Archive for the 'Integration' Category

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)

Regional integration tops 2017 agenda for Africa’s exchanges

Stock exchanges across Africa should be working towards regional integration, says Prime Minister of Rwanda Anastase Murekezi. He was guest speaker at the 20th African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) annual conference. The conference’s action agenda would see the regulated stock exchanges driving industrialization and economic transformation.
Panel discussions highlighted the opportunities for African exchanges, provided they adapt to meet the needs and demands of local investors and issuers. They must also find the balance between local context and environment, and alignment with global best practices.
Government support and engagement are keys to the success of exchanges and to providing the capital to grow economies. Governments should continue to create enabling environments that encourage investment, economic growth and development. Regulation should follow market needs and focus on supporting development as favourable regulatory frameworks are essential for sustainable economic growth.
Other challenges the exchanges should continue to work on include: financial inclusion or letting more people access the capital markets for investing and for raising long-term risk capital for their enterprises; financial literacy and investor education; product innovation including using technology and creating innovative platforms for new products; and finding ways to finance the missing middle of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.
Exchanges should encourage greater emphasis on environmental, social and governance components to enhance corporate transparency and performance.
Celestin Rwabukumba, CEO of the Rwanda Stock Exchange, said innovation and technology would enable Africa’s capital markets to harness resources to fuel structural transformation: “Currently, less than 5% of the African populace participate in the capital markets; this means that there is a huge opportunity to widen the base of African capital markets by incorporating new models based on technology and other creative innovations that target provision of direct linkages with the ordinary citizens in order to bring them in the loop of resource mobilization and utilization”.
The 20th ASEA conference brought together 300 delegates, including securities exchange CEOs, regulators, ministers, investors and others. It was held in Kigali on 28-29 November 2016. The theme was “Road to 2030: Making the African capital markets relevant to the real economy”.
Speakers included Claver Gatete, Rwandan Minister of Finance, and Prime Minister Murekezi delivered a message from the President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, in which he commended ASEA for its role in deepening the capital markets as a way of addressing the challenges that hampered Africa
Other speakers included Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, (former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria), Tonye Cole (founder of Sahara Group), Staci Warden (Executive Director, Milken Institute), Sandy Frucher (Vice Chairman of Nasdaq), Paul Muthaura (CEO Capital Markets Authority Kenya), David Grayson (Co-founder and CEO of Auerbach Grayson & Company), as well as CEOs from ASEA member exchanges.

SADC stockbrokers linking for cross-border investment

Stockbroking firms across Southern Africa are invited for networking on 7 December 2016 to learn more about investment opportunities in neighbouring capital markets. The Committee of SADC Securities Exchanges (CoSSE) aims to implement SADC ideals of close linkages between the region’s capital markets and to support cross-border capital-raising and investments.
First steps are to encourage information flow between the markets and to establish networks so that brokers can route trading to other local exchanges by working with a local broker in the target exchange.

cosselogo_about-cosse

On the agenda for the 1st SADC Brokers’ Network Session will be to facilitate and provide a platform for SADC brokers to meet each other, agree to enter into a SADC database, agree on a standard counter-party agreement which will be used when brokers trade for each other in their respective jurisdictions, and share information about their respective markets.
Every firm is invited to send representatives to meet other broking firms and learn about their activities. After the networking session, brokers will be encouraged to keep each other informed on local opportunities such as initial public offers (IPOs) which brokers in other countries and their clients may be interested in. Brokers will be able to share trading commissions on such deals when two firms are working together.
There are increasing linkages between the financial systems in the region’s capital markets, including the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS) which was successfully launched in 2013 and has been growing fast since then.
The networking session will last all day from 8-5 and it will be at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, South Africa. It will be followed by a cocktail. Brokers wishing to attend should contact their national stock exchange.
Other information can be obtained by emailing CoSSEBrokerSession@jse.co.za.

Opinion: Steps for regional integration of capital markets

YOUR COMMENTS AND DISCUSSION ARE WELCOMED!

In mature capital markets, regional integration shows significant benefits in unlocking potential and allowing investors to mobilize liquidity across borders by interconnecting diverse markets. Regional integration seems to be the future of world capital markets.

Can it also work for African capital markets, many of which face considerable problems of liquidity?

Many parts of the world have already tackled integration and each has faced its own challenges. In the past, the state of the technology and the feasibility of effective regional integration used to be a major challenge, and often offset the benefits.

This has changed. The technology has become cost-effective and industrial standards have evolved, based upon the widespread experience and solid implementations in different regions. Remaining challenges that still prevent smooth implementation are not in technology but in the business processes and political will.

First it is important to understand the landscape. Africa’s exchanges are usually divided into 4 categories:
• Dominant market: South Africa is the biggest contender
• Medium-size market: Each region tends to have its leading market
• Emerging markets: Several markets are growing fast and showing innovation and determination
• Markets yet to take off: Some are recently established, some are showing slow growth.

As African stock markets have become larger and more prevalent over the last 10 years, there have been preliminary moves towards regional integration. This is the global trend, but more importantly because integration can meet the mutual needs of the exchanges themselves.

Lack of liquidity is a major constraint to attracting influxes of foreign capital (portfolio investment) and to efficient allocation of savings and asset pricing. The different businesses (shares) on offer can be limited and the size of potential deals is often small. Pricing and other cross-comparisons within sectors and across companies can be difficult.

Efficient securities markets in Africa will help exchanges act as efficient channels for the growing pools of domestic savings funds (pensions and insurance) towards national growth and development – both infrastructure and enterprises – as well as providing comfort for foreign and domestic investors. Links and eventual integration between national stock exchanges is the way to ensure this.

Talk of pan-African or other continental structures can be a distraction. It may overlook the necessary work to be done on national and regional limits, including exchange controls, prudential regulations, macro-economic stability and others. It ignores the key roles of local securities exchanges, which are already central in their national economies and have working legal frameworks and institutional set-ups that can be built upon.

Each market has evolved according to the needs of the market participants and the challenges that have been impacting them. Each has its own electronic platforms built for the local practices. Existing micro-level frameworks can prevent change being introduced in a straightforward fashion. For example, in certain markets, turn-around trading is yet not available and settlement procedures are longer than necessary. Regional integration can take this into account if it involves a pragmatic framework that accommodates the composition of the markets.

In most regions, regulations are a key limitation on integration. The enabling environment for integration requires common policies, institutions and regional frameworks and, above all, the necessary political commitment that ensures macroeconomic stability. Cross-border settlements are difficult as there are no common currencies and the cost of trading is higher due to intermediary costs. Regulatory work to be overcome includes tackling national exchange controls, harmonization of regulations and recognizing each other’s institutions and intermediaries. Prudential limits on cross-border funds’ investments and regulations that stop share offers being marketed across borders could also be rolled back.

Political will is needed to recognize the importance of national structures and to recognize the added value of an integrated regional structure.

Regional integration demands not only that participants agree on a common standard of procedures at the higher level, but that there are platforms to support the regional integration charter. Initially the process may be structured around entities that exchange information with each other but operate on their own.

An ideal is to think towards forming one mega-enterprise with national outposts – Africa’s example is the BRVM which provides an integrated exchange linking 8 markets and is firmly anchored in the considerable monetary and policy integration structures in the francophone region. The evolving future regional exchanges should link all stakeholders through a set of global processes that bridge the gaps between the diverse systems that exist at various levels and connect all to bring value to customers.

There have already been some healthy efforts by Africa’s regional economic communities. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is supporting linkages between regulators, central bankers and the Committee of SADC Securities Exchanges. Strong advances include the SIRESS cross-border payments systems and cooperation and harmonization between exchanges and regulators, including on listing requirements. The West Africa Capital Markets Integration Council considerable progress has extended to mutual recognition of stockbrokers and regional structures, as highlighted in this blog, and cross-border share deals between national exchanges, in addition to its ground-breaking BRVM regional exchange for 8 countries. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and other multilaterals and finance institutions are supporting important projects.

One of the leaders is the East African Community (EAC), following the signature and ratification of its Common Market Protocol. The EAC Secretariat, working with the World Bank and other development partners, established the EAC Financial Sector Development and Regionalization Project I (EAC-FSDRP I) to support the development of the financial sector through the establishment of a single market in financial services among EAC Partner States. The project objective is to establish the foundation for financial-sector integration among EAC partner States, including the broadening and deepening of the financial sector through the establishment of a single market in financial services, with a view to making a wide range of financial products and services available to all, at competitive prices. InfoTech, a Pakistani IT vendor with expertise in capital markets, particularly in Africa, is delivering the capital markets linkages.

To complement work on the IT and other systems, there is much to be done at policy-making level to harmonize the rules of the game across the region, backed by full commitment of all direct and indirect stakeholders, such as stock exchanges, depository companies, regulatory authorities etc. and their IT vendors to support their existing systems so they can support the regional integration.

Implementing the capital markets regional integration project will be a big milestone and a big step in tackling the core issues that hinder effective integration. The prospects are huge.

Capacity-building at all levels is also critical. Policymakers and regulators need to enhance skills on how to grow efficient markets to ensure they support national and regional development objectives. Exchanges, brokers, banks and key advisors such as lawyers are also central. Knowledge and skills among potential issuers, including small and medium-enterprises, and investors including both institutions and the investing public, all contribute to fast growth of more efficient markets.

Integration has already been proven in advanced markets and the technology works. The biggest challenge and responsibility is with the policymakers who have to formulate a governance framework with effective support to implement the framework at grassroots level.

Working together, African capital markets are moving to the next level of their evolution.

 

AfDB and stock exchanges group ASEA sign MoU for capital markets projects

Africa’s leading financial institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), is pairing with the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) to deepen and connect Africa’s financial markets. The partnership aims to help mobilize more resources to drive growth.
The two will work on projects of mutual interest such as developing financial-markets infrastructure, introducing new products, improving market liquidity and participation, information-sharing and capacity-building. AfDB and ASEA signed a 5-year memorandum of understanding on 11 July. This provides “a collaborative framework for harmonizing and coordinating the efforts”, according to an AfDB press release.
The Bank and ASEA have already started successfully collaborating on the African Exchanges Linkage Project, which they co-initiated to improve liquidity and foster greater investments and trading across markets. This aims to link key regional markets and has proposed Casablanca, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Nigerian stock exchanges as regional hubs, according to project documents.

AfDB and ASEA Executive Committee delegation. (From left to right) Stefan Nalletamby (Vice-President for infrastructure, regional integration and private sector, AfDB), Geoffrey Odundo (CEO of Nairobi Securities Exchange), Oscar Onyema OON (CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange), Akinwumi A. Adesina (President of AfDB), Karim Hajji (CEO of Casablanca Stock Exchange), Edoh Kossi Amenounve (CEO of BRVM) Photo: AfDB

AfDB and ASEA Executive Committee delegation. (From left to right) Stefan Nalletamby (Vice-President for infrastructure, regional integration and private sector AfDB), Geoffrey Odundo (CEO of Nairobi Securities Exchange), Oscar Onyema OON (CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange), Akinwumi A. Adesina (President of AfDB), Karim Hajji (CEO of Casablanca Stock Exchange), Edoh Kossi Amenounve (CEO of BRVM) Photo: AfDB

AfDB President, Akinwumi A. Adesina says deepening and integrating Africa’s financial markets to mobilize domestic resources to fund African economies is very important to deliver the Bank’s “High 5s” priorities: Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the Quality of Life of Africans (all part of the bank’s 2030 agenda for attaining the global Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs).
He says there are huge pools of capital available in sovereign-wealth, pensions and insurance funds and these can be used for developing Africa through appropriate intermediation and capital-markets products. He called for “increased mobilization of domestic pools of savings and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as they constitute the bulk of Africa’s private sector.”
Adesina pointed to the bank’s progress in financial markets development through issuing and listing local-currency bonds in Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa. The bank has also created African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI) to support domestic bond markets through the African Financial Markets Database. The bank will soon launch an African Domestic Bond Fund building on the success of the AFDB Bloomberg® African Bond Index, which started in February 2015 to combine the Bloomberg South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya local-currency sovereign indices and was expanded in October 2015 by Botswana and Namibia..
ASEA President, Oscar N. Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, says the MoU will frame projects focused on the development of exchanges, deepening the stock markets and ultimately fueling African economic growth.

BRVM securities exchange strategy dialogue with US frontier funds

New York, May 12: Sixteen new listings, spurred by privatizations and private equity fund exits, are a key target for Africa’s top-performing securities exchange. The Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, is among the world’s most successful integrated regional exchanges, linking eight West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo).

In New York this week, 30 US frontier investors, stockbrokers and market specialists joined Mr. Edoh Kossi Amenounve, CEO of BRVM, in a strategic dialogue. Suggestions from the Americans included lower stockbroker commissions, more listings, liquidity, and stepping up listed company reporting to international financial reporting standards (IFRS).

The BRVM has 36 listed bonds and 39 listed companies, and expects four new listings in 2016, following initial public offers (IPOs). In 2015, the BRVM Composite Index rose by 17.77% making it Africa’s top-performing equity index to foreign investors.

Amenounve says: “Most of the economies are not badly affected by the oil price. They are growing through regional linkages. We saw 6.6% GDP growth in our markets in 2015 and expect 7.2% this year. BRVM is different from other markets as our currency, the CFA franc, is pegged to the value of the euro. We offer yield, without the high volatility seen in other African markets.”

The value of trading on the BRVM exchange rose 48% in 2015. Amenounve says local participation is growing even faster: “More and more citizens are becoming shareholders, which is the best way for our people to take ownership of our growth drivers and means of production. In 2012 foreign investors made up 55% of the trading, but the local share had risen to 75% by 2015, of much bigger trading volumes. In 2011, domestic collective investment schemes managed XOF 30bn of assets, but by the end of 2015 that was XOF 600bn, a 20-fold increase.”

Amenounve is leading plans to integrate five West African markets – Nigeria, Ghana, BRVM, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone – by 2020 to form Africa’s second biggest exchange after Johannesburg, with 273 listed companies and 233 brokerage firms. He has been Chairman of the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC) since March 2015 and explained the three-step plan for integration:
* Phase 1 is sponsored access for brokerage firms, which was launched in July 2015 and has seen several transactions between Ghana and Nigeria.
* Phase 2 will be a “common passport”, giving a regional stockbroker direct access to any market.
* Phase 3 will be to follow the Euronext model, with a single trading platform and a single order book for all the markets.

The BRVM is Africa’s sixth securities exchange by market capitalization ($12.8 billion for equities and $2.7 billion debt) in 2015. It represents an economic area of more than 100 million consumers, with fast, diversified growth. See more at: www.brvm.org.

The meeting was organized by AZ Media in New York and ourselves, African Growth Partners Ltd.

Edoh Kossi Amenounve, CEO of BRVM exchange

Edoh Kossi Amenounve, CEO of BRVM exchange

Cross-exchange trading between Ghana and Nigeria stock exchanges

A trade in July was one of the first examples of cross-border trading, where a broker in Ghana was able to buy shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange through links with a Nigerian broker. It points the way for closer capital market integration in West Africa, where economic links are already strong.

According to this story on Bloomberg, the trade was executed by Ghana’s CAL Brokers Ltd and Nigeria’s United Capital Securities Ltd. CAL Brokers bought 100 Dangote Cement and 6,000 Guaranty Trust Bank shares from United Capital Securities. It bought the shares for its own portfolio to sell later, paying commission and money transfer costs.

“Investors can now tap into bigger pool of funds,” Geoffrey Maison, a research analyst at CAL, told Bloomberg in an interview. “Investors from Ghana can look out for opportunities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange or BRVM if they can’t get stocks to buy here.”

Wole Shonibare, Deputy Group CEO/ Managing Director, Investment Banking at United Capital PLC wrote: With signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) (recognized by each regulator in the two jurisdictions) in place, Ghana and Nigerian dealing members (broker-dealers) were able to trade among themselves via Sponsored Access. The first trade which was completed on 15 July 2015 was facilitated by the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), in conjunction with the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) with the actual trade conducted by United Capital Securities. This first trade has successfully developed the framework for subsequent trades in the market.

More than 180 securities are listed on the Nigerian bourse, while Ghana Stock Exchange has 35 equities and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières SA or BRVM, a regional stock exchange bringing together eight countries from a base in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, has 39 deals. Ghana and BRVM have been seeing lower trading volumes.

Four West African exchanges including the Sierra Leone stock exchange are busy with a staged integration process under the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC), set up in January 2013 to harmonize the regulatory environment for issuing and trading securities and to develop a common platform for cross-border listing and trading. WACMIC is made up of Chief Executives of the regulators (securities commissions) and of the securities exchanges. Adu Anane Antwi, director general of Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission told Bloomberg the council had been working on rules and technicalities of cross market trade since 2012.

The current phase is.known as “sponsored access”. Maison said broker can ask a dealer in another country to execute trades on its behalf, Maison said. Previously, an investor wanting to buy equities in another country would have to go through an audit before opening an account with a broker.

Antwi said: “Even at this first stage if you’re interested in a Nigerian stock you don’t have to go to Nigeria to find a broker,” Antwi said. “You can buy the stock by talking to a broker here.”

Next step will be “direct access”. Traders will be able to execute transactions in other markets. The final is a common board to display prices across the 4 markets. This is facilitated as the exchanges have automatic trading and allow direct market access (DMA)

According to United Capital’s Shonibare: This landmark transaction is important and beneficial to West Africa and the African financial markets in many ways. Liberalizing capital transactions across any region is the first step for integrated capital markets. Over the years, African financial markets have been left vulnerable to volatility resulting from massive portfolio inflows from countries that share little economic similarities with the region, causing a significant bout of macroeconomic instability in the domestic financial markets. The Ghana-Nigeria deal is expected to be a precursor to greater capital flows within a sub-region that already operates a liberalized trade environment.

In the near term, market operators intending to participate in this laudable initiative would need to scale up their IT support for trading securities as transactions can only be done electronically while orders would require an order management system that is synchronized with the local Stock Exchange. There is need to provide information about investment opportunities across markets within the region as this will help boost inter-market dealings by investors and assist market operators increase their revenues. Stronger Settlement system is also important. Additionally, there is need for a more robust banking system across markets such that investors can make payments in local currencies where orders are originated irrespective of the market they are trading into as this will help increase the volume/value of trades. Finally, there is urgent need to pass the enabling laws that would allow electronic trading and direct market access to take place in the various exchanges within the region.

AfDB $400,000 seed equity to central depositories link Africlear Global

The central depositories of Kenya and Nigeria, two of the most dynamic in Africa, have formed a joint venture with Altree Financial Group. The African Development provided $400,000 in seed equity capital to the new Africlear Global venture, which aims to boost the efficiency of African capital markets by supporting modernizing the infrastructure of the central securities depositories.

The partners are Kenya’s Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC), Nigeria’s Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and Altree. However, several more African central depositories are interested in joining.

Africlear will help the depositories to pool their resources and boost buying power on equipment. They will work together to identify, acquire and maintain critical systems and technology, for instance for corporate actions, recording shareholder votes and other investor support services. The depositories will also share information and expertise.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) invested $400,000 in seed capital through the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance in an agreement signed 5 March in Abidjan. This may inspire more investors to join in building the company.

Africlear will use the money to improve the infrastructure used for post-trading processes such as settlements after a sale is done. According to AfDB press release: “The goal of the investment is to enhance the efficiency of capital markets by supporting the modernisation of central securities depository infrastructure in African securities markets.” Solomon Asamoah, AfDB Vice-President, Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, and Anthony Fischli, Director, Africlear Global, signed the Shareholder and Subscription agreements on behalf of the Bank and Africlear Global, respectively.

Rose Mambo, CEO of CDSC, is the chairperson of Africlear. She was reported in Standard news in Kenya saying: “Africlear members will be able to realise significant cost savings via collective bargaining with industry participants and technology vendors. Africlear will also allow its members to offer more services ranging from corporate actions processing and collateral management to clearing and settlement.”

Kyari Bukar of CSCS said Africlear will accelerate process standardization and promote system integration across the borders. “By employing industry best practices, Africlear will facilitate improved levels of transparency and corporate governance within the African capital markets. This will enable local market practitioners to effectively compete for domestic and international capital.”

The board of Africlear held its first meeting in Nairobi on 24 April 2015. The members also include Altree Financial Group chairman Anthony Fischli and a representative from the AfDB to be named. Fischli said: “Africlear supports an open marketplace where scale and connectivity serve as the company’s competitive strengths” Benefits for investors should include improved access to securities services, collaboration between countries and cost-effective pricing of infrastructure.

Fischli told AfricanCapitalMarketsNews on 11 May that Africlear could also help the different countries’ and exchanges’ central depositories in future if they want to establish links. Fischli said in a press release “The AfDB investment in Africlear Global supports the improvement of securities market infrastructure through promotion of industry-leading technologies designed to enhance the underlying efficiency and overall functioning of the African capital markets.”

Kenya’s Business Daily reports that CDSC expects to gain revenue from its investment in Africlear by being able to charge for corporate actions such as reconciling investors on share splits, dividend declaration and payments. Revenues are particularly expected from international investors who mostly make the bulk of the traders on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) Kenya is approved by the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya as provider of clearing and settlement services to the Kenyan capital markets. Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Nigeria is licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria and serves as the clearing and settlement house for the Nigerian capital markets and The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Altree Financial Group is an integrated financial-services company licensed to conduct Investment Business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

The AfDB’s FAPA fund is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for capacity building, seed capital and advisory services to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. AfDB and the Governments of Japan and Austria have contributed to the fund, which to date has provided over $60m to 56 projects in 38 countries across Africa. The portfolio includes regional and national projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private-sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of micro, small and medium enterprises

COMMENT – African nations seem keen on having national exchanges and central depositories under domestic regulation. However, they are working hard on harmonizing regulations, including to global standards, particularly within regional associations of regulators.

Africa is also looking for ways to increase links between the exchanges, eventually pushing to the point where a broker in one country can route orders to other exchanges, meaning that investors all over Africa have access to different exchanges, boosting liquidity and achieving more cross-border communications, trading, cross listings and remote memberships.

Africlear can be a key part of this. Getting post-trade “plumbing” for payments, clearing and settlement is key to ensuring African exchanges. Africlear is set to be an important step forward.

East African securities exchange integration – what’s on in 2015

Securities exchanges in East Africa are working together on the infrastructure for tighter cooperation and links between the capital markets of Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and potentially Burundi. The body for cooperation is the East African Securities Exchanges Association (EASEA). The key integration driver is the Technical Working Group (TWG), which has a member from each State. It was established by the East African Community (EAC) to review the best infrastructure and legal framework to facilitate seamless cross-border movement of capital.

Training and qualifications
Also important is the Securities Industry Training Institute (SITI) East Africa, which is improving skills and technical capacity to international standards and creating regional qualifications to enable skilled candidates to work across the region. For 2015 SITI East Africa aims to help more market players and regulators have SITI certification and examinations and is driving training to meet the growing demand for expertise. SITI was set up in 2009 to establish a common curriculum. See this post about the launch of SITI.

Infrastructure
A regional inter-depository transfer mechanism is in place to support movement of cross-listed securities and provide possibilities for investors seeking cross-border trading and investment opportunities. It is part of a capital market infrastructure project progressing under the EAC Financial Sector Development Regional Project (FSDRP I). Each country is leading publicity and workshops to raise awareness and boost cross-border trading.

Backbone – new directives
The TWG is developing Council Directives “which will be the backbone of the proposed integration of the regional capital markets”, according to the communiqué (“EASEA Press Release”) of the last EASEA meeting. The directives under public discussion are:
1. Council Directive of the EAC on Central Securities Depository
2. Council Directive of the EAC on Securities Exchanges
3. Council Directive of the EAC on Self-Regulatory Organizations
4. Council Directive of the EAC on Conduct of Business for Market Intermediaries
5. Council Directive of the EAC on Corporate Governance for Listing Companies.

The TWG has also drafted and completed directives on
1. Council Directive of the EAC on Investor Compensation Schemes
2. Council Directive of the EAC on Financial Education and Consumer Protection
3. Council Directive of the EAC on Disaster Recovery for Capital Market Infrastructure
4. Council Directive of the EAC on Regulated Activities
5. Council Directive of the EAC on Credit-Rating Agencies
6. Council Directive of the EAC on Regulatory Authorities
7. Council Directive of the EAC on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financial Terrorism

The last meeting of EASEA was 26-27 November and Tanzania did not attend. The next is due in Uganda in the Q2 of 2015. EASEA is a member of the Capital Markets Development Committee (CMDC) of the East African Community (EAC) – a committee of the East African Community Secretariat, according to the Uganda Securities Exchange website. The CMDC objectives include

  • Establish cross-listing of stocks, a rating system of listed companies and an index of trading performance to facilitate the negotiation and sale of shares within and external to the Community
  • Ensure unimpeded flow of capital within the Community by facilitating the removal of controls on the transfer of capital among the Partner States
  • Prevent money-laundering activities through the capital markets
  • Ensure that the citizens of and persons resident in a Partner State are allowed to acquire stocks, shares and other securities or to invest in enterprises in the other Partner States

Encourage cross-border trade in financial instruments.

4 priorities from new head of African stock exchanges

Nairobi Securities Exchange (credit: Diana Ngila, Nation Media Group)

Nairobi Securities Exchange (credit: Diana Ngila, Nation Media Group)

The new President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) put forward 4 strategic objectives for the member bourses. Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, was elected President after outstanding leadership by Sunil Benimadhu, Chief Executive of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
According to a news report in Nigeria’s This Day, Onyema said the vision is to support the effective mobilization of capital for economic development. The new executive committee to lead African securities exchanges will focus on
• Strengthen ASEA’s governance, financial and reporting framework
• Promote the sustainable development of African capital markets
• Facilitate an increase in market access at the regional level, and promote cross-listing among African exchanges
• Align the goals of African capital markets with those of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Onyema said: “I am honoured to be elected president of ASEA which is the largest platform for Africa’s stock, futures and options exchanges. I would like to thank the outgoing Executive Committee led by Mr. Benimadhu for their stewardship of the Association over the last two years, and I look forward to working with ASEA members, our global counterparts and regulators to contribute to the association’s rich legacy, as well as to promoting our markets in a broad range of areas”.
He was elected this week at the Executive Committee meeting of ASEA after its 18th annual general meeting held in Diani, Kenya.

Exchanges and regional integration
According to this press release from Nairobi Securities Exchange, William Ruto Deputy President of Kenya opened the ASEA flagship conference: “Well-established capital markets can help African countries lessen vulnerability of their economies to external shocks, by locally marshalling funds through instruments such as bonds and reducing currency and duration mismatches.
“The exchanges have continued to foster regional integration by allowing cross-border capital raising initiatives such as public offers, bond issues and cross-listing of stocks”. He encouraged Kenyans to keep saving and to do this using the capital markets.
Benimadhu, the out-going ASEA president, welcomed the new president and committee members: “We look forward to ASEA’s continuing progress as it seeks to enhance the global competitiveness of member exchanges”.

Open up, urges investor
Allan Thomson, managing director of Dreadnought Capital, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was reported in Kenya’s Daily Nation that opening up the markets to foreign investors would bring in much needed capital and training for the local markets: “I have respect for regulators in Africa and what they are trying to do. But it is worrying. African capital markets suffer from too much protectionism and stringent rules. The fact is that protected and inaccessible markets remain small.”
He added that membership at most capital markets was expensive, which kept away potential investors: “I once approached a securities exchange in Africa and was told to pay $1 million to become a member yet they were only five. I suggest a zero membership fee because investors bring in skills and capital,” he added.

Diani, Kenya (credit www.planetwindsurfholidays.com)

Diani, Kenya (credit www.planetwindsurfholidays.com)