Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Equity investors should not rely on anyone, least of all the JSE, to protect them from value-destroying corporate scandals such as Steinhoff, which left shareholders standing helplessly by as R300bn was wiped off their investments. That seems to be the message of the consultation document released by the JSE last week. Securing the sort of protection most investors assume they have would require all the players in a complex ecosystem — what JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King calls the guardians of corporate governance — to do the right thing. The list of guardians includes directors, auditors, asset managers, pension fund trustees, regulators and analysts. Critically, these players need to work better and work together, which is why the JSE’s consultation document places as much emphasis on them as it does on upgrading its own existing requirements. "You can have any amount of laws but you can’t stop somebody determined to do bad things," said Newton-King — careful at all times to avoid ment...

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