Support Base

Zanele Morrison, recently appointed JSE Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, on building the exchange’s accessibility

Support Base

Q: What is your top priority for the division?
A: I am focused on creating a marketing and corporate affairs function that supports the JSE as a convener of markets, and strengthening its position – not just to existing issuers but to future listed companies, and the individuals who will be participating in the markets.

I’m fortunate to have joined at a time when the role of the JSE is a strong focal point, and I see the department continuing to work hard in support of the JSE in creating the right narrative and conversations about the contribution that the JSE makes to our economy – elevating the role we play in the market, particularly as a driver of foreign direct investment into the country and a platform for creating growth and opportunity for our listed companies. My personal challenge is to ensure we present as an accessible business and that we fully understand the expectations of all our stakeholders so that all can achieve economic freedom and contribute to the country’s growth.

Q: What is your internal mandate?
A: Internally, the JSE boasts incredible employees and has a competitive value proposition. The JSE has a unique internal culture, over and above which we are aiming to add more excitement and energy about working in a diverse and inclusive environment. Women are at the core of the JSE; it is female led and women comprise 60% of its exco. I want that to come through for the employees.

I am really passionate about them feeling they are engaged, so we need to be more innovative in how we encourage our employees to continuously grow in a vuca [volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous] world. We heed what employees have to say – be that through our engagement surveys or just by listening – and then making the improvements that drive our business forward and ensure an engaged and happy workforce.

Q: What is your strategy for external marketing?
A: The JSE has done an amazing job for its listed companies, especially in establishing a credible and consistent market within which everyone is able to operate. We will be building on the JSE’s accessibility by being transparent, responsive to expectations and educative in terms of scope of responsibilities. We are open to stakeholder needs and actively engage with them to understand where loopholes exist, so that we can stretch to the limits of protecting market players. This is not a static campaign, it constantly evolves with the market.

Q: …And the regulatory environment?
A: We will continue to collaborate with parastatals and government institutions by determining their expectations and becoming a strong partner in solving the country’s economic challenges. The economy has an impact on us all and the regulatory environment influences how the JSE operates, so we will ensure we understand what we can do better and continuously assess our role within the frameworks of the regulatory system.

Q: How will you balance the comprehensive portfolio you are responsible for?

A: The current market is exceptionally busy so we need to respond and position the JSE as having solutions. It’s been a roller coaster of a year, not only with my coming on board but with stretching my team to the next level of delivery in response to market conditions and shareholder requirements.There are challenges that come with this, not least of which is how we engage with the media. We will be working towards inclusivity of the media as part of our strong ecosystem.

The media works in the best interests of the public so we need to ensure that we shape our communications to demonstrate that everyone is key to our operations and effectiveness, so that together we can present holistic solutions about how we respond to challenges. We will not be taking short-term actions. Instead we are looking to create opportunities and platforms for continuous engagement, with a rolling effect of improvements as we progress.

Q: What opportunities will you explore?
A: The biggest is that of the retail space; to create access to knowledge and information so that investors can really plug into their investments. Those who have bought shares from schemes need to understand exactly what the value of those shares are so they can grow their investments and tap into the benefits from JSE innovations. We will be articulating this strongly in coming months.

Q: How will technology be used in your marketing campaigns?
A: Technology can be used to give us a single view of all our marketing-campaign efforts. For instance, there are multiple communication channels through which clients and the general public interact with the JSE. Technology can also be used as a tool to reach people who have not necessarily been interested in using the JSE venue for their functions, to become aware, through geo-targeted advertising.

We are currently refreshing the JSE website to become interactive, within a seamless application. We want it to be easy for investors to navigate the portal, enabling us to become even closer to our stakeholders through accessibility. This portal is critical to our operations because we are focused on providing access to education and learning. The website is therefore key in supporting the other JSE services on offer, including event hosting.

Q: How will you drive success?
A: I am results-driven. The team and I are striving for big results and short-term wins as we go along. We are aligned and constantly collaborate to ensure we take an agile approach to how we deliver results for the business, including showcasing all the JSE’s other efforts, such as training for our listed companies, CSI and transformation. We must clearly communicate how we provide opportunities and make an impact in driving financial literacy for South Africans, first, and for the man on the street to invest and create better futures for their families. We will not take our foot off the pedal.

By Kerry Dimmer