According to Mervyn King, the South African Chairman of the International Integrated Reporting Committee , the WFE annual meeting just hosted in Johannesburg is the first to take place in what will be known as ‘the decade of change’.
Of course, ‘change’ is never-ending. But to Professor King, who is this year’s recipient of the WFE Award for Excellence in recognition of his career in promoting good corporate governance, the future we are now building has succeeded ‘the decade of stupidity’ when companies, faced with crises, carried on business as usual.
That assessment is difficult to refute for the financial services sector. Many actors danced as long as the music played before the markets crashed. Designing smarter markets, and reforming the regulation of finance in ways that allow for growth and innovation, were the central issues of the Federation’s meetings in mid-October.
What are the some of the changes that we may see in this decade? When it comes to investing in companies, it means measuring not capital, but ‘capitals’ – financial, manufactured, human, intellectual, natural and social. This is a framework that the International Integrated Reporting Committee is building.
What change is needed in Africa? South African Finance Minister, Pravin Gordham, looked forward to extending the kinds of facilities and capabilities of exchanges to smaller economies in Africa. His challenge to the WFE assembly was to offer solutions to the G-20 to get the global economy much healthier
What changed at the meeting? The leaders gathered in South Africa also had time for more immediate steps to develop public, regulated marketplaces, including the launch of the BRICS exchanges alliance to cross-list benchmark equity index futures and options. The little “s” at the end of BRICs has now been capitalized to include South Africa in the group. Three exchanges, GreTai Securities Market, RTS Stock Exchange and Taiwan Futures Exchange joined the WFE, which now counts 54 members operating more than 100 regulated financial exchanges.
A special thanks must be mentioned to a JSE team that surpassed the highest expectations for professionalism and hospitality. Their leader, Russell Loubser, steps down later this year after 15 years of helm of the exchange that has again been recognized as the world leader for market regulation based on its competitiveness according to the World Economic Forum. His contributions to this organization and the development of capital markets in South Africa and beyond cannot be overstated.
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