JSE must crack the whip to keep bond issuers in line

Business

JSE must crack the whip to keep bond issuers in line

The JSE has never taken any responsibility for any devious activities on listed company boards

Associate editor

In an age in which self-regulation has usually been a failure, the role of the JSE looks like an anachronism. After all, the exchange isn’t a not-for-profit industry cooperative like a law society or bar association, but a for-profit listed company. Even Warren Buffett says a stock exchange shouldn’t be in the business of making profits – it just needs enough fees to wash its face. As a listed company, the JSE needs to keep the trades in equities, bonds and derivatives pumping.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is becoming an ever more intrusive regulator of unit trusts and insurers, and is now responsible for the market conduct of banks, yet it is happy to leave the JSE to its own devices. A market by its definition is an amoral actor in the economy, there to grease the wheels of commerce.

Futuregrowth, as the largest private-sector investor in bonds, has not been happy that the governance of the bond market lags behind even the equity market. And equity markets have had their share of blatant dishonesty from companies such as Steinhoff. The JSE can’t be wholly blamed for this, of course, but it has never taken any responsibility for any devious activities on listed company boards...

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