After more than half-a-century of being the only stock exchange in SA, the JSE suddenly finds itself facing not one but three new competitors. Licences have been issued by the Financial Services Board (FSB) to all three new bourses: ZAR X, 4 Africa Exchange (4AX) and A2X. It is coincidental that the new exchanges sound like model variations from one car marque – the start-ups are entirely independent of one another. However, their X-factor branding is not helping confused market participants. Not surprisingly given the complexity of stock markets, things have been off to a  slow start. Only one of the exchanges, ZAR X, has gone live. 4AX hopes to be operational by the end of May and A2X is targeting October. ZAR X has two shares listed – Senwes Limited and its holding company, Senwesbel. Liquidity thus far has been poor. Senwes traded once in March and Senwesbel has not traded since March 2. But don’t be fooled by these modest beginnings: the new bourses have the potential to shake ...

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