By Gugu Lourie
The Financial Services Board has issued a notice of application for exchange licence in terms in Section 7 of the financial markets Act, 2012 and identified ZAR X as an applicant.
“In terms of section 7(4)(b)(iii) of the FMA all interested persons who have objections to the application are hereby called upon to lodge their objections with the Registrar of Securities Services, on or before 3 August 2015,” the FSB said in a statement.
The proposed exchange listings requirements and rules may be inspected by members of the public on the website of the applicant, namely; www.zarx.co.za and at the offices of auditors; Nkonki Inc.
ZAR X is a new company, incorporated specifically for the purpose of submitting an application to the FSB for a stock exchange licence, according to the firm’s website.
The firm plans to compete with the JSE, which was formed in 1887 during the first South African gold rush. Following the first legislation covering financial markets in 1947, the JSE joined the World Federation of Exchanges in 1963 and upgraded to an electronic trading system in the early 1990s. The bourse demutualised and listed on its own exchange in 2005.
South Africa has mature capital markets that serve the domestic economy and the wider continent. The JSE is currently ranked the 19th largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation and the largest exchange in the African continent.
The company defines itself as a “low-cost, simple and convenient trading platform that empowers ordinary South Africans with shareholdership opportunities”.
It is led by Etienne Nel, who has a career spanning almost 20 years in stock broking, pioneered the ‘restricted Over-the-Counter market’ in SA after leaving BJM (now FNB Securities. Geoff Cook, a former group head of compliance at Investec, who has extensive experience in dealing with the legal complexities in financial markets globally having worked for the regulatory authority in the UK as well a number of global investments banks. Graeme Wellsted, who has a 20-year carreer as a legal expert in financial services and has been involved with developing and listing of complex financial instruments having worked at Momentum and Investec.
ZAR X claims that it is a platform that lets everyday South Africans transact shares quickly, cheaply and conveniently, even if they have never formally invested money or opened a bank account before.
“The platform is designed to empower those who don’t have skills or experience in investing, to easily and safely build a brighter financial future for themselves and their families,” it said on its website. “The platform also gives business enterprises a flexible, transparent and affordable way to list their restricted or limited share offerings, so that ordinary South Africans can take advantage of them.”
By connecting South Africans with restricted share listings, ZAR X said: “It helps them to secure investment opportunities today, and enjoy financial security tomorrow”.