Standard Bank hosts first ICMA workshop in South Africa

Oct 17, 2016

The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (“Standard Bank”), Africa’s largest bank by assets, recently hosted Africa’s first International Capital Market Association (ICMA) workshop in Johannesburg.

“As a member of ICMA for a lengthy period, Standard Bank was delighted to host the first ICMA workshop on African soil,” says Monwabisi Zukani, Senior Legal Manager (Global Markets), at Standard Bank. The workshop, which focused on the repo market, was well attended, with representatives from across a wide range of institutions including South Africa’s National Treasury, Strate and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Says Richard Comotto, Senior Visiting Fellow for ICMA, who facilitated the workshop, “We are very excited by the future potential of Africa’s capital markets, the insights shared during our sessions at the workshop serve to underline how valuable ICMA’s global experience of transaction management and legislation will be in an African context.” 

ICMA is a membership association promoting resilient and well-functioning international capital markets in the interests of driving inclusive global growth. ICMA members include: issuers, intermediaries, investors and capital market infrastructure providers. ICMA has over 500 members located in approximately 60 countries worldwide.

The great value of ICMA, especially for Africa, lies in the active role that it plays in educating financial intermediaries. “ICMA workshops, conducted by industry experts, enhance the framework of cross border issuing, trading and investing in debt instruments, by developing and disseminating internationally accepted standards of market practice along with industry guidelines, rules, recommendations and standard documentation,” says Mr Zukani. 

ICMA has an established African chapter, with Mr Zukani as chairman. Selecting Standard Bank to head Africa’s chapter of ICMA is reflective of the bank’s wide African footprint and access to so many of the continent’s financial intermediaries

There are a number of initiatives which Standard Bank hosts each year that provide ideal platforms to introduce the work of ICMA to the industry across the continent,” says Mr Zukani. “This will help align African documentation with the rest of the world, making transactions easier, faster and safer while deepening African capital markets.”

Currently Africa’s repo market, for example, is horizontal operating exclusively between banks. “By educating and equipping more financial intermediaries with the training and globally accepted documentation to manage repo transactions, we can develop a broader repo market on the continent - with many more participants,” he says.

As in the rest of the world, ICMA in Africa will seek to bring all segments of the industry together, both the buy side and sell side, while encouraging dialogue between the industry and authorities - including governments, regulators and central banks.

Standard Bank’s presence in 20 markets across the continent and established relationships with African legislators offers ICMA the potential to transform the continent’s transaction landscape.

The African chapter of ICMA also has the potential to guide African central banks and regulators in the development of globally compliant transaction practice across the continent. Currently only Mauritius and South Africa, for example, have positive regulatory frameworks when it comes to netting (from an insolvency perspective) of trades. As other jurisdictions seek to align their legislation with global best practice, “ICMA is, literally, only a phone call away – offering a wealth of knowledge, documentation, expertise and guidance,” says Mr Zukani.

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