That has led to eight listings so far, with Sanlam’s April 16 debut followed this week by Ascendis Health, the first health company to join the bourse.

While that brings the combined market value of its companies to about R220bn, A2X has more to do to win over company boards, who must approve the listings, and investors.

The startup exchange needs to “get the big names, and international names and all of the brokers”, says Bradley Preston, a money manager at Cape Town-based Mergence Investment Managers.

A winning outcome is one that “solves the operational issues” and allows investors to “seamlessly trade on both exchanges”, he says.

The benefits of increased competition for the JSE are already starting to show, with JSE Ltd reducing some of its fees since A2X’s arrival, Brady says.

Still, it’s a formidable task to convince companies and traders to look beyond a bourse that ranks among the 20 largest in the world.

Volume in Sanlam stock on the JSE reached 8.5-million shares Wednesday, while 1,000 shares in the insurer changed hands on A2X on May 28, the last time the stock was traded there, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It will be quite a while before you see lots of the major players moving to another exchange — that’s still a couple of years away,” says Michael Treherne, a money manager at Vestact in Johannesburg.


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