Some pundits reckon the JSE is in a crisis. That might be putting it a bit too strongly. Still, I must say the steady exodus of companies — especially small-and mid-cap businesses — from the JSE is vaguely disturbing. As a journalist who has specialised in writing about small caps I have found that my universe of stocks to survey has crimped markedly over the past five years.Compounding the problem for a shrinking JSE — by listing numbers, not necessarily collective market capitalisation — is that the local bourse appears to have missed the initial public offering boom that seemed to come around every 10-15 years. The JSE had listings booms in 1986 to 1988, again in 1996 to 1998 and most recently in 2007 and 2009.The JSE is not seeing much new listings action now apart from a couple of spin-offs from existing large listings. I’m not even sure whether the more promising unlisted companies really look at the JSE as the only way to raise funding, considering that a fast-growing special...

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