Namibian SX and Bank of Namibia poised to launch paperless

The Namibian Stock Exchange and the central Bank of Namibia are working together to create a central securities depository (CSD) for equities, bonds and bills traded. They are waiting for laws and regulations to be passed to get the new system operational.

According to Kazembire Zemburuka, Deputy Director: Corporate Communications at the Bank of Namibia, quoted in a Southern Times newspaper article: “In an effort to develop the domestic capital market, the Bank of Namibia and the Namibian Stock Exchange have collaborated to jointly create a Central Security Depository company that will be licensed by NAMFISA (regulator) to hold and safeguard financial instruments in electronic format.”.

He said the Central Security Depository (CSD) Company is already in existence and has a Board of Directors comprising representatives from the two institutions. Following industry-wide consultations, systems requirements for the Namibian CSD were developed and a vendor has been appointed to provide a system. It will cater for both equities and bonds.

“Full implementation of the system awaits the finalisation of the necessary legislation and regulations. This process is already at an advanced stage,” explained Zemburuka. The company will provide electronic settlement of equities and bonds transactions concluded on the NSX and settle transactions in money market securities. It will be regulated by the Namibian Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA).

Earlier, Tiaan Bazuin the NSX CEO told Namibian Economist newspaper why the 2 institutions are working together: “It is not a requirement to work jointly, it is preferred as it is a national project, in fact we have a market steering committee with all the market participants involved, including the banks, asset managers [amongst others].”

Interested stakeholders would be able to join as shareholders in future. “We have already indicated once it is up and running, others will also be able to join as shareholders if they want to. Typically some market participants wish to have a strategic stake in financial market infrastructure.”

In many African countries there are often two CSDs, with the central bank and the exchange each running their own systems, but it is much more efficient and reduces risk if both are integrated and built to work seamlessly with the capital markets trading such as the securities exchanges. Bank of Namibia and the local banks have worked together over decades and built advanced payment systems between the banks. Similar systems extending across most other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and it is hoped eventually that crossborder securities trading will also become more widespread.

Since the NSX was founded, it has operated using physical or paper certificates representing ownership of equities and bonds. It set up a very streamlined system for this, settling domestic equities on T+5 and South African stocks on T+3, and working closely with the banks involved in including global custodians.

Only treasury bills are paperless. Dual-listed South African and other shares are settled on the home country central securities depository, for example Strate in South Africa.

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