Ready for action

Valdene Reddy was recently appointed the JSE’s Director of Capital Markets. She describes the value and importance of the division, and the impact the bourse has had on her

Ready for action

Q: What was your previous position at the JSE, and how did it prepare you for your new role?
A: Before joining the JSE, I worked at two international sell-side firms, in equities and equity derivatives. This was a market I thrived in and that provided me with a daily job that I passionately enjoyed – largely working on a trading desk and serving clients.

Four-and-a-half years ago I joined the JSE for the potential, opportunity and impact it enables, as Head of Equities and Derivatives. This position appealed to me, as it gave me the ability to leverage the experience I had previously gained in the market, and it also presented me with an expansionary role to grow within capital markets. I believe that this equipped me to understand and integrate within the JSE ecosystem and organisation, to solidify and deepen my engagements with stakeholders, and it provided me with the ability to build and develop SA capital markets across diverse products.

With the latest appointment I’ve been catapulted to further expand my breadth of knowledge and develop internal and external relationships. I enthusiastically contribute and grow in my roles at the JSE, because I’m constantly motivated by the fascinating and ever-evolving environment in which we operate. It spurs innovation and collaboration, and inspires my ambition to do more for capital markets and our country.

Q: What are the most important deliverables in this position?
A: Internally it comes down to leading a division that is motivated to innovate and grow as markets and services change. To achieve meaningful deliverables means the team with which I work needs to share and buy into the purpose and direction of the JSE. Given that the Capital Markets division is of paramount importance to grow and build markets collaboratively, responsibly and with accountability, I am driven to intimately understand each core area and apply a holistic and synergistic growth strategy for the JSE to deliver scale and value in the organisation’s growth, client services and offerings.

Q: Do you intend to introduce any new processes or technology?
A: The JSE is as much a tech company as a financial services infrastructure. Within Capital Markets, a core function is to grow and build those with new products and functionality – all of which are underpinned by technology.

There is another role that technology plays, in that aspects of empowerment and knowledge-sharing are, in my opinion, imperative to foster development and diversity. This fuels the need to review efficiencies and improvements in the way we work and how our processes play out. If new technology can improve or better enable us to respond, it must always be considered and, where possible, applied.

Q: How interactive is your role, and how agile do you have to be in such engagement?A: Very interactive. The division encompasses primary and secondary markets across varied asset classes, as well as issuer services. Given the diverse nature of each of these areas, you have to be agile enough to provoke optimal outcomes and adapt to the needs for each circumstance by carefully managing value and priority for all stakeholders – internal and external. Adaptability, therefore, is a necessity, as is the need for constant engagement.

Q: How will you be supporting change in the markets, in the wake of the most recent financial challenges?
A: Leadership and change in challenging markets warrant careful and thoughtful direction. It’s the hardest environment to lead in, but that’s what makes it most rewarding because only collaborative strength delivers. The country has its own wake of considerations to navigate through, which we support. But these challenges require a firm vision aligned with optimistic purpose so that we can advance meaningful delivery. That’s what I would like to support in the markets.

Q: Does this new position respond to your personal goals?
A: Yes. I knew from day one in my career that my passion lay in financial markets and, within that, building solutions for growing markets. I also saw myself doing this with similarly thinking clients and colleagues. The growth and opportunity that I have experienced to date is both humbling and exciting. I am inspired that my passion can be deepened into motivating for greater market value, which can only be facilitated through an entity such as the JSE. My personal goals are also forward-looking to ensure that whatever I do, I am always challenged, learning and contributing – and this new position definitely stretches each of these facets in this new phase of my career.

Q: What do you consider your most valuable attributes and your leadership style? And how are these advantageous for JSE?
A: I am always hungry for knowledge and feel strongly that individuals must share the knowledge they gain in their own journeys. I have always practised this; it is an attribute that manifests a contagion effect ultimately to empower and develop others. In so doing, a symbiotic relationship emerges because an organisation becomes stronger as a whole.
I am also aware that my ethic of working with others and building trustworthy relationships is equally symbiotic with the JSE’s objective to partner and collaborate with its diverse stakeholders. Constructive communication is a big part of this, and it must be highlighted that it is a valuable attribute when navigating complex decisions.

By Kerry Dimmer