Much criticism has recently been levelled at the JSE for not doing more to protect investors from losses associated with Steinhoff, Resilient, Fortress and a number of other entities. Even more criticism arose after the aborted Sagarmatha Technology listing, where two technically insolvent companies came within a hair’s breadth of being listed at a lofty valuation of R49.7bn. Ayo Technology, a December 2017 "unicorn" listing with the Public Investment Corporation as the largest investor at R4.3bn, has seen some interesting share price movements. Hence I thought it would be useful to phone the JSE and find out what their obligations are in respect of protecting often unsophisticated retail investors from buying shares in unsound listings. Here is what I learnt. It turns out that the JSE has absolutely no obligation to protect investors — nor can it stop a listing, provided it complies with the JSE’s listing requirements. It also takes no responsibility for the listing valuations prov...

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