In the world of trading and investing, there is one thing that is key – fast access to data and information.

Recognising the power of technology to support and assist issuers, member firms and investors has enabled the JSE to be at the forefront of ICT change for many years, and this has contributed to our success and positioning as the most prominent exchange in Africa and the 19th largest in the world.

We have been a pioneer in technology platform usage and we run one of the world’s most powerful trading systems, the Millennium system. This has facilitated state-of-the-art trading functionality and order types, and has encouraged even stronger growth in trading volumes on our exchange. We are consistently upgrading that system to ensure that it remains at the pinnacle of client trading strategies and the needs of the market.

For example, we are moving to a T+3 settlement period, which has been greatly enabled by our technology platforms, as well as an upgrade of Millennium later this year. We are also engaged in a significant long-term project to upgrade both our trading and clearing systems by way of a project known as ITaC (Integrated Trading and Clearing). Through that project, all of our derivatives markets will move from the current separate system to the Millennium platform, which will provide numerous benefits to market participants such as consistent latency, wider flexibility in trading functionality and a single instance of trading technology delivery from the JSE.

We are installing Cinnober for our clearing activity, another world-class system that will position us at the forefront of global technology platforms.

History has shown that investment and technological change has a direct impact on value and volumes traded.

As capital markets in Africa develop and expand, market participants will increasingly demand quicker access to better market data and information. This is a prime example of the value that organised exchanges can bring by establishing methods to communicate company information, trading data, market prices and other information of value to investors.

Nowhere is this more promising than here in Africa, where our markets are mostly small and fragmented, and where investors have lacked reliable data in the past. Given Africa’s penchant to leapfrog technology developments, we expect this to be a significant area of growth across the continent and one where exchanges can partner together and with other firms to disseminate information in a larger and faster way.

To this end, we are engaged at many different levels with other African countries on market-development initiatives that involve technology. One of these is the Africa Linkages project, sponsored by the ASEA, that seeks to link the four largest African markets together through the use of technological order routing. We also support individual exchanges such as Namibia by providing the technology platform for them.

Technology has also changed the manner in which retail investors are able to trade, through online platforms provided by banks, financial service providers and brokers. The JSE encourages this and has been deeply engaged with broad market initiatives to promote market access to individual investors. That is why we were actively involved in and greatly support the tax-free savings accounts. ICT has also been instrumental in helping ordinary South Africans become more financially literate. We run many initiatives in this regard, ranging from outreach programmes to teaching individuals about the power of savings and the investment alternatives that exist. We use technology for trading simulation challenges for students and even have a module on our website that allows people to simulate trading and investing.

We believe that all South Africans have the right to be financially literate and to understand both the risks and rewards of investing. Technology is a great enabler of this, and we will continue to invest in and use ICT to enhance access to the JSE for all investors.

Donna Nemer
Director: Capital Markets

July 2016
Illustration: Jenna-Lee Jacobs