From the CEO

The year 2023 truly embodied the African proverb, ‘smooth seas do not make skilful sailors’

From the CEO

Our markets navigated a number of macro-economic and geopolitical tempests, which gave rise to elevated inflation, higher interest rates and pressure on investor sentiment. The FTSE/JSE All Share Index ended the year up a resilient 5.3%, despite a challenging 12 months for one of our major sectors, resources (down 18.7%).

We have worked to align our strategy with the evolving needs of market participants to ensure our market offers a diverse range of products and services through market peaks and troughs. We have remained focused on strategically navigating complex times while laying the groundwork for future expansion and collaboration, for investors and the broader economy. After 136 years, we know what it takes to stand the test of market cycles.

One of our achievements in 2023 that marked another stride towards creating an enabling listing environment was the expansion of our secondary listings framework to include companies from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX). This pioneering move in a high-growth region streamlines the listing process across our two markets. HKEX now joins an esteemed group of global exchanges recognised for the fast-track process, including the London Stock Exchange, Australian Securities Exchange, New York Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange and the Singapore Exchange.

Also in the regulatory space, our Listings Requirements Simplification project marked another step forward. By simplifying the listing requirements, we aim to foster a more enabling environment for both local and international listings, thereby growing the market. This initiative, expected to unfold over the next 12 to 18 months, will ensure our listings requirements are not just comprehensible but also fit for purpose.

We also successfully held the 10th annual South Africa Tomorrow investment conference in New York, co-hosted with Old Mutual, UBS and Standard Bank. The conference generated a confluence of perspectives aimed at unpacking SA’s infrastructural constraints and exploring some exciting opportunities, featuring prominent speakers and panellists from the private and public sectors on various topics of interest to the US investor base. The improved interest of investors was palpable as they eagerly sought insights into the depth of government’s commitment to structural reforms, and explored burgeoning opportunities in an environment where risk appetites are gradually improving. Emphasising our deep and liquid capital markets, we reinforced SA’s position as the premier investment destination for international investors.

We came away from this 10th edition of the conference having demonstrated that our markets not only offer opportunities in SA’s own dynamic economy but also serve as a conduit to the wider, rapidly evolving economies across the African continent.

With each of our milestones, we are crafting a legacy of progress and partnership for our clients, investors and stakeholders. As we start the new year, it’s a time to reflect on our shared journey, the strides we’ve made together and to look ahead to new opportunities. I look forward to continuing our journey together into a promising new year.

Dr Leila Fourie
Group Chief Executive Officer