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Johannesburg Securities Exchange Print E-mail
The new Johannesburg Stock Exchange building in the heart of Sandton
The new Johannesburg Stock Exchange building in the heart of Sandton

THE Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) is the 16th largest in the world, and by far the largest of Africa's 22 stock exchanges. Market capitalisation at the end of December 2003 stood at R4 029-billion, up from R1 160-billion five years earlier. The JSE describes itself as the "engine room" of the South African economy, providing an orderly market for dealing in securities. Its main function is to facilitate the raising of primary capital by re-channelling cash resources into productive economic activity, and building the economy while enhancing job opportunities and wealth creation. The JSE also provides an effective price determination facility and price risk management mechanism.

The JSE is privately owned and funded, and governed by a Board of Directors. Its activities are licensed and regulated by two Acts of Parliament, namely the Stock Exchanges Control Act, 1 of 1985 ("SECA"), which governs the equities markets, and the Financial Markets Control Act, 55 of 1989 ("FMCA"), which governs the derivatives markets.

In keeping with international practice, the JSE also acts as regulator of its members and ensures that markets operate in a transparent manner, ensuring investor protection. Similarly, issuers of securities must comply with the JSE Listings Requirements, which aim to ensure sufficient disclosure of all information relevant to investors.

The JSE's roles include regulating applications for listing, and ensuring that listed companies continue to meet their obligations. The JSE monitors applications for alterations to existing listings, and scrutinises company disclosures to the public. The JSE also provides a Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) through which company news, including price-sensitive information, is distributed to the market.

The JSE has been bold in restructuring in the light of increasingly tough global competition, adopting new technologies and outsourcing aspects of its business. The key challenges the JSE faced were:

The worldwide consolidation of markets and infrastructure meant that emerging markets were finding it more and more difficult to stay relevant.

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