Archive for the 'Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)' Category

JSE listed ETF offers 15 African exchanges ex-South Africa

A new exchange-traded fund (ETF) offers investors access to an index covering 50 companies across Africa outside South Africa. The AMI Big50 Ex-SA ETF tracks a new index designed by Cloud Atlas Investing, a Johannesburg-based collective investment scheme. It covers shares in 15 African exchanges including Egypt, Mauritius, Kenya, Morocco, Tanzania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Ghana and Zimbabwe, as well as the BRVM Exchange in West Africa.

The ETF was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on 20 April. Donna Nemer, Director of Capital Markets at the JS, said in a press release: “The JSE is committed to playing a role in the expansion and deepening of Africa’s investment opportunities. This new ETF offers an easy, safe way to invest in African markets and supports the continent’s growth journey.”

ETFs are investments that track the performance of a group or “basket” of shares, bonds or commodities. They can offer tax and cost benefits to some investments, and are good for investors who do not want to pick and choose individual shares, but they are also used by institutional investors. They are regulated by the JSE and the Financial Services Board (FSB) and can be acquired, like any other listed share, through a stockbroker or online trading account, or via an investment platform that offers a monthly debit-order facility.

Maurice Madiba, CEO and Founding Director of Cloud Atlas Investing, said: “We want to improve liquidity and help to develop African markets for investors to feel the full robustness of these markets, and as such, have chosen to invest in stocks that are listed on African exchanges. These could include stocks in multinationals that are listed on African exchanges, as well as local African companies.”

The fund is available for individual and institutional investors. Regulation 28 of the South African Pension Funds Act allows pension funds to invest up to 5% per cent of a fund’s capital in African investments outside South Africa. Madiba explained: “We have received a dispensation from the South African Reserve Bank to offer this ETF to institutional investors according to Regulation 28. We have already opened up the ETF to the retail market, and certainly have plans to bring the institutional investor on board. We believe this ETF is a good product to have for the long-term investor because of its growth prospects, and as such will be of interest to both the individual and the institutional investor. It is important to us that we try to facilitate ways in which Africans can participate in Africa’s growth.”

Nemer adds it offers South African investors a wider opportunity to share in Africa’s growth and “Rand-hedging opportunities.”

According to this report on website ETF Strategy, the fund has certain concentrated exposures including significant country exposure to Morocco (28.4%) and Egypt (19.3%), as well as highly concentrated single holdings in Moroccan telecoms firm Itissalat Al Maghrib (20.6%) and Egyptian bank CIB (11.0%). Other top exposures include Nigeria (13.7%), Kenya (11.0%) and stocks listed on the BRVM Exchange in West Africa (6.3%). The top sector exposures are to banks (29.3%), telecoms (27.9%), food & beverage (17.7%) and industrials (14.6%). (Data as of March 2017). The fund has total fees of 1.17%.

The ETF market has seen steady growth globally as well as in South Africa. There are 53 ETFs listed on the JSE, with a total ETF market capitalization of almost R73 billion ($5.4bn). Several providers offer various indexes on African markets including regional indexes.

Prejelin Naggan, Head of Primary Markets, Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Maurice Madiba, CEO and Founding Director of Cloud Atlas Investing. Photo: JSE

Namibia’s stockbrokers switch to IRESS to access NSX

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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

Nairobi Securities Exchange plans to offer 38% of shares in June IPO

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The Nairobi Securities Exchange (www.nse.co.ke) is pushing ahead fast with its demutualization plans and will sell up to a 38% stake in an initial public offering (IPO) in June. According to a report on Reuters, NSE chief executive Peter Mwangi said the NSE will offer up to 81 million shares, subject to regulatory approval.
The offer price will be set by the IPO advisors closer to the offer date. The bourse will use the funds for new products and enhance transparency.
Reuters quoted Mwangi saying: “We want to list through an IPO on the main market. We need to open this listing before 30 June. That conversion from a private to a public company will position us to be a very effective player.”
“We are playing in a sweet spot where the frontier funds think Africa is rising. East Africa is a hot spot on the African map and we are the gateway into that east African region.”

Soaring profits, new products
The NSE’s pretax profit more than doubled to KES 379m shillings last year from 2012. It has been lifted by a surge in trading turnover after the 4 Mar 2013 presidential election went peacefully. The dynamic Nairobi exchange is a mutual company owned by its stockbrokers, and demutualization is the process converting into a private for-profit company, as reported on this blog. The ordinary shares have a nominal (par) value of KES 4 shillings ($0.05) each.
Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority is reviewing the exchange’s advanced plans to offer currency and interest-rates futures and options. The NSE futures market will offer standardized contracts for currency futures that will be traded. Mwangi said: “We are seeing more and more international investors who might want to invest in Kenya and they might want to hedge the currency risk.” Local banks offer foreign-exchange forward contracts, which are negotiated directly with buyers, but they cannot be traded.
Mwangi added that part of the funds raised in the IPO will be used to bankroll new products such as derivatives, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Sharia-compliant indexes. The NSE has already led the way with a number of FTSE-branded index products and is working with the CMA and CDSC to introduce a real estate investment trust (REIT) market in Kenya and trading platform and a futures and commodities exchange.

Diversifying income
The 60-year-old Nairobi stock exchange has been diversifying through new sources of revenue including sales of publications, provision of services through the Broker Back Office (BBO) and data-vending. It bought a prime commercial property in Nairobi’s Westlands area to tap into rental income, according to a report in Standard Digital.
The region is enjoying many benefits from increasing regional integration under the East African Community (EAC). The Nairobi bourse is a key player in the East African Securities Exchange Association (EASEA), which aims to standardize regulations and operations within the region to make cross-border investing easier. Members are the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), and the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC). It also has a memorandum of understanding with the Somalia Stock Exchange Investment Corporation (SSE) under which it will have primary responsibility for the technical development of the Somalia Stock Exchange including identifying the most suitable partners and expertise.
Regional integration has also boosted expansion among listed firms and investor confidence after the discovery large quantities of gas and oil across several east African countries. There are many cross listing between the exchanges.
Mwangi said they wanted to attract more listings on the NSE’s Growth Enterprise Market (GEMS) which is aimed at small firms wishing to list their shares. There is only one listing, property developer Home Afrika so far. The NSE hopes to attract more listings through easier listing terms such as allowing business owners to offer a minimum of 15% if the shares in the market. Mwangi told family business owners who may be reluctant to lose control: “With 85% you have effective control of your company but you enjoy all the advantages of being listed. We are in a sense offering the best of both worlds.”
The NSE is a key member of the African Securities Exchanges Association and an affiliate member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and intends to become a full member.

Bond trading coming to Egyptian Exchange, listing regulations eased

A bond-trading platform could be launched in Egypt in Q2 of 2014, after 10 years of planning, according to a story on Reuters, quoting Mohamed Omran, chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX): “We hope to activate the bonds market in the second quarter of this year. The file is now with the central bank to come to an agreement with banks on how to issue certain percentages of the bonds for trading,” Omran told Reuters.

The regulator (Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority EFSA) is to relax regulations from 1 Feb so that a listed company will no longer need EFSA permission to split shares or need to call a general meeting before a capital increase, provided it complies with pre-set rules. Reuters cited a telephone interview with EFSA head Sherif Samy. He said the new regulations would also make it easier for companies who wish to list. The draft that amends listing and delisting regulations has been shared with capital markets institutions in Egypt last week and can be obtained (in Arabic) via this link.

Omran told the agency the new regulations would help boost trading on the African securities exchange and attract more investment. According to an earlier Reuters story, the new regulations will also include developing mechanisms for exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The aim is to attract new companies and boost turnover. Samy had told Reuters in October that listing regulations were in “dire need” of change.

A few treasury (government) and corporate bonds are listed for trading on the EGX but so far investors tend to hold until maturity and bond trading is slow.

The EGX also announced recently new monthly reports on important data and financial indicators of listed companies including PE ratio, turnover ratio, percentage of change in the stock price, market capitalization, average daily value of shares traded and volume (number of shares traded). According to a news release, Omran said the data and indicators would boost the quality of information, raise capacity of small dealers in making comparisons, and help investors make decisions.

Africa’s securities exchanges and their part in Africa’s future

“How can African exchanges become an integral part of the continent’s economic transformation?” This is the challenge from Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA www.african-exchanges.org), at the flagship conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, earlier this month. It is a good agenda for action by Africa’s securities exchanges in 2014.
Benimadhu asks how the stock exchanges can “become powerful enablers and powerful drivers of change”; how they can “empower the middle-class, democratize the economy and help overcome poverty”; and how capital markets can “effectively provide the much-needed capital for corporate funding, but also the funding of governments’ social programmes in Africa?”
He identified 4 “S”s for securities exchanges:

S is for synergy
“There is a fundamental need for African stock exchanges to establish strong synergies with the other clusters within the financial services sector, like the banking sector, the insurance sector, the asset-management industry, the pension-fund industry, and work towards the emergence of an integrated approach to the development of the financial services sector in Africa. African exchanges have, for too long, been considered as mere appendages to the mainstream financial services clusters, when in effect they should have occupied a central position within the financial services spectrum, as clearly evidenced by successful financial centres in the world.”

S is support
Governments and policy-makers in Africa need “to understand the fundamental transformational role of capital markets to the socioeconomic fabric of African economies. Governments need to be fully supportive of the development of vibrant capital markets and they need to adopt policies that are conducive to the development of efficient and competitive markets.” Benimadhu cites Singapore, whose success began with a “direct interventionist approach of the Singaporean Government which made a clear statement about its vision to transform Singapore into an international financial centre and adopted policies that were fully supportive of the stated vision.” He points out how Singapore’s capital markets have contributed immensely to the transformation of the country’s economy into a world star. He added that Africa’s most successful companies should support the African stock exchanges by listing and contributing to market growth.

S is scope
African securities exchanges should “move up the value-chain and extend the scope of products and services they offer”. He acknowledges the short-term challenge is still the flotation and listing of new, valuable and liquid companies, but adds: “the short-to-medium term target implies a fundamental review of the exchange business model and the diversification of revenue streams via a strategic shift from the current equity-centric focus. New products including bonds, exchange-traded funds, structured products and eventually derivatives need to be introduced.”

S – substance
“Substance is about the ability of African Stock Exchanges to demonstrate that they have created value for the different stakeholders they service, namely issuers, investors and society as a whole.” Benimadhu says exchanges need to show how they have enabled existing issuers to raise capital to fund their growth and to create value for their shareholders and this will help bring new issuers to the market. “The substantive contributions of African Exchanges on both these counts are quite compelling and I think that these strengths need to be aggressively marketed by African exchanges to attract new issuers and broaden our product offerings.”
It is also important for African stock exchanges to improve their image and marketing to investors: “African exchanges need to demonstrate that they operate in a cost-effective and transparent manner, that information on listed scrips are readily and timeously available and that exchanges offer products that can potentially generate attractive returns to investors.
“With regards to society, exchanges should demonstrate that they can contribute to the democratization of the economy, create wealth for the citizens of a nation, contribute to the job-creation process, improve corporate governance and finally contribute to the overall well-being of a society from both a quantitative as well as a qualitative perspective.”

Panels at the conference included government support to the development of vibrant capital markets in Africa; how exchanges can generate substance and value for issuers, helping issuers tell their story right and endorsing effective communication strategies; and listening to issuers and investors on how African exchanges have added value to each.

Botswana Stock Exchange launches automated trading

Months of hard work came to a climax when the Botswana Stock Exchange successfully launched its automated trading system (ATS) and now has live trading. This replaces the open outcry trading system and the aim is to make the BSE more visible and trading more efficient. The exchange has been using a central securities depository (CSD) since 2008 and this was upgraded alongside the implementation of the ATS.
The ATS was installed by MillenniumIT, part of the London Stock Exchange Group, after a BWP8.8 million ($1.1m) contract. MillenniumIT also installed the CSD.
The new system was implemented on Friday 24 August. The day before, Thursday 23 August, was a trading holiday, while Friday was a settlement holiday with trades settling instead on 27 August. These holidays were meant to enable the BSE to transition from the old CSD system to the upgraded version.
There is still a key target to encourage more shareholders to dematerialize their paper certificates and register them in the CSD for ease of trading. According to the BSE Annual Report, 46% of all domestic company shares and 91% of foreign company shares were dematerialized by December 2011, and so was the first corporate bond. In the annual report Chairman Patrick O’Flaherty notes “Along with the implementation of the ATS, our CSD (Central Securities Depositories) system is also being upgraded. This will ensure that the trading, clearing and settlement infrastructure of the BSE remains state of the art”.
In 2011 the BSE recorded average daily turnover of BWP4.1m. The volume of shares traded in 2011 was 458.7m, up from 308.7m in 2010. Letshego Holdings did a ten-for-one share split in 2010 and Furnmart and G4s followed suit in 2011.

INTERVIEW WITH HIRAN MENDIS, CEO OF BOTSWANA STOCK EXCHANGE
ACMN: What has the market participants’ reactions to the ATS?
HM: The response has been very positive. Automated trading is a completely new development in our market, but all market participants, particularly the brokers, have embraced the development and have basically hit the ground running. The amount of enthusiasm in the market is very humbling for the BSE.

ACMN: Were there any problems in the implementation?
HM: Apart from the normal day-to-day challenges that form part of any project, there were no major challenges. As the BSE, we had to work extra hard throughout the lifetime of the project to bring all stakeholders together and make sure that everyone is on the same page; that everyone understands and embraces the primary objective of bringing our market to par with other regional and international giants. Overall, it has been an extremely demanding but very rewarding experience for all stakeholders.

ACMN: Have you seen an increase in trading volumes?
HM: It’s still too early to say. In the first 2 days, it was quiet; probably because the traders were being cautious with the new trading platform. But turnover has since jumped back to previous levels.

ACMN: Are brokers now connecting from their offices (wide area network)?
HM: The brokers have been connecting from their offices since 2008 and this setup is still being used, even with the ATS. The networks have so far been very cooperative as we have not had any outages. The links that we have been using for WAN connectivity since 2008 have been very stable. On average, we have experienced less than 10 hours of downtime per year since 2008. About half of this downtime happened outside of trading hours.

ACMN: Can you give some technical details about the ATS and the CSD and their integration?
HM: The ATS is a trading platform, primarily responsible for accepting client orders, as input by brokers, and matching those orders on set criteria to produce trades. CSD system acts as a back-end for the ATS, handling the registry function for the ATS, together with clearing and settlement of all trades that happen at the ATS. For a client to be able to trade through the ATS, then they need to open a CSD account first. Communication between the systems is on a real-time basis and as clients buy/sell shares, their CSD account balances are updated in real time. The ATS is able to trade equity, debt, ETFs (exchange-traded funds), and GDRs (global depository receipts). Instruments that are currently actively trading through the ATS/CSD are equities and ETFs. Plans to include bonds are underway and CFDs will follow in due course. Trading currently happens from 10:30 to 13:30. The first trading session is an opening auction, followed by regular trading, then an interim auction session, then another regular trading session, which is followed by a closing auction session, and finally a closing price cross session.

ACMN: What future steps are planned – such as increased data flows, remote membership of BSE and direct market access?
HM: At this point we are more concerned with ensuring that that system continues to function according to expectations. Once the dust has settled and all stakeholders are comfortable with the system then the BSE will begin exploring availing market data in real-time to data vendors etc. After that, as a second phase of the automation drive, we will explore the possibility of Internet trading. As the BSE, we understand and appreciate that a wide spectrum of developments are now possible with an automated market. Funds and time permitting, we will build services around the CSD/ATS systems in order to turn our market into a true global player.

Are capital markets taking a wrong turn? Soul-searching on short-termism after UK’s Kay Review

Lots of useful commentary is published this week about what’s going wrong with the world’s leading capital markets and finance. This new bout of soul-searching follows the publication of Prof John Kay’s “The Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making” on 23 July and available here (and the Interim Report, published in February, with much of the evidence is available here.
The Prof says that equity markets are not working as effectively as they could. “We conclude that short-termism is a problem in UK equity markets, and that the principal causes are the decline of trust and the misalignment of incentives throughout the equity investment chain”. He says that successful financial intermediation depends on: “Trust and confidence are the product of long-term commercial and personal relationships: trust and confidence are not generally created by trading between anonymous agents attempting to make short term gains at each other’s expense.”
He blames the prevailing culture and says that people don’t only work for financial incentives, as widely promoted in current City culture – “Most people have more complex goals, but they generally behave in line with the values and aspirations of the environment in which they find themselves.” Prof Kay puts forward a series of 17 recommendations on how to make things better and this could be useful reading for anyone involved in developing capital markets with an aiming to help grow savings and create better performing businesses. This includes fiduciary standards of care if you manage other peoples’ money, diminishing the current role of trading and transactional cultures, high-level statements of good practice, improving the interactions of asset managers and other investors with investee companies, and tackling misaligned incentives in remuneration, and reducing pressures for short-term decision making. The Guardian newspaper’s Nils Pratley has a useful summary of some of the best recommendations here, ironically coupled with a beautiful rosy photograph of the City!
One background comment is by Evening Standard columnist Anthony Hilton here. He says “The behaviours that led Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Paul Tucker to use the word “cesspool” when giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on Libor come in a straight line from the reforms imposed on the Stock Exchange by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986 when she forced it to open up membership to all comers, and in particular to abolish single capacity — the arrangement under which firms had to confine themselves to a single activity in which they acted for themselves or for the client, but not both… From being a servant of the real economy, finance began its journey towards becoming an end in itself, with deals done not because they had economic rationale but because they made money for bankers and costs, both direct and indirect, that impose a colossal and unnecessary burden on that real economy.” He adds that this kept the system honest “or rather it was dishonest in a less poisonous way. Until Big Bang, the problems came from dishonest people working in honest firms; today the problems are caused by honest people working in dishonest firms. The culture is rotten.” This brought world-beating businesses low “by policies designed to pander to the stock market rather than secure the businesses’ long-term future for its customers, employees and indeed the country.” He says the rewards of finance should belong to customers, not their advisers.
Kay also notes that index investing, as growing popular in some African markets with the rise of ETF (exchange-traded funds) and other derivatives, may not represent a strategy for representative returns, see this Financial Times summary. He also urges less securities lending.
Most of the leading commentators though conclude that the view is rather rose-tinted, and not in touch with the real world. The Financial Times Lex Column says (unfortunately this link may be subscribers only, but you did not miss much if you don’t find a way around): “Dig a little deeper though and this vision – which includes an attack on the efficient markets hypothesis – is flawed”. It says although investors should engage more with companies a falling share price is better incentive for a manager to perform well than a phonecall and that quarterly reporting helps people see what’s going on and reduces insider trading. It points to the UK’s “shareholder spring” in which investors forced change at companies such as Aviva and AstraZeneca. Another Financial Times summary of reaction is that Kay is “no silver bullet” and while people may agree with his views “some.. may prove challenging to implement in practice”. Some recommendations can be implemented by the industry, including investors’ forums for collective long-term engagement and good stewardship, others such as calls for asset managers to disclose all costs, including transaction costs and performance fees charged to funds, may be carried out voluntarily. Only a few may be carried out through legislation, and many others (apart from Lex) support removal of obligations for quarterly reporting and argue that managers’ time could be better spent elsewhere.
It’s a week of interesting reading for people, including many in Africa, building capital markets that are meant to serve economies, the creation of business growth and jobs, and also to encourage more long-term savings.
Discussion is very welcome!

Nigerian Stock Exchange to roll out top-speed NASDAQ OMX trading platform

The Nigerian Stock Exchange says it will have the fastest trading system in Africa when it upgrades its trading to NASDAQ OMX Group’s X-Stream platform, with a target date of second quarter of 2013. The new system will handle a wide range of instruments, accounts will be accessible from smart-phones and it will enable the NSE to host other exchanges’ trading platforms.

Previously the NSE was automated with NASDAQ’s Horizon system. The new platform is part of the wider reforms being carried through by CEO Oscar Onyema, some of which were initiated by the previous interim administrator Emmanuel Ikazoboh. Reuters reports that reforms to the market include allowing covered short-selling and extending trading hours. The news agency reports that exchange officials said that the new trading system will build confidence in the market’s transparency and adds that analysts expect the market to end 2012 with gains.

The signing ceremony was held on 24 April, chaired by CEO Onyema and Adeolu Bajomo, (Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology) from the NSE, and for NASDAQ Sandy Frucher, Vice Chairman of The NASDAQ OMX Group and Lars Ottersgard, NASDAQ senior vice president and head of technology. The NSE and NASDAQ OMX have been working on designs since September 2010. Frucher said that the surveillance system has been integrated into the trading system while Ottersgard was reported as saying the latest edition of the X-stream technology matches orders in under 100 millionths of a second.

According to a report in This Day newspaper, Onyema described the new platform as high-performance, robust and scalable, multi-asset, multi-market matching trading engine: “The new trading platform will enable the NSE to have the fastest trading engine in Africa and investors, through their stockbrokers, will have real-time access to market prices, their portfolios and be enabled to execute market orders in near real-time from anywhere and on a wide range of devices including smart phones.”

Onyema noted that the new system would improve transparency and provide efficient price discovery in the market, among other benefits, stressing that investors in the market would benefit significantly from the system upgrade as it would afford them the opportunity to diversify their investment portfolio: “With this new system, equities, a fully functional bond market and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will be accommodated in phase one of the project, while derivatives will be introduced in the second phase. The system will also enable the NSE to host other exchanges.” Several West African countries are discussing plans to open stock exchanges.

Bajomo said the process of selecting the system had been rigorous and that the NASDAQ OMX X-stream is used by 94 exchanges around the world. “We will work aggressively to go live with the Nasdaq platform by the second quarter of 2013, but this will depend largely on the preparedness of the other market operators.”

The price of the new platform is mostly quoted in the Nigerian press (for instance Daily Independent newspaper as US$2 million. A day earlier, This Day newspaper had put the cost at over $8.8m.


Other reforms: market makers, ETFs

Media reports (for example here) quote Onyema pointing to other reform targets, including a big rise in the number of listed companies, vibrant trading of those securities and a wider range of products: “As part of the strategic transformation of the exchange we set out last year to launch five products in five years and in December 2011, we launched the first exchange-traded fund in West Africa, the ABSA NewGold ETF. We are working on launching more products in the medium term and by 2013/2014, we plan to create an options market that will trade stock options, bond options and index options. This would be followed by a futures market in 2016 that will comprise currency futures and interest rate.”

On market liquidity, he said the exchange recently unveiled 10 market makers: “With this in place, we will soon start short selling and securities lending to further increase efficiency and liquidity in the market by making available securities where they are needed. These initiatives are a vital part of increasing the vibrancy, depth and competitiveness of the market. We have also put in place rules to allow companies to repurchase outstanding shares through a share buy-back process. This would facilitate the repurchase by a company of a portion of its outstanding issued shares. The aim is to improve shareholder value (ROA, ROE, EPS, P/E); meaning a companies that feel their share prices are undervalued may engage in share buy-back to shore up the prices while also reorganizing their capital structures.”

Reportedly the NSE aims for market capitalization of $1 trillion by 2015 and to be “the gateway to the African markets”. According to an earlier report in This Day newspaper the 10 stockbroking market makers were selected from a list of 20 applicants. They include: Stanbic IBTC, Renaissance Capital, Future View Securities, Vetiva Capital, ESS/Dunn Loren Merrifield, WSTC Financial Services, Capital Bancorp, FBN Securities, Greenwich Securities and CSL Stockbrokers. Onyema said: “The companies selected went through a very rigorous process and met the minimum net capital requirement of N570 million ($3.6m). We also examined their compliance history and looked into their operational capabilities, including their technology and processes.” He added the firms were trained, debated the appropriate market structure and the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the selection. The market makers used a draw to select a basket of quoted companies in which they would provide the desired level of liquidity.

JSE stock exchange unveils new Africa strategy

This morning (2 April) South Africa’s securities exchange, the JSE Ltd, announced a revised strategy to attract more listings from African countries, as they say international interest in investing into the continent’s growth story continues to soar. The JSE is closing its Africa Board and moving the 2 listed companies onto the Main Board (listing requirements for the Africa Board are the same as for the Main Board) or to Alt-X if they are growth companies. The JSE is also stepping up trading in depository receipts (DRs) and offering a broader range of exchange-traded funds and debt instruments.
Siobhan Cleary, Director of Strategy and Public Policy at the JSE, said in a press release: “The JSE’s existing African offering includes 12 African companies. In future, there will be no differentiation (for listing purposes). For equities, this will mean that we will list the companies on the Main Board or AltX as applicable. We will also actively market and profile the African companies that are already listed.”
She says the move is driven by demand for capital and also by the increasing supply of capital from investors. African consumer markets are increasingly being targeted by local companies and companies from overseas, including a growing wave of foreign direct investment activity. Other very active channels for investments are private equity funds, hedge funds and other investors. “We think it is time that stock exchanges started to play an appropriate role in channelling the investments.”
In October 2011 South Africa’s National Treasury announced that companies previously viewed as foreign listings would in future be treated as domestic and this makes it easier for South Africans to invest in JSE-listed African stocks and makes it easier for foreign companies to raise capital. South African institutions will apparently be able to include JSE listed companies among their domestic asset holdings. Second, the JSE has developed good relations with several stock exchanges on the continent through the African Stock Exchanges Association and the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges. Third, there are increasing investment flows into the continent’s markets and more funds focused on the region, seen as high growth compared to many world markets.
Nathan Mintah, Chairman of the JSE’s Africa Advisory Committee, commented: “This evolution in JSE’s strategy is a step in the right direction in the quest to increase capital flows into the rest of Africa. Offering issuers and investors the ‘whole JSE’ market platform for access to instruments across the capital structure in equities, mezzanine, and fixed income combined with the JSE’s liquidity will clearly benefit all stakeholders and serve as a catalyst for product innovation in areas such as exchange traded products for the rest of Africa.”
The JSE is diversifying the instrument range it offers investors from the rest of the continent. Cleary says: “We already have four interest-rate instruments from the rest of the continent, as well as an African exchange-traded product. We will give increased focus to listing further debt and quasi-equity products in future. These will also include DRs, which are traded like shares and offer investors the same economic, corporate and voting rights as holding underlying shares directly. DRs enable issuers to reach investors located outside their home markets while reducing the risk of cross-border investment.” The JSE altered its listing requirements last year to accommodate DRs, which will provide a way for African companies to raise capital on the JSE without requiring a secondary listing. DRs are applicable for African companies regardless of whether they have an existing listing on an African exchange or any other exchange. Freely traded in South African Rands, this will allow African companies to market themselves to both South African and international investors.
Cleary says there is a pipeline of companies interested and she expects more African listings this year. The JSE is competing with international exchanges such as London and New York for key listings, and also with Australia and Toronto for mining listings. Recently Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote said (see article in Financial Times, for instance) he would take the $11bn Dangote Cement for a London listing in 2013, and last year Zambia’s Zambeef also opted for London.
The two listings on the JSE Africa Board, launched in February 2009, were Trustco from Namibia and Wilderness Safaris from Botswana. The JSE says both prefer to be ranked with their sector peers and in industry sectors. Quinton van Rooyen, Trustco Group MD, commented: “This repositioning of Trustco allows the company, whilst keeping its African identity, to be benchmarked against its peers, on a world-class platform. This can only be beneficial to Trustco and the extensive African investment community.” The JSE is also pledging roadshows and analyst events to highlight the African companies from outside South Africa.
The JSE believes that its approach provides a workable solution to the sometimes complex issue of investment on the continent. The JSE’s approach also contributes to the development of markets within their own economies. Cleary added: “There is an opportunity for the JSE to work with these exchanges and various development institutions to build capacity on the continent. It also gives the JSE the opportunity to evolve its Africa strategy. This has meant looking critically at what issuers – companies, governments and others – from the rest of the continent are looking for, and aligning their needs with the JSE’s objectives,” says Cleary.

JSE seeks more African equity listings in 2012, targets telecoms, mining and financials

The JSE Ltd (www.jse.co.za), South Africa’s securities exchange, is hoping to attract more listings from the rest of Africa in 2012 and to expand its range of products and services. This year should also see the JSE installing its equity trading system in Johannesburg, to avoid dependence on a transatlantic cable connecting it to the London Stock Exchange.
Nicky Newton-King, who took up her post as CEO last week after succeeding Russell Loubser and the first woman to hold the post, told Business Day newspaper the plan was to offer more access to African companies and products such as exchange-traded funds products that enable people to access new investments: “With the rules of inward listing being relaxed, we would also like to attract more inward listings.” Besides IPOs, Newton-King said she expected to see more types of products, such as depository receipts and derivatives linked to companies being offered.
The JSE is in “good conversation” with several companies elsewhere in Africa over more potential listings. Last November she told Reuters: “We’ve got good conversations going … particularly on the continent.” She said the bourse is targeting mining, telecommunications and financial services: “Our approach is to look at issuers that need capital — need investors where their home markets might be too small. So we’ve got a lot of different segments we are looking at, but we are looking at particular issuers rather than trying to speak to everyone.”
The JSE already has 14 African companies listed, with 4 different debt instruments and 1 African ETF. Last year Reuters highlighted that some growing African firms preferred other international exchanges, particularly the London Stock Exchange and its AIM market, over the JSE for raising capital and listings, as highlighted in stories on this website. The JSE seeks closer cooperation with other African exchanges as it competes with other world bourses: “Clearly we need to be trying to find a way to cooperate with African exchanges, with African issuers to bring more African product to the table here in SA, where we have a lot of international investors everyday.”
The JSE attracted a total of 16 listings last year, with a combined market capitalisation of more than R35 billion (US$4.3bn), according to data from the JSE’s director of issuer services, John Burke. There were also a number of initial public offerings from the property sector. About 15 companies de-listed last year and 21 were on the suspended list. The number of new IPOs worldwide is lower since the start of the global financial crisis. Newton-King said there is a pipeline for potential listings in 2012: “Definitely there’s a pipeline, there’s always a pipeline. We never talk about the number since how many companies actually list and when they list is very much dependent on the economic circumstances of the country and whether the companies themselves are ready to list.
“We are looking forward to being able to attract a wider range of companies and investment opportunities on the JSE.”
The plan is still to use the same computer provider, Sri Lanka’s Millennium IT which is a subsidiary of the LSE. In terms of a February 2011 press release, the JSE is to migrate to a new system Millennium Exchange™, which the LSE has also adopted, in the first half of 2012. Millennium IT systems are used on many African stock exchanges.
Newton-King told Business Day she hoped this will minimise the outages experienced last year, which were linked to technical issues on the transatlantic cable. The JSE halted trading on its equity markets at least twice last year, which led to the exchange attracting criticism from trading houses, which often spoke anonymously to the media.
She said: “We are critically dependent on information technology (IT) and invest heavily in IT to ensure it is robust and able to handle increased volumes as the JSE grows. Our equity systems are run in London and there’s been some trading outages in the lines between us and London…. We are bringing the systems back to avoid that. We will continue to look at whether our technology is robust enough to withstand volumes.”
She did not give much information on rumours that the JSE is talking with SA Treasury on starting a trading market for carbon credits but said the JSE was looking at the possibility and how it would work with others.
Of the type of environment that she envisions at the JSE, Ms Newton-King says: “In 2012 I would like the JSE to be recognised as a place of excellence, a place where SA’s top talent would come and work, where our clients recognise that we provide products and services that are valuable to them.”
Her former post as deputy CEO no longer exists and duties that fell to her are being given to other people so that they can also grow.