Bond market gets boost

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

At the moment, people with online broking accounts cannot create balanced portfolios of stocks and bonds.

But that should change if the JSE's takeover of the Bond Exchange of South Africa (Besa) goes ahead.

JSE chief executive Russell Loubser said: "The intention is to make bonds as easy to trade as equities and derivatives."

The JSE has gained the support of Besa's management and 63 percent of its shareholders but still needs to win over at least 12 percent more shareholders to get the required 75 percent support.

JSE deputy chief executive Nicky Newton-King said integrating the stock and bond exchanges can only start once approvals have been gained - March at the earliest.

With the exception of Johannesburg municipality's "Jozi Bonds" which trade on the JSE, local bonds are limited to professional fund managers able to trade in the large denominations required by Besa.

Besa's inaccessibility to retail investors has resulted in 40 percent of South African bonds trading offshore and almost all interest-rate derivatives trading "over the counter" instead of via the exchange.

"We have said all along that leveraging the best of what Besa and the JSE together have to offer will help us better compete internationally, improve risk management, liquidity and economies of scale to benefit the end user," said Newton-King.