Zimbabwe stock exchange moving to electronic trading and CSD

Electronic trading is coming to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in terms of a contract signed recently with InfoTech Group of Pakistan. Meanwhile the central depository Chengetedzai Depository Company Ltd said that 3 listed companies – CBZ Holdings, Cottco Holdings and FBC Holdings – would be moved onto electronic registers from 8 September, according to local media reports.

The InfoTech Capizar software is also installed at Ghana Stock Exchange since 2008.

According to reports in the Pakistan Observer and The Nation in June, the contract with ZSE is a turnkey deployment of the automated trading system (ATS). According to a press statement by the ZSE in March, the contract was signed on 19 Mar for for the supply and installation of the Capizar ATS product by Infotech Middle East FZ LLC.

Trading floor at the Zimbabwe SE (photo from www.4vf.net)

Trading floor at the Zimbabwe SE (photo from www.4vf.net)

The agreement was signed between Alban Chirume, CEO of the ZSE, and Naseer A Akhtar, CEO & Chairman of InfoTech Group, assisted by Murad Baig, VP Business Development at IFTL-London. According to the reports, the project was expected to start soon and to be finished within 6 months (by December). The ATS replaces the current manual trading system, which uses MS Excel and other packages to create and publish data, which the new system also does.

The ZSE statement in March adds: “On 31 Jul 2013 we announced the appointment of Central Depository Settlement Company of Mauritius (CDSM Ltd) as our consultant to the automation project. The consultants have since successfully guided us through the tender and vendor selection processes.

“The immediate next steps are the study of the local environment, and the gap analysis to be carried out by the Vendor in order for us to finalise the project plans. These limited activities will be followed by the procurement of computer hardware and construction of the data centre itself. We are expecting that in 3 to 4 months’ time, the project will be in the training and acceptance testing stages with the final live date being our target within a period of 6 months from now.”

CSD going live

Chengetedzai was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe to run a CSD, after winning a competitive tender on 27 Dec 2010. According to a recent news report in The Herald and the Chronicle newspapers, its market update statement said: “Chengetedzai Depository Company Limited would like to advise all capital markets players, issuers of securities and the investing public that the necessary regulatory approvals to commence the Central Securities Depository (CSD) operations has been granted.

“In this regard, CDCL is ready to commence the opening of investor accounts and dematerialisation (migration from paper based title to electronic securities) of approved securities, in preparation for the trading of electronic based securities.” The company urged the investing public to open securities accounts through registered custodians, who include banks, from 25 August and deposit their securities in the accounts.

According to its website, Chengetedzai won the tender in which two bidders were invited to submit proposals after an initial expression of interest round in Apr 2010. This is in terms of the Securities Act 17/2004, which established the legal basis for the Securities Commission, its mandate and the establishment of a central securities depository (CSD) to maintain securities deposits in electronic form. The SECZ was only established in 2008 and the commissioners immediately embarked on setting up a CSD.

The Ministry of Finance put a hold on the project in Feb 2011 and announced in Aug: “The CSD project was deemed by Government to be of national interest and thus Government would take 51% shareholding in Chengetedzai and that only one CSD to be set up in the country. The ZSE would also be included as a shareholder in Chengetedzai. Then followed protracted negotiations between Chengetedzai to value the “sweat equity” and this was settled on 13 June 2012 by Government and SECZ, and the Shareholders’ Agreement was signed on 26 Jun 2012, after which a new board of directors began.

According to the CDCL report: “The first task was to confirm the software to support the CSD operations and a system selection process was kicked off immediately. After visits to South Africa, India and Moscow, the decision was made to select the Depo/X system supplied by CMA Small Systems from Sweden. The purchase and implementation contracts were signed in March 2013 and in April 2013 the implementation of the project started, exactly fourteen months after the tender was awarded.”

Check this amazing profile in Daily News of 23-year-old Samuelle Dimairho who has been dreaming of transforming the ZSE (and trading on it) since he was 15 and is the driving force behind Chengetedzai.

Background on the ATS

The Africa Report magazine wrote in Jan that the contract is expected to cost $2 million and says daily turnover on the exchange was currently $1.5m on average and there were 68 listed companies, down from a peak of 83. According to the report: “Apart from enabling longer trading hours, the ATS would reduce the fraudulent sale of non-existent stocks. The automation of the bourse has been on the agenda since 2000 although plans have stalled due to liquidity constraints. However, as the new system comes on board, more companies are set to delist this year due to the harsh economic environment obtaining in the country.” It cites Chirume saying: “Tentatively, there are companies which have already shown that they might merge and there is a possibility of some de-listings.” He believed that the de-listings would not have any implications on the bourse as some of the affected counters were not trading.

According to the ZSE press release in Jan, 11 vendors expressed interest, and 4 submitted full responses. They were:
1. A consortium of local vendors led by Chartered Systems Integration in partnership with CMA Small Systems of Sweden.
2. A consortium of Infotech Middle East FZ-LLC and local suppliers.
1. National Stock Exchange of India in partnership with Valentine software of Zimbabwe.
2. New York Stock Exchange Euronext Technologies.

“The initial valuation of all bids submitted narrowed down the competing vendors to a short list of 2 – CIS/ CMA Small systems and Infotech Middle East. During the last week of November the shortlisted 2 vendors were given the opportunity to give oral presentations and demos to support their bids. The CSI /CMA Small Systems consortium was however unable to participate in the demo exercises due to other circumstances beyond their control. Additional due diligence measures were taken during the month of December and as a result of the report outcome of these efforts the Board of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has approved the engagement of Infotech Middle East FZ-LLC subject to a successful contract negotiations.”

4 Responses to “Zimbabwe stock exchange moving to electronic trading and CSD”


  1. Muzungu on Africa

    Tom! This is such excellent reporting. We met at ASEA in Cairo. You really need to get on Twitter, are you? For the US and other places, twitter is where they are checking on cool, current developments!!
    Best!
    June

  2. Tom Minney

    Thanks for the compliment and feedback June, all feedback is so much appreciated! I am @AfricanCapital on Twitter and run the group African Securities Exchanges on LinkedIn, but I am sure there are ways to develop the discussion and community much more. Do you also publish a blog? Are you following developments on the regulatory harmonization in Africa?

  3. Fanon Mwenda

    I need to talk to you about writing for the ASEA Newsletter. Please email me. Thank you.

    Regards,

    Fanon Mwenda

  4. Tom Minney

    email sent, I hope you receive it.