Nicky Newton-King was appointed CEO at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) at the beginning of 2012. She’s the first women to head the organisation.
The world of Nicky Newton-King
Nicky Newton-King is the first woman to head the JSE in its 125-year history and her combination of experience, Master’s degree in law and palpable passion augur well for a stronger bourse. We chat to her in the August 2012 issue of DESTINY.
What have you learnt during your experience with the JSE?
It taught me the importance of having the right people in the right place because this institution plays a very special role in the economy. You can work very hard, but get nowhere if you don’t have the right people. The past 15 years have also taught me that because we’re this type of institution, people rely on us for views, so you’ve got to be careful and aware of what you say and how.
What were your important achievements before taking over as CEO?
We’ve always operated as a team. However, if you look at the things we’ve done, you’ll see that we’ve made strides. We’ve bought the Bond Exchange of SA and the SA Futures Exchange; we’ve listed JSE Ltd on the exchange; and we’ve accumulated reserves amounting to R1 billion, from scratch. We want to build a sustainable business and accumulate funds to be able to invest in infrastructure and expansion. We have a profit-run, well-regulated institution.
What would you like to achieve during your tenure?
Our aim is to position the JSE as the preferred destination in Africa. We’re doing new things to raise our game and we’ve agreed with staff on what the strategic focus areas are. We have 496 people working for the JSE – that’s a small but ideal environment enabling flexibility. Because we’re a key part of the South African economy, we’ve been able to attract talent.
Is the AltX, the junior exchange, living up to your expectations and adding value for smaller companies?
AltX has its role: even a company as big as Anglo American started out as someone’s dinner table idea. You’ve got to encourage entrepreneurial minds. The AltX is providing space for that to happen. There’s no sin in being small. There could be more listings in due course.
Why has the number of listed companies shrunk?
We had about 600 companies several years ago, but realised that some weren’t meeting listings requirements. So we deliberated and did a review. We then gave companies which weren’t complying a chance to comply or delist. Last year 17 companies delisted and 16 listed, so we now have around 400. Internationally, the tough economy makes it a difficult time for companies to list. However, we have 37 exchange traded funds, from 31 last year, so this is a growth area for us.
THE JSE IN BRIEF
* The JSE is Africa’s largest and most sophisticated stock exchange.
* The combined market cap or value of companies listed on it is R7,309 trillion (US$912 billion). This makes it the 20th-largest exchange in the world.
* The World Economic Forum ranks it as the world’s best-regulated stock exchange.
* With almost 13%, the Government Employees’ Pension Fund is the JSE’s single largest shareholder.
* It generated R1,37 billion in revenues and made R342 million in profits last year.
To read more about this story go to page 97 of the August 2012 issue of DESTINY