying for as it makes their lives easier. The development will lead to new residential housing and is hoped to boost tourism in the country.
The World Bank estimates Africa should spend $93bn – 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) – each year on infrastructure and the African Development Bank (AfDB) notes a $50bn financing gap to reach this. Local and international pension funds can help fill the gap.
The Bright Africa report by consultancy firm RisCura says that at the end of 2014 assets under management by pension funds across 16 major African markets amounted to $334bn. Some 90% of assets were concentrated in four countries: South Africa (with $258bn) Nigeria, Namibia and Botswana. Assets had grown more than 20% a year in East Africa and 25%–30% a year in Nigeria over the previous half decade.

Potential to drive growth
Pension funds mostly invest in local fixed-income bonds, with regulation a key driver of asset allocation. But as RisCura argues, pension funds are ideal to drive inclusive growth and social stability, including through investing in longer-term projects such as infrastructure: “Local institutional investors lend credibility and a measure of validation, and often serve as a catalyst for greater external interest. Local investors also allow global peers to leverage local knowledge and networks.
With longer investment horizons, pension funds can serve as anchor investors for infrastructure and social development projects,” says the report. South African pension funds lead the way, partly spurred by rules that allow them to invest 10% of assets through private equity.

Africa’s $111bn pension fund
The Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF) with R1.6 trillion ($111bn) assets under management in March 2015 reported it had committed R62bn towards “unlisted and developmental assets” in the previous 12 months, including Touwsriver and Bokpoort solar power projects in South Africa; MainOne data and broadband telecommunications in West Africa; pan-African power generation through Aldwych Power; N3TC which operates and maintains 420km of South Africa’s N3 highway; and two hospitals.
Other investments listed include $21.6m into private airport concession TAV Tunisia through the Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) managed by Harith General Partners. GEPF invested $2.6bn into the first PAIDF fund by March 2015 and pledged up to R4.2bn for the second by 2020. Five other pension funds also invested in the $630m PAIDF I fund, which will last 15 years and invested into more than 70 African projects. PAIDF 2 recently announced first close after raising $435m, again with pension funds as key investors.
South Africa’s Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) in 2014 invested $30m into infrastructure projects through private-equity house Abraaj, based in Dubai, as well as mobile-phone infrastructure through London’s Helios. EPPF chief executive Sbu Luthuli says “We have to diversify” and wants to put more than $100m into infrastructure projects – 1.2% of its total R120bn assets (as of June 2015). GEPF said that it had invested 1% of its assets into African equities outside South Africa at March 2015, compared to a target of 5% (R80bn).

New funds being created
Financial institutions and multilateral lenders are looking to speed up the process. For instance, the AfDB created the Africa50 fund with target capitalisation up to $10bn and says it has secured $500m. For the second round to $1bn it is targeting institutional investors, including African and global pension funds. Kenya’s government and parastatals such as Kengen are leading the way in selling local-currency bonds to finance infrastructure.
The network is growing. Harith works with Asset and Resource Management Company in Nigeria to invest in West African infrastructure and is setting up a $1bn COMESA Infrastructure Fund with PTA Bank for eastern and southern Africa.
In June Harith and its Aldwych arm announced links with Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to create a $3.3bn power portfolio, supplying 30m people across 10 countries. Andrew Alli, president and chief executive of AFC, says: “By working together we can deliver tangible benefit for Africans, switching their lights on and stimulating positive economic growth on the continent.”

Politics and mistrust
But it’s not always that straight-forward. In February, Nigeria’s minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, called on the country’s pension funds, which manage some N5.8 trillion ($18.4bn), to invest more in infrastructure and other development projects. However, later in the year, newspapers reported that no infrastructure projects had been put forward that met the legal requirements of the 2015 regulations on investment of pension fund assets, including a minimum value of N5bn for individual projects and award through competitive bidding to a concessionaire with a good track record.
The Nigerian Labour Congress expressed members’ fears: “The thought of using our pension fund for investment in public-sector infrastructure development is highly frightening given the well-known penchant for mismanagement inherent in public-sector institutions in Nigeria … It is therefore immoral and careless to subject such fund which is the life-blood of workers to the itchy fingers of politicians, no matter how well intentioned.”
Despite the worries, confidence in governance is growing and attention is switching to building the supply of projects. As RisCura’s report notes: “In many countries, assets are growing much faster than products are being brought to market, limiting investment opportunities.”

Projects and stages
Projects typically go through several stages, starting with feasibility studies to create a “bankable” project; then building or developing the project; and finally operating it once it is established, for instance collecting the tolls on a highway and fixing holes. The last stage is usually the least risky and most suited for pension-fund investors.
The Africa50 fund follows other initiatives in funding early-stage projects in order to boost the supply and mobilise more financing for later stages. Kigamboni bridge took more than two decades. Africa’s fast-growing pension funds need a faster pipeline of investible and well-run projects.

Kigamboni Bridge, Dar es Salaam. Photo Daniel Hayduk, from Nairobi Wire

Conference: Pensions and Alternative Investments Africa 15-16 March

How fast-growing pensions can transform African economies

Africa’s pension and institutional savings industry is crossing the threshold into a major growth path. Channelled appropriately, they can transform Africa’s business and investment landscape and boost economies and savings.

Institutional savings – pension, insurance and other funds – are emerging as transformative forces for Africa’s economies. Industry leaders and others will discuss it at AME Trade’s Pension Funds & Alternative Investment Africa Conference (PIAFRICA), to be held in Mauritius from 15– 16 March.

The theme is “How can we leverage pension and investment funds for the development of Africa?” Pensions in 10 African countries were tallied at $379 billion in assets under management (including $322bn in South Africa). It is forecast that pension funds in the six largest sub-Saharan African markets will grow to $622bn in assets by 2020 and to $7.3 trillion by 2050.

The aim of the PIAFRICA conference is to debate whether the environment is being created for these funds to go into productive investments that will ensure their members get good returns and that contribute effectively to Africa’s growth. PIAFRICA will bring together the leaders of pension funds and institutional investors, policymakers, regulators, capital-markets, private equity and other stakeholders and is endorsed by the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA)

Discussions will focus on maximizing Africa’s pension fund and institutional investor opportunity, and will revolve around the following topics:
• Key trends, challenges and opportunities for Africa pension funds, Insurance, mutual and social security funds
• Africa’s growing funds and their potential to develop capital markets
• How to achieve long-term benefits through investing in infrastructure and other alternative assets, including real estate
• Private equity as an investment avenue for pensions
• For and against more latitude to invest across African borders?
• Best practices for sustainable growth and trust in funds
• Capacity building and support tools
• Technology, fund administration and member services
• Country profiles: African pension funds

Top speakers confirmed to date include:

  • Doug Lacey, Partner, Leapfrog Investments
  • Eric Fajemisin, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers
  • Mr PK Kuriachen, Chief Executive, Financial Services Commission
  • Ernest Thompson, Director General, Social Security & National Insurance Trust
  • Krishen Sukdev, CEO, Government Pensions Administration Agency
  • Richard Arlove, CEO, Abax Services

For more visit http://ametrade.org/piafrica/. For media accreditation and interviews contact Barbora Kuckova, Marketing Manager, AME Trade Ltd, Tel: +44 207 700 4949 Email: barbora@ametrade.org

Uganda Capital Markets Authority joins IOSCO MMoU Appendix A

Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Uganda has taken a big step forward for international links, after changes to Ugandan law. CMA been admitted by global securities standards setter International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) as a signatory to Appendix A of the IOSCO Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU).

The MMoU provides an international benchmark for cross-border cooperation and offers securities regulators tools for combating cross-border fraud and misconduct. Uganda’s regulator will have increased access to knowledge and research through the IOSCO network.

The admission follows the recent amendment of Uganda’s CMA Act. The capital market regulator becomes the 112th member to append its signature to the memorandum, which was instituted in 2002.

Keith Kalyegira, the CEO of CMA, said in a press release: “This is a big step for CMA and Uganda in general and I must thank all the stakeholders that have been very instrumental in enabling us to reach this milestone including the CMA Board; our parent ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Parliament of Uganda; and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs which has tirelessly worked with us to enhance our regulatory framework so that it can fit international standards.

“Our desire going forward is to transform Uganda’s capital market into one of the most efficient, and trusted centres for attracting capital and providing capital in Africa, and this could not easily be achieved without enhancing our regulatory framework to fully suit international standards by ensuring we comply with Appendix A requirements”.

CMA Uganda became a member of the IOSCO Appendix B in 2007 and has since been compliant with most of the international best practices in regulation. However, its participation, engagement and contribution to international dialogues was limited.

The IOSCO MMoU supports mutual cooperation, assistance and consultation among members to ensure compliance with, and enforcement of securities laws and regulations. It is a response to more international activity in securities and derivatives markets.

The formal signing ceremony will be held at the 42nd IOSCO annual conference due in Jamaica in May 2017. CMA first applied to IOSCO to become a signatory to the IOSCO MMoU in September 2007, and was assigned to Appendix B. The capital market regulator proactively started steps over several years towards legislative change to bring Uganda’s legislation into compliance with the MMoU. The reapplication was submitted to the IOSCO General Secretariat in July 2016.

East Africa regulator links

CMA is also a member of the East African Securities Regulatory Authorities (EASRA), which is instrumental in the development of the capital markets industry in East Africa. This includes some joint oversight activities, particularly for financial firms operating in more than one of the East African Community EAC countries. CMA Uganda also does joint inspections with its Kenyan counterpart.

Uganda’s growing capital market

CMA recently concluded its 5-year strategy, and expects to launch a 10-year capital markets development master plan by the end of March. This will map a growth plan for Uganda’s capital market which already includes 2 Ugandan securities exchanges. It will lay a strategy for increasing access to patient capital to finance the growth of commerce and industry in Uganda.

In Uganda, CMA cooperates with other government agencies in the financial sector including Bank of Uganda, the Insurance Regulatory Authority, the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. The Uganda Registration Services Bureau acts as the Registrar of Companies and implements the Companies Act, 2012 (Companies Act).

It also works with law-enforcement agencies such as the Office of the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Uganda Police. CMA, Bank of Uganda and the Uganda Insurance Commission (now the Insurance Regulatory Authority) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation and exchange information in the securities, banking and insurance sectors.

Trading of listed securities is conducted through the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), established in 1998. There are 16 listed companies on the USE, of which 7 are from privatization of government parastatals. Trading of government bonds on the USE was introduced in 2004.

In July 2015, an automated trading system was introduced on the USE. The clearing and settlement period is 3 days (T+3). A computerized Securities Central Depository System (SCD) was put in place in 2010 following the enactment of the Securities Central Depositories Act (SCD Act) in 2009. The SCD has enabled the USE to automate the clearing and settlement process.

On 4 March 2014, CMA’s Board of Directors considered and approved the application of ALT Xchange East Africa Limited to operate as a stock exchange in Uganda in accordance with the CMA Act.

Kampala view (credit www.enjoyuganda.info)

Computers quieter,faster than open outcry

Another floor of shouting traders has just closed in New York, after CME Group (named after Chicago Mercantile Exchange) closed its open outcry trading pits. The trading floor still continues in pits on various commodities in the Chicago building that houses the Chicago Board of Trade, in an approach that dates back to when the building opened in 1930, writes The Economist magazine this week.
The Chicago exchange only has 9 pits, down from 32 in 2007, and closed one trading floor in 2015 that used to be very crowded and busy. Like the rest of the hyperactive world securities and commodities markets that used to heave with life, emotion, despair, greed, fear, ambition, deception and many other human conditions, gradually the computers have taken over.
The magazine writes: “In the end it was not scandal or terrorism that undermined open outcry; it was efficiency. Computers turned out to be quicker, cheaper and more precise than humans”.
It notes that CME Group was quick to understand that most business was in interest rates, stockmarket indices and currencies, not in traditional commodities. It picked up good volumes and made economies of scale in trading and clearing and then bought up other exchanges that ran into problems. Volumes continue to climb and a tumultuous year of surprising votes in UK and US have seen a big spike in activity and volatility. It provided US and UK traders with a record December and record-breaking volumes on exchanges such as the CME.
The Chicago Board of Trade was formed in 1848 and moved in 1856 to make space for 122 new members.

Chicago Board of Trade building, the figure on top is the goddess Ceres (photo Wikipedia)