From the CEO

From the CEO

Last year rushed by with more than its usual dose of national events to test our resilience and sense of humour, but we should look forward to 2019 as a new era and platform on which to build on the ideals and sentiments expressed in the Jobs Summit and in the Investment Summit.

There is, of course, a long road ahead to dismantle the deep scars of state capture and build the momentum necessary to achieve inclusive growth, but it is refreshing to hear more voices recognising that our country is in a far healthier position than it was 18 months ago. Amid the political noise that will increase closer to the contestation of the general elections, the future of our country will rest on the roles played not just by government but also by civil society and business.

It is important for government to make the tough calls around fiscal prudence and discipline; to make clear decisions on the recapitalisation and structure of key state-owed enterprises and provide policy clarity, specifically around those initiatives that government wants to target as critical in building fast traction on inclusive growth. Failure to do so will put our already stressed sovereign rating under more pressure and risk the uncomfortable involvement of the IMF. Business needs to avoid the temptation to wait for government to create ideal conditions for investment or growth. As we saw even in 2018, there are numerous opportunities for business to invest and indeed even to partner with government in delivering inclusive growth. While doing so, one of the key insights of 2018 is the need to partner in a manner that is completely beyond reproach – something I know boards across the country have taken to heart.

But there is much that ordinary South Africans too can do to build the type of thriving, inclusive society we wish to live in. That will not happen if all we do is moan in our usual social and work circles. Instead, I suggest we need to engage, roll up our sleeves and commit to adding constructively to the national agenda. As we look towards 2019, we are very clear about how the JSE will engage, where we are rolling up our sleeves and how we are adding to the national agenda. The JSE will be introducing some changes to our listings requirements following our consultation in 2018 regarding possible ways to respond to the noise around a number of issuers, which in our view eroded the high regard in which SA’s regulatory system is held.

We will be completing our large technology implementation, finally putting our equity and currency derivative markets on industrial-strength technology. This will enable our clients to access leading trading functionality for those markets. It will also allow us to provide additional risk management tools, allowing us to reduce the end-to-end cost of trading in those markets.

The JSE will also be focused on continuing to improve the cost and functionality in our equities market, which will in turn enable us to provide the best market quality for equity investors – something we believe positions us well in the face of increasing competition. We plan to explore a number of exciting opportunities to grow our business in a manner that makes it easier and more cost-effective for our clients to use our products and services. The bourse will also invest heavily in transforming the manner in which we develop and deliver our products and services, so that we are able to respond more quickly to our changing universe.

Further, the JSE will continue to work hard with key ministers, regulators and clients to position SA to local and foreign investors and ratings agencies. We expect that the pending elections will make some of these engagements more pointed than usual but that is exactly when the voices of committed South Africans need to be heard.

So, 2019 has much in store. The team at the JSE looks forward to being a constructive contributor, both in our own business area and also on matters closer to the national agenda. We look forward to walking this path with all our stakeholders.

Nicky Newton-King,
Chief Executive Officer
January 2019