African bourses must link-up to meet investors demand: JSE

Updated 08 December 2012
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African bourses must link-up to meet investors demand: JSE

JOHANNESBURG: Africa's stock markets must better collaborate to make the most of historic levels of investor interest in the continent, the head of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange told AFP yesterday.
"The appetite for Africa is very very high," said Nicky Newton-King, making the case for better links between the continent's 24 bourses as a means of propelling Africa's recent and dramatic economic rise.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts the aggregate economy of sub-Saharan Africa will grow at around 5.7 percent next year, presenting a massive economic opportunity of the type the region has too often squandered.
"I think everybody is trying to find their way, to participate meaningfully in that rising," said Newton-King, who took over at the continent's largest exchange in January this year.
"All of us who are privileged enough to run exchanges, need to figure out that these waves of investor appetite aren't yours by right. Once they come you have to be able to ride them properly."
"We should not be taking this as business as usual, this is a business opportunity."
According to Newton-King one way to ride the wave of interest would be to make it easier to invest across Africa's borders and to improve liquidity in small markets — making a big enough pool that assets can be bought and sold quickly.
To that end the JSE is looking to ink deals with two other bourses in the region.
But for now, those deal will focus on improving the continent's financial plumbing — allowing cross and dual listings and easier order-routing — rather than the creating one pan-African exchange.
"I think it is far more about collaboration," she said.
"Were we not to have any exchanges on the continent I think we would have wanted to create a single exchange that would service multiple jurisdictions out of one legal base."
"That's the most efficient way to do it, but I'm a bit of a realist."
"Once you try to do cross border mergers and acquisitions, you run into much more trenchant issues of a regulatory nature, all of which stem from 'how do we protect the local investor?', 'how do we make sure the local market grows?"
Newton-King insists that allowing Kenyans to invest in joint-listed South African stock in shillings, or by allowing South Africans to more easily place orders for Nigerian stock, markets would attract more foreign investors.
"Really big trades are not going to go to illiquid markets."
"The average days trade on the JSE is more than the average annual trade on Kenya and Mauritius put together. There are amazing companies in both of those countries."
Despite political concerns about the erosion on sovereignty that could come with more integrated markets, Newton-King says South Africa's own experience demonstrates the benefits.
"When Anglo-American cross listed in London, the amount of trades in Anglo-American increased. South Africa's percentage of trade in Anglo-American decreased, but the decreased percentage was worth more."
"In those cases you have to think quite bravely."


Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 26 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.