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14210 STRATE talk Dec-V3

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14210 STRATE talk Dec-V3 Powered By Docstoc
					R75M DIVIDEND DECLARED WHILE PRICES STAY CONSTANT
To create the correct long-term capital structure, we’ve decided to reduce our capital by repaying R75 million out of our share premium account to existing shareholders. In addition, our fees to the market will remain the same in 2008. While there is much pressure from the market for us to start reducing our fees, we’re currently conducting an investigation into the fee structure for South African settlements. Monica says, “This is the fourth consecutive year that we’re not raising our prices. Given South Africa’s inflationary environment, this has resulted in considerable Strate broke even three years before the projected date as per the business plan tabled with shareholders in 2002. This was mainly due to an increase in volumes on the JSE Ltd and BESA Ltd. “While we’ve managed to keep prices constant, this is the first time since our inception in 1998 that we’ve been able to pay a dividend to our shareholders,” says Strate CEO Monica Singer. Our shareholders currently comprise the JSE (44,5%), Absa (12,68%), FNB (12,68%), Nedcor (15%), Standard Bank (15%) and Citibank (0,1%). “It is a delicate balancing act for us to keep prices low, while still providing a return to our shareholders,” Monica concludes. savings in real terms.”

STANDARD RELEASE GUIDE (SRG) 2007 IMPLEMENTATION

Every year SWIFT releases changes to its products and/or systems with a view to providing an up-to-date, enhanced package to its clients. As part of these annual changes, each user is required to analyse its systems and processes to prepare for compliance by the release date.

Initial reviews of the envisaged SRG2008 presented in November 2007 revealed a relatively large expectation. However, on receipt of the actual SRG2008 documentation, the changes were not as daunting as they first appeared. We look forward to a successful SRG2008 project.

The final release of the 2007 SWIFT changes was provided to Strate on 6 February last year, with a fixed ‘go-live’ date of 27 October 2007.

FUTURES CLOSE-OUT – 4TH QUARTER 2007
The Futures Close-out occurred on the JSE Ltd on 20 December 2007. The number of trades totalled 99 959. In spite of the huge volumes, settlement occurred without any problems.

With the assistance of all our participants, we completed the mandatory changes as dictated by SRG2007 on 29 October 2007. Although the number of changes was relatively low, the testing and implementation effort was still substantial.

We’re pleased to confirm that the project went off seamlessly and without fault. It was a collective effort and all stakeholders involved deserve a big “Well done!”.

SWIFT FEES FOR 2008
On 1 January this year a new set of FIN price reductions was implemented, benefiting all SWIFT customers. The main objective of the price reduction is to impact the most price-sensitive FIN traffic segments. For more information on these price reductions, please contact “We are making fundamental changes to the way we charge for our services to reflect the diversity of our customer base,” says SWIFT CFO Francis Vanbever. “Lower volume users will soon benefit from a new service model that will significantly reduce the cost of Ian Bessarabia at ian.bessarabia@swift.com connecting to SWIFT, while large volume users can benefit from the fixed fee pricing scheme to make even more use of SWIFT at no additional cost.”

BRIAN BALKIND HANGS UP HIS SCRIP
After nearly a decade with Strate, Head of Issuer and Asset Services Brian Balkind will soon be retiring. During his early days at Strate, Brian was instrumental in establishing the original back office in the old JSE building in Diagonal Street. He also took back office teams to India, where all the system software “I was employee number seven,” Brian recalls. “Strate will be ten years old in November 2008, so I can safely say that I am one of the very few surviving employees from the company’s earliest days.” Of the many highlights of his career, Brian fondly recalls the initial electronic settlement of Harmony Gold, the first listed counter to go Having been part of the Strate fabric virtually from day one, Brian is readily able to recall the company’s highlights… and its lowlights. electronic. “We all sat glued to the computer screen. The Harmony settlement was no more than a flicker on the screen – if we’d blinked we would have missed it – but it was a highly significant moment for “Long before Strate, when I used to arrange for the delivery of scrip to the market, it was always my dream to be able to do this electronically rather than processing mounds of paper and receiving a whole bunch of cheques in return,” he says. Over the past four years, Brian’s responsibility has primarily involved corporate actions, issuer services and beneficiary downloads. Strate. We’ve come a long way since then,” he says. was being developed.

“From the days I first heard about electronic settlement in the early 1960s, I wanted to be part of the team to implement it in South Africa. Being an integral part of the transition process was a dream come true.”

“It hasn’t all been smooth sailing; it never is. I cannot deny that we’ve had some serious challenges, but we’ve always overcome them. We have a great team at Strate, who have always pulled together, often working long hours to fix problems. I feel truly blessed to have been part of that team,” he concludes.

In a career spanning some 46 years, 37 of them with FNB, Brian has witnessed many stock market booms and busts. “I could write a book on some of the hair-raising, not to mention amusing experiences I’ve encountered,” he says.

SSEM PROJECT RECONFIGURED
Following consultation with a number of South African securities market players, we have agreed that the Securities Services Enhancement Model (SSEM) project be closed and reconfigured as part of the T+3 project. Please contact Tanya Knowles or Leigh Daniel if you require any The SSEM project focused predominantly on identifying international best practices and concepts for securities markets. It set out to determine where these best practices could be applied in the South African market to achieve savings in costs, measurable improvements in efficiencies and quantifiable reductions in risk. further information on this project. concepts that apply to the Bond or Money Markets will be discussed with BESA and Money Market stakeholders to determine the need for further investigation as to their applicability.

While these business imperatives remain, it has been agreed that these improvements will dovetail with the T+3 Project initiated by the JSE, as well with a number of other market and Strate initiatives, either strategic or operational.

The key findings of the SSEM project will be discussed with the JSE and the Equities market. If appropriate, they will be incorporated into the T+3 project for focus from our perspective. Best practices and

CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF ALLAN COOPER

It is with much sadness that Strate received the news that Allan Cooper, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Depository for Securities Limited (CDS), passed away on 9 December, after a long battle with cancer.

He was a man of exceptional character and he will be greatly missed by the industry. We would like to send our condolences to his family and friends.

Allan Cooper


				
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