Archive for the 'Mauritius' Category

SADC stock exchanges work together towards links, shared skills and better visibility

The 10 stock exchanges of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are working together to increase the effectiveness of their markets. The Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE) has agreed to concentrate on 6 priority areas in support of regional moves to more efficient capital markets.
The stock exchanges will explore ways to use technology to link their trading and order systems and work together to ensure clearing and settlement systems align with global standards adopted in April. They are working closely with SADC institutions to support development of regional systems, including payment and will boost visibility of trading data and enhance their joint website (www.cossesadc.org), launched in April by the JSE and I-Net Bridge. The bourses will also pool resources to accelerate training and skills development for capital markets staff.
CoSSE members are Botswana Stock Exchange, Malawi Stock Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius, Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique, Namibian Stock Exchange, South Africa’s JSE Ltd, Swaziland Stock Exchange, Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange of Tanzania, Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange, and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. They met on 25 June in Gaborone, Botswana in a meeting convened by CoSSE with support from SADC Secretariat.
“Stock exchanges have their roles cut out in each of our economies to augment our governments’ efforts to grow national economies for the greater good and as part of the SADC region’s struggle for growth to escape poverty,” says Mrs Beatrice Nkanza, Chairperson of CoSSE and CEO of the Lusaka Stock Exchange. “They are the channel for long-term risk capital, which is urgently needed for the region’s businesses, infrastructure providers and even governments. They also encourage saving and investment. CoSSE members are working closely together to support SADC initiatives and to make individual markets even more effective”.
CoSSE was set up in 1997 as a collective body of the stock exchanges in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It promotes co-operation and collaboration between member stock exchanges and is resourced by a Secretariat, supported by the JSE. SADC defines CoSSE’s role in the Finance and Investment Protocol and other policy documents and CoSSE has links to ministerial and senior treasury bodies and also works closely with the Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (CISNA) and the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG).
CoSSE had set up three working committees to implement six business plans, prioritized from the initiatives identified in its Strategic Plan 2011-2016. These are:
1. Legal and Secretariat working committee – chaired by Geoff Rothschild of the JSE. This is responsible for formalizing and resourcing the Secretariat, and for continuing and improving liaison with CISNA and other SADC organs.
2. Market Development working committee – chaired by Vipin Mahabirsingh of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. CoSSE has been developing models for inter-connectivity between automated trading systems at some or all member exchanges. The working committee will help member exchanges ensure their clearing and settlement systems comply with new global standards and support regional initiatives.
3. Capacity-Building and Visibility working committee – chaired by Anabela Chambuca Pinho of the Bolsa de Valores de Moçambique. This will liaise with member exchanges, regulators, stockbrokers, investors and others to develop and coordinate training courses. It will also enhance the new CoSSE website, help members to upgrade their own websites and to ensure their trading data and company news are disseminated internationally.
Progress will be guided by an Executive Committee, consisting of CoSSE Chairperson Mrs Nkanza, CoSSE Vice-Chairperson Gabriel Kitua (CEO of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in Tanzania) and the three working committee chairpersons. The strategic plan was developed with assistance from FinMark Trust.

For more information contact
Beatrice Nkanza, CEO Lusaka Stock Exchange, tel +260 (1) 228391 or email nkanzab [at] luse.co.zm
Gabriel Kitua, CEO Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, tel +255 22 2135779 or email gabriel.kitua [at] dse.co.tz.
Pearl Moatshe of CoSSE Secretariat, tel +27 11 5207118 or email pearlm [at] jse.co.za

First global company lists on Stock Exchange of Mauritius

The first offshore company was approved to be listed for trading on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM). The company has a Global Business Licence Category 1, which is more stringent than GBL 2, and the listing is in line with a new Chapter 18 of the regulations. The Financial Services Commission of Mauritius licences global business sector companies.
The listing of the ordinary shares of Evisa Investments Limited was approved on 28 February for the SEM’s Official Market. Evisa is a holding company and its primary investment is in Cannon Assurance Ltd, a company incorporated since 1967 in Kenya. Evisa has 1,000,000 Ordinary Shares of US$5.45 each in issue. Its main objective is to provide its shareholders with dividend income and long-term gain through expanding and diversifying its investments.
Chapter 18 addresses specific requirements for corporations holding a GBL 1 licence and certain types of debt instruments targeted to special categories of investors, including “expert investors”, as defined in the Securities (Collective Investment Schemes and Closed-end Funds) Regulations 2008.
According to a press release, the listing of GBL 1 companies is in line with SEM’s internationalisation strategy, and fosters the development of synergistic links between the Global Business Sector and the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. It also fits with the overall objective of positioning Mauritius as a jurisdiction of substance.
The SEM was incorporated in Mauritius on March 30, 1989 under the Stock Exchange Act 1988, as a private limited company responsible for the operation and promotion of an efficient and regulated securities market in Mauritius. Since October 2008, the SEM has become a public company, and over the years the Exchange has witnessed a significant overhaul of its operational, regulatory and technical framework to reflect the changing standards of global stock markets. Mauritius is well poised to become a leading base for funds investing into Africa from all over the world, including from India and China and there is potential for more listings.
SEM is today one of the leading Exchanges in Africa and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges, the South Asian Federation of Exchanges, the African Securities Exchanges Association and the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges. SEM is an Approved Stock Exchange by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and a “Recognised Stock Exchange” by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs in UK.
Evisa is a public company limited by shares, incorporated on 16 May 2002 and licensed by the FSC to operate as a GBL 1 company. The company secretary and registered office address of Evisa is International Management (Mauritius) Limited, Les Cascades Building, Edith Cavell Street, Port Louis.

Stock Exchange of Mauritius aims to be global centre for listing funds

The dynamic Stock Exchange of Mauritius (www.stockexchangeofmauritius.com) is pushing ahead with a wide range of activities aimed at building its role as a secure base for international funding transactions and an African alternative to international listing venues. It is moving to becoming a multi-product exchange aimed at the international market, through rapid development from its origins as an exchange focused only on the domestic market.
According to the website: “In the years to come, the split of listings on SEM is expected to overwhelmingly consist of international funds, international issuers, specialized debt instruments, Africa-focused Exchange-traded funds and other structured products. As SEM also aspires to emerge as a capital-raising platform for Africa-focused investments routed through the Global Business Sector, the SEM platform will growingly (sic) be used to channel investment flows from SA/Europe/Asia into Africa and from USA/Europe into Asia.” Mauritius combines good regulation with flexibility and has been a key base for funds including private equity funds investing into Africa and into India.
The bourse is aiming for a wide range and growing numbers of issuers, players and investors, increasing the breadth and depth of the Mauritius market and integrating the Mauritius financial services sector within the international financial system.
It made major changes to the Listing Rules (early 2010) to align them with the government’s Collective Investment Schemes Regulations 2008, positioning SEM as an attractive venue for listing Global and Specialised Funds, in line with the strategic shifts. The Listing Rules are more flexible to reflect the specific attributes and characteristics of the specialised funds to be listed. SEM aims to be platform of choice for listing a wide variety of funds such as Specialised Collective Investment Schemes, Professional Collective Schemes Export Funds, Global Schemes as part of diversifying product offerings and emerging as an international exchange. The management also commits to aggressive timing in processing listing applications and a competitive listing fee structure. In May 2011, SEM introduced Chapter 18 in the SEM’s Listing Rules, to cater for the listing of specialist companies and specialist debt instruments, targeted at qualified investors.
It is one of the African leaders in multi-currency trading and (since 2010) can trade and settle equity and debt products in Euro and GBP. From June 2011 it was the first exchange in Africa to list, trade and settle equity products in USD.
It supplies real time data through top global vendors such as Thompson Reuters, Financial Times and Bloomberg (since early 2010). The data coverage by global vendors is a powerful marketing medium to enhance SEM’s visibility internationally and put the exchange on the radar screen of a wider spectrum of international investors, thus attracting more foreign investor interest on our market. Mauritius is one of the few African exchanges to be connected to Bloomberg and Thompson Reuters real-time. Growing interest from international investors has prompted index and data providers including Standard & Poors, Morgan Stanley, Dow Jones and FTSE to include SEM in new indexes recently launched to track the evolution of key frontier emerging markets.
Over the last 10 years, the Mauritius Bourse has attracted strong foreign investor interest, generating positive investment inflows into many listed companies. 2010 was a record year for net foreign investment inflows. “For 2011, we are already stepping up our efforts via international conferences and roadshows, to place the SEM on the radar screen of institutional investors who are keen on frontier emerging markets that are well regulated and adhere to international best practice”, says the website.
SEM also has ambitions to contribute more broadly to the development of the Mauritian economy and to help grow capital market activities nationally and throughout Africa.

Highlights of recent history
SEM became a full member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE – www.world-exchanges.org) in November 2005. This is a high standard and shows that SEM is in the top rank in terms of stringent standards and market principles required to be accepted to this status by the WFE, which sets the standards for registered securities markets worldwide. The standards are recognized by industry, regulators and supervisorss. The WFE membership helps ensure that foreign investors play a growing role – “in a typical year, foreign investments represent 25–35% of trading activities on our market” according to the website.
The Development & Enterprise Market (DEM) was set up in 2006 This is the market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) and newly set-up companies with sound business plans and showing growth potential. Companies can use the advantages and facilities of an organised and regulated market to raise capital for growth, to improve liquidity in their shares, to obtain an objective market valuation and to enhance their corporate image.
Since March 2010, the SEM was designated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) as an “Approved Stock Exchange” by virtue of its membership of the WFE for the purposes of CIMA’s Mutual Funds Law, Banks and Trust Companies Law, Insurance Law, Companies Management Law and Securities Investment Business Law. This raises SEM’s profile as a well-structured and properly regulated exchange and enhances SEM’s position as an attractive listing venue for global and specialised funds.
From 31 January 2011, SEM has been designated by the United Kingdom tax authorities, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), as a “recognised Stock Exchange” under section 1005 (1) (b) Income Tax Act 2007. This means that securities admitted to trading and listed on the Official Market of the SEM will meet the HMRC interpretation of “listed” as set out in section 1005 (3) (a) and (3) (b) Income Tax Act 2007 and for Inheritance Tax purposes. This designation confers potential benefits such as permitting UK pension schemes to hold securities listed on the Official Market of SEM, giving companies and funds listed on SEM access to a larger market of sophisticated, well-capitalised investors. The designation reinforces SEM’s attractiveness as a listing venue for global funds and specialized products. Securities listed on the Official Market of the SEM may be held in tax advantaged Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) and Personal Equity Plans (PEPs) by UK investors. Holders of debt securities satisfying the Eurobond exemption and listed on the Official Market of the SEM are exempted from withholding tax on distributions underlying these debt securities. Inheritance tax advantages may accrue to UK holders of securities listed on the Official Market of the SEM.

Wind of change blows world markets, African stock exchanges unruffled

I have the honour to be published on the opinions section of the Royal African Society website and the article can be seen along with their excellent blogs here. I also reprint the article, which is meant to spark debate, and I welcome your comments – is it time for change and what is the way forward?

“The wind of change” was Harold Macmillan’s famous 1960 phrase about Africans moving to political self-determination. Half a century later the world’s biggest securities exchanges are worrying who will survive a hurricane of globalization, technology and competition, but some of Africa’s capital markets still seem sheltered from the economic winds of change.
The giants of securities trading are slugging it out in a wave of mergers and acquisitions and London Stock Exchange (LSE) chief executive Xavier Rolet said: “In five years there will be three, four international exchange groups with global distribution capabilities”.
In the world of mega-bourses the LSE launched a £4.3 billion merger with Canada’s TMX Group of exchanges but a “Maple consortium” of Canadian financial institutions has launched a hostile bid, seeking to block the marriage. New York’s NYSE Euronext and Germany’s Deutsche Börse want a $9.5 bn union, but US stock exchange NASDAQ and its partner IntercontinentalExchange are offering $11.3 bn to snatch the New York bride. NASDAQ is reportedly worth $5.7 bn and worried it may become a takeover target if it stays single. Many other leading exchanges are busy with strategic transactions.
Africa however has not seen much change at least in the last decade. Some of Africa’s stock exchanges are making a few operational changes, but structural transformation is not on the agenda. The continent has a couple of world-class stock exchanges – in 2010 South Africa was rated the world’s best-regulated capital market – and three or four better exchanges with enough liquidity for international and big local institutional investors. The rest of the continent features a small regional exchange and more than 15 national stock exchanges where activity could drop to a few deals a day and liquidity is too small for the market to work efficiently or provide scope for minimum transactions for international investors. Some don’t even open their doors every working day.
Stock exchanges and securities markets evolved worldwide as the most efficient way to channel capital from savers to entrepreneurs, governments and others who can use it most productively, i.e. profitably. Savers with capital are more than eager to invest billions of dollars into Africa, dubbed the “final growth frontier” for its vast opportunities and favourable pricing. Meanwhile in Africa, entrepreneurs and governments are calling for billions in capital to build roads, rail, power, water and telecommunications/IT infrastructure up and down the continent and to transform farmlands, build industries and hopefully improve livelihoods sustainably through business.
Nationalist politics and comfort zones are among the factors holding back African securities exchanges, which have traditionally been seen as national institutions. Sovereignty has been more highly prized than liquidity and efficiency. In 2009 South Africa’s JSE Ltd sought to acquire a stake in the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) after two years of talks, but regulators blocked it. Nationalism about stock exchanges is not just an African concern, it is currently in the news in Canada and Australia.However, now technology is available to transform exchanges without losing national regulation or denting pride.
Some African exchanges are improving their own operations fast. The two NSEs – the Nigerian and Nairobi stock exchanges – have taken stern measures to improve governance, regulation and transparency. In Nigeria this included a morning in August 2010 with armed police on the Lagos trading floor after regulators fired the Director-General. Other exchanges such as Mauritius Stock Exchange (SEM) are noted for continuous improvements and innovation. However, only the Egyptian Exchange, the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and SEM have attained the exalted membership of the World Federation of Exchanges.
In some countries trading in debt is improving faster than equity markets. Kenya’s NSE launched effective automated bond trading, backed by much improved settlement, and trading volumes and liquidity are soaring. The Government is responding with a deft series of issues that balance the domestic market and stretch it with long-dated 25- and 30-year bonds. Better maturity in the national fixed-income market enables lenders to offer locals long-term housing and other finance with paybacks over decades rather than a few years. Electricity company Kengen, telecoms operator Safaricom and others have raised hundreds of millions of dollars through bond issues, many aimed only at local savers. The overall effect on the economy is likely to be huge.
But change is coming slow to some African exchanges where liquidity is too small and action too slow. International investors complain that many don’t have enough trading to accommodate the minimum buy or sell amounts required and they lament the quality of market and business information and transparency. Coupled with the operational problems and uncertainties that dog local and international businessmen in many African countries, some are still “off the map” for investment.
London, New York and other international stock exchanges benefit if companies and bond issuers seek listings and cross-listings internationally in order to get closer to investors and sources of capital and because efficient marketplaces make their capital raisings more attractive to investors. London has a tradition as the world’s capital marketplace and the LSE’s Main Market lists 18 equities for trading that focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1995 the exchange created the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) as an international marketplace for smaller, growing companies seeking growth capital, including early-stage and venture-capital, as well as more established companies. Sub-Saharan Africa scores 55 out of 3,000 listings, mostly mining firms, but also farming, finance and machinery.
NYSE Euronext Inc says trading in 16 African equities listed on its New York and European stock exchanges has boomed. Stefan Jekel, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, says main activity stems from South Africa but interest in Africa is growing: “The volume (number of shares) traded has increased by factor of 12 over the last ten years to 7.9m shares, and the value is up by a factor of 21 times to $204m per day”.
London is to the fore when it comes to international Eurobond issues as African countries rush to issue sovereign debt and benefit while world interest rates are rock-bottom. Interest is also growing in African derivatives such as Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) available on London, New York and other international markets and one or two African markets. NYSE says the number doubled in 2009 to ten ETFs, six in Europe and four in New York, and they have over $1bn in assets.
It is an historic opportunity for Africa’s capital market structures. However much national exchanges improve, they need radical restructuring to create liquid and more efficient markets or they will be blown off the map by the winds of change.
Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) and many others transformed the continent driven by their vision of a mighty Africa that grew strong by unshackling the borders that colonial powers had drawn on maps. The African Union is founded to achieve regional and economic integration for Africa to take its rightful place in the world. Capital markets have an opportunity in that technology and proven models exist for African stock exchanges to pool trading while still maintaining national exchanges and regulation and being adaptable to meet local requirements.
Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association and CEO of SEM said in November 2010 that world investors see the continent as “a very promising investment destination with tremendous present and future growth potential”. African countries have achieved growth rates exceeding 5% in recent years after embracing fundamental structural reform programmes. The growth is set to continue but it must be fuelled with capital, skills and improvements in the investment and business climate.
African capital markets have an opportunity and a challenge.

Tom Minney is a consultant, speaker, financial journalist and editor of the blog www.africancapitalmarketsnews.com

Giant growth foreseen for African stock exchanges over 10 years

LIVE FROM SECURITIES AFRICA CONFERENCE (BNY Mellon, London)
African exchanges could grow dramatically in both market capitalization and turnover, following the explosive trends already charted by the Indian and Chinese markets. This was the view of Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA – www.africansea.org), speaking at an African investment conference organized by stockbroker Securities Africa (www.securitiesafrica.com) in London today (14 March).
According to his projections, by 2020 leading African exchanges including Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Botswana and Mauritius could see giant growth. He says that based on an assumption of economic growth (GDP) of 5% a year and if African markets continue to follow trends seen elsewhere in terms of their share their economies (GDP) then both turnover (the value of shares traded) and market capitalization (the value of the shares listed on the exchange for trading) could increase many times during the coming decade. Already in the last 10 years Kenya has seen its market capitalization grow 12x, while the market capitalization of the Mauritian market has risen from 30% to 80% of GDP even as the economy has also grown by 5% a year. This has also been seen in other markets, for instance in China where turnover has risen 5x to $2.7 trillion and India where turnover is up from $148 bn to $1.6 trn. African markets could achieve similar growth in the coming years.
Sunil dubs his continent “the final growth frontier of the world” and says it is attracting a lot of interest, despite a slowdown this year due to political upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire. As global economic power shifts to China and India, demand for commodities will continue to soar in order to support their growth, and this will continue to boost African economies. In addition, many countries have successfully introduced structural adjustment programmes. There has been huge growth in many African countries and a new and numerous middle class is emerging, likely to push consumption at 10% a year for coming years.
Investors deterred by “anaemic” growth in developed markets are turning to Africa. Despite the prospects, African markets are currently trading at less than 11x trailing Price-Earnings ratio (a measure of valuing a share price compared to last year’s net profits), compared to a trailing PE ratio of 16x in developed markets. This is despite developed markets only growing by 0%-0.5% a year, compared with African growth forecast at least at 5% in most major markets, and more in many countries. Despite delivering double-digit returns and providing some of the world’s top performing markets, even after factoring in risk perceptions “African markets are much cheaper”, says Sunil.
Challenges for macro-economic policy-makers include more improvements in the business climate including further opening of markets, inclusive growth that spreads the benefits to a middle class who will in turn spur consumption and bring large numbers of the population into the forefront of the growth story. He also said the continent needs good, democratic governance, as indicated in North African countries which had been deemed to be success stories until governance problems came to the fore. There also needs to be substantial investment in infrastructure, including roads, railways and airports to link African markets. However, Afridan capital markets could supply the investment funds for this, provided policy-makers understand and actively support the development of security exchanges.
Exchanges also have to play their part. He says they should focus on “the 4Ps: products, players, participants and partnerships”. The markets need new products, they need new players including dramatic increases in the proportion of the local population who trade on capital markets and activity levels by international investors. Top companies – for instance oil companies in Nigeria – may not even be listed and there is plenty of potential to put leading companies onto the radar screen of the international investors. African stock exchanges also need to seek new partnerships with each other. Links between markets in East and Southern Africa are advancing.

How the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA) aims to shape the future of African capital markets:
1. Emerge as the organization of reference and choice for investors to obtain first-hand information on African stock markets, increase the visibility of the African markets
2. Revamp the website to give up-to-date information to investors who want to understand the performance of African markets and to become a major source of real-time information, including the changes exchanges are going through.
3. ASEA will work a major index provider to come up with an investigate African index that will be jointly owned and should serve 2 key functions: as a benchmark for investors and to be used as reference for the creation of an African Exchange-Traded Fund. It will track ASEA’s 22 member exchanges, although have not yet decided the weighting of the JSE.
4. ASEA should become mouthpiece of African exchanges with African governments and regional organizations as well as the African Union, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

New multi-asset exchange opens in Mauritius

A new multi-asset exchange The Global Board of Trade Ltd. (www.gbot.mu) started trading operations in Mauritius on 18 October. It is owned by Financial Technologies (www.ftindia.com) an Indian company which operates exchanges.
GBOT is an international multi-asset exchange based in Mauritius, offering an electronic exchange platform with efficient clearing and settlement systems to ensure counterparty guarantee for all trades. It trades commodity and currency derivative products including precious and base metals, energy, “soft” agricultural commodities, as well as currency derivatives starting with six currencies on its electronic exchange platform.
It hopes to expand to more African currencies and other products. GBOT chairman, Mr Venkat Chary, was reported as saying: “We are going to begin small and then expand the array of commodities.” Local media says GBOT cost $50 million to establish.
GBOT is regulated by Financial Services Commission (FSC). Mauritius is a strategic location at the crossroads of Africa and Asia and offers a way for global investors to access many of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The new exchange is in Ebène, 25 km south of the capital Port-Louis.
The Financial Technologies Group describes itself as a global leader in setting up and operating tech-centric next-generation exchanges in emerging but fast-growing economies from Africa to Asia and Middle East to South-East Asia. The Group operates one of the largest exchange networks comprising 10 exchanges and 6 ecosystem ventures which address upstream and downstream opportunities around exchanges, including clearing, depository, information vending, and payment gateway among others.
FT on 31 August opened trading on its Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX –www.smx.com.sg) and it aims to launch the Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX) shortly. According to the Financial Times newspaper, the SMX cost US$55 million to open.
Navin Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius, launched GBOT on 15 Oct and said it established in the country as a strategic business and financial gateway between Asia and Africa, according to local news reports. He added that it would add depth to the domestic financial markets and bring new dimensions to financial services systems by providing knowledge, technology and business know-how.
Media reports cited Jignesh Shah, the vice chairman GBOT and chairman of the Financial Technologies Group: “The launch of GBOT will be a landmark development in redefining Africa’s commodity and currency derivatives landscape. Our new exchange will be instrumental in unifying the fragmented African financial markets and in bringing the world to Africa and the African potential to the world and to its own people.” The exchange will help commodity dealers and investors and could fit into regional arrangements such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
According to reports, GBOT’s managing director and CEO, Mr Joseph Bosco, said the exchange would start with 12 brokers, and would also be looking at opportunities in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Egypt. It lists “members and partners” including State Bank of India (Mauritius) Ltd., Bank One, Arab Global, One Financial, Afrasia Bank, Mauritius Commercial Bank, Banque des Mascareignes, Barclays Bank and Bramer Banking Corporation and global media corporations Bloomberg and Thompson Reuters.

Singapore exchanges:
Singapore also has Singapore Exchange Ltd (www.sgx.com) in expansionary mood with ambitions in Australia and Europe, and Singapore Commodity Exchange (www.sicom.net). Singapore is battling Hong Kong to be trading centre for Asia. Bloomberg newsagency reported on 15 Oct that the Asia-Pacific (with 38% share of the world total in the half year to June) has overtaken North America (33%) as the world’s biggest derivatives market amid increasing demand for futures and options contracts in the region’s fast-growing economies.
The new SMX, owned by GBOT parent FT, initially offers trading in 4 products: a gold futures contract with physical delivery, West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil contracts, and a euro-US dollar futures contract. SMX Chief Executive Thomas McMahon was reported as saying the SMX was also planning for a big shift in trading of over-the-counter derivatives products.

Reuters covers new Global Board of Trade exchange

Thomson Reuters (thomsonreuters.com), a leading source of trading information, is providing real-time prices and data from the Global Board of Trade (www.gbot.mu) a multi-asset class exchange based out of Mauritius. The agreement for this was announced following the official opening of the Global Board of Trade exchange on 15 October. GBOT “offers a range of commodity derivative products including metals, energy, agri-soft and currency derivative products.”
Finance professionals using Thomson Reuters Eikon or Thomson Reuters 3000 Xtra desktops will be able to access real-time data from GBOT for gold and silver contracts and five currency futures: EUR/USD, GBP/USD, JPY/USD, ZAR/USD and USD/MUR. The data includes bid and ask prices, volumes, latest trades and related information and news on the commodities and currencies.
Russell Haworth, Managing Director of Middle East & Africa, Thomson Reuters, commented in a press release: “Thomson Reuters is proud to be a part of this historic moment for the Global Board of Trade and welcomes the agreement which will help bring the data from this new multi-asset-class exchange to the rest of the world. Mauritius is well positioned to become a hub for trading in the continent.
“Thomson Reuters is encouraged by the growth prospects for Africa and the increasing demand for information and insight into this vibrant market. We are committed to helping their financial markets further develop and prosper.”
Joseph Bosco, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of GBOT commented: “Having Thomson Reuters on board to disseminate real-time data from GBOT to its global network is a very significant development for us. As an international multi-asset exchange from Mauritius, we will ensure global investors get access to the fastest growing economies of Africa. We will definitely benefit from the wide reach and network of Thomson Reuters. We are proud to associate with a reputed information services provider like Thomson Reuters and look forward to working together to create mutually beneficial opportunities”.
GBOT is the latest African exchange to be added to Thomson Reuters real-time data offerings, and follows the recent starts of real-time data offerings from the Lusaka, Nairobi, Nigerian and Ghana stock exchanges.

Mauritius introduces new instruments and lists funds as traders get active

Sunil Benimadhu, Chief Executive Officer of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius:
The Mauritius market lost 50% in, as investors worried about the fallout of the global financial crisis, but then they realized our companies were not so badly affected, from March to December we had one of the best rebounds in 20 years, with an 80% gain. We have come back with a vengeance. Our economy was helped by swift reactions from our authorities including easing policies. We have had a volatile time, but it has also meant a shift to much more trading on the SEM.
Our exchange is trying to develop the “3 Ps” of exchanges – products, players and participants. We anticipate the players into African markets will only increase, as they realize that expected returns in the US and Europe are only 1% or 2% and need to get positive alpha. Beyond equity, we are trying to develop an active second market in debt instruments, and we are trying to move up the value chain and introduce derivatives, including an index derivative of the 7 most liquid stocks.
In the past Mauritius has been a base for funds investing into India and China, and we have traditionally been a business gateway between Africa and the East, whether for foreign direct investment or others. We are now changing our listing rules to allow more funds to list, including the global business sector,
We have already changed our rules to allow shorting on the Stock Exchange, including rules for stock borrowing. Institutions are realizing they can make money from their stocks and we are seeing more liquidity as people are able to trade more.

COSSE’s hub and spoke model

Sunil Benimadhu, Chief Executive Officer of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius:
We have had lots of discussion on how to link different markets. Lots of work has been done from a technical standpoint. We will keep national exchanges as they stand and enable their members to reach the members of different exchanges. Technically it is possible, now we need to raise the financing and also to be clear that the investment will need to make sense in terms of flows from increased traffic.
In order to get more liquidity, we need to increase the free float, currently many companies have requirement of 20% free float but even that may not be available for trading, for instance controlling shareholder may still sit on a big shareholding and keep it from trading.

Multi-Asset exchange for Africa?

An exchange that will be able to trade a basket of commodity and currencies derivatives for trading on its platform and could later add trading in debt and equity products is to start trading in Mauritius in March, according to an interview on Reuters.
The Global Board Of Trade Ltd. exchange (www.gbot.mu) was due to open this month, but is still waiting to build critical mass of brokers, aiming for 25-30.
In an interview, Joseph Bosco, the COO of GBOT, told Reuters that the regulators in Mauritius are processing four broker licences and anticipate another 12 in the pipeline. Trading is electronic and members can be anywhere in the globe, according to the website.
The main promoter is Financial Technologies (www.ftindia.com) company from India, listed on the National and Bombay Stock Exchanges.
Bosco says the market will help African firms and companies investing across Africa to hedge their risks in a continent which has experienced volatility. He says it will be a “multi-asset exchange that will be a gateway for Africa to the rest of the world”> According to the GBOT website, it is “strategically located at the crossroads of Africa and Asia” and “offers an ideal platform for global investors to access many of the world’s fastest growing economies… GBOT endeavours to introduce modern market mechanisms into Africa’s financial market ecosystem and to serve as a platform of choice for the global investing community.”
GBOT is licensed by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the Regulator for non-bank financial services sector in Mauritius, for derivatives trading in commodities and currencies.
Bosco reportedly told Reuters that they intended to start with six dollar-based currency pairs – including Mauritius rupee, euro, yen and sterling – and are now adding the Kenyan and Ugandan shillings. The report says the exchange will trade in 14 commodities, including precious metals, base metals and agricultural commodities.
It expects to trade futures contracts in zinc, copper, aluminium, nickel, gold, silver, platinum, coffee, sugar and maize as well as crude oil and carbon credits. It looks to add options contracts in future.
Kenya was an example of price volatility in its currency and stock prices, including after disputed elections in 2007. Bosco said: “We are giving them risk containment mechanisms; we are helping them to hedge themselves against uncertainty or unforeseen circumstances”.