The launch, for the first time in more than 80 years, of three new stock exchanges in SA — Zar X, 4 Africa Exchange (4AX) and A2X — has been met with equal measures of excitement and scepticism. "What are they going to sell and who are they going to sell to?" asks an exasperated David Shapiro. Shapiro, who joined the stock market in 1972 and is deputy chairman at Sasfin Securities, says he is worried about the future of the mighty JSE — never mind that of new exchanges. The JSE is "not what is used to be", he says, in terms of the quality of companies listing, their prospects and the underlying economy. In an age when technology companies boast some of the biggest market values, the JSE’s largest counters, bar Naspers, remain largely old-world businesses, Shapiro says. "We’re running out of ideas here." Many have welcomed the competition, saying it will lower barriers to entry for issuers and investors alike.4AX, which hopes to begin trading this month, will list a range of asset cl...

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