RMB and Strate launch solution to benefit fixed income issuers and investors.

RMB and Strate launch solution to benefit fixed income issuers and investors.

In line with Strate’s purpose of serving the financial markets, we work closely with our stakeholders to introduce digital solutions to meet the evolving needs of the ecosystem. We have been working with Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) on their front-end marketplace called Intengo.

Intengo is the first digital platform supporting the issuance process for debt securities in private markets. Intengo, launched in June 2021 by RMB, allows debt issuers and investors to digitally transact in a seamless manner.

Fixed income issuers, through a digital access point via Strate, can create ISINs, report unlisted fixed income transactions for post-trade matching and settlement, and facilitate corporate actions and registry services for unlisted bonds and money market security types.

“The Intengo and Strate partnership is another example of how we create innovative solutions that benefit and support our clients in line with our purpose of servicing the financial markets,” says Gregory Naicker, Head of CSD Services.

“Through the strategic partnership between Intengo and Strate we endeavour to meet both our issuer and investor client needs through a differentiated digital marketplace which will pave the way to make fixed-income solutions more accessible to the broader market,” says Emrie Brown, Head of Banking Division at RMB.

The Intengo partnership went live with Strate on 28 June 2021 and will start rolling out to clients to offer unique lending and investment opportunities to the market.

For further information, please email csd-services@strate.co.za

Gregory Naicker Appointed Vice Chair of SWIFT Users of South Africa (SUSA)

Gregory Naicker Appointed Vice Chair of SWIFT Users of South Africa (SUSA)

Gregory Naicker, Head of CSD Services for Strate, was nominated and appointed as Vice Chair of SWIFT Users of South Africa (SUSA), a voluntary association of SWIFT users in South Africa, effective 01 May 2021.

SUSA is responsible for promoting the use of SWIFT and serves members by representing their interests to government, regulators and other local or international associations.

Strate’s long-standing involvement with SWIFT dates back to 1999 when it became the first financial market infrastructure globally to use ISO 15022 standards and SWIFT as the messaging layer.

South Africa was the first country in the world to use ISO 20022 standards in the local payment’s environment through the corporate connectivity project for credit transfers and direct debits that started in 2007.

Strate is proud to continue its involvement with SWIFT, and with Gregory Naicker as Vice Chair, continue serving the financial market and supporting the important role of secure financial messaging.

Read more about Strate’s SWIFT services here.

More about SWIFT can be found here.

Pheona Härtel: Head of Legal, Risk and Compliance, on building a rewarding career

Pheona Härtel: Head of Legal, Risk and Compliance, on building a rewarding career

How did you find yourself on this career path?

To be honest, I sometimes think that this career chose me. I was running away from a career in legal advice and found that regulatory risk management suited my qualifications at the time. Throw in an inspiring mentor, and a deep love for regulatory risk management was born. That was the springboard that launched me to where I am today.

What and who inspires you?

So many things inspire me but I will make specific mention of two. The first is the women I am privileged to know on a personal level. Witnessing their dedication, commitment to excellence and unwillingness to accept failure as a foregone conclusion in the face of adversity, inspires me.

These testaments range from pursuing personal dreams, completing tertiary education qualifications, to managing international organisations. They have shown me that it does not matter how small or big the achievement, if it is worth having, it is worth working hard for until the point of success.

The second thing is a quote by Steve Jobs. In a nutshell, the quote challenges you to push past the barriers of societal expectations and make your own defined mark on the world. No matter how small the mark, it is worth taking that step. Nothing great has ever been achieved without pushing against the “barrier”.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out their careers?

Be open minded. We all start our journey stepping out of the proverbial front door, we know the end destination but we all take different routes getting there. Each route has its risks and rewards.

You cannot compare yourself to others as we all have different aptitudes that serve us differently. Learn from others. Invest in your relationships, they will be your biggest asset. Use your time wisely.

Know when to be still and when to take action. And if you are in doubt, there is no shame in asking for help.

What has been the most valuable skills you have ever learned? And how has this helped your career?

The irony of this skill is that it is not one that comes naturally to me. It is patience – or let me qualify by saying the right amount of patience. I have learnt that sometimes in order to move fast, you need to go slow. Taking time to understand, time to learn and time to plan usually yields a better result than rushing into things without due consideration.

In this line of work, the ability to analyse and determine the best response requires time. That analysis however needs to be completed with an appropriate level of urgency to suit the situation.

The second skill, is the importance of transparency. With me, what you see is what you get. Building credibility is founded in consistency and reliability even when the conversations are difficult. My integrity is my biggest asset in this line of work.

Pioneers in digital innovation, Strate welcomes Momentum Investments and Standard Bank

Pioneers in digital innovation, Strate welcomes Momentum Investments and Standard Bank

Strate’s e‐Voting platform has reached a significant milestone with the onboarding of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited and Standard Bank.

Momentum Investments, one of the operating brands within Momentum Metropolitan Holdings, becomes the first investment management services provider to partner with Strate’s e‐Voting. Standard Bank and Momentum Investments become early adopters and pioneers in shaping and driving digitised shareholder voting, enhanced shareholder engagement and improved corporate governance.

“As an innovative brand, we are proud to be the first investment management service provider to partner with Strate’s e-Voting platform. Good governance is a cornerstone of responsible investing and having an efficient and effective mechanism to exercise proxy votes is a key mechanism to hold companies and their leadership to account,” says Theo Terblanche, Executive Head of Investment Management, Momentum Investments. 

Standard Bank’s Senior Custody Product Manager, Sheron Botha, added: “As digital adoption increases, we are exploring different solutions for our clients’ varying needs. The e-Voting project has been an example of just that for an asset manager such as Momentum. Standard Bank is keen on partnering with our clients on their respective journeys to adopt digital solutions to both increase automation and mitigate risks. We are proud to have worked closely with Strate and Momentum to enable this solution.”

Strate’s e-Voting aims to significantly improve the way shareholder voting is conducted in South Africa, ensuring that there is increased transparency across the value chain from investors to issuers.

Benefits include:

Real time voting from any location

Ability for voters to change their vote at any time before meeting close

Ability for voters to direct questions to the meeting chairperson

No manual intervention at any stage in the value chain

Improved corporate governance through interactive, audited reports

Data security using Nasdaq’s blockchain technology

A true end-to-end solution

Annual general meetings (AGMs) serve a critical role as they provide one of the few opportunities for shareholders to engage with the company’s directors, raise questions and issues that concern them and vote on matters affecting the business.

The adoption of digital solutions for shareholder meetings is long overdue. South Africa’s financial markets industry has been grappling with the problem of a fragmented, paper-based environment for shareholder meetings for more than three decades. Most shareholders in South African companies do not attend AGMs but submit a written proxy in advance authorising the chairperson, or another representative, to vote according to their specified wishes. This is done either via email, hand-delivery to the company, or even by post.

Co-developed with leading global technology provider Nasdaq, the innovative, groundbreaking e-Voting platform enables virtual shareholder meetings and allows investors to communicate directly with companies, providing a fully digitised experience that seamlessly connects issuers and investors.

Strate’s Head of CSD Services, Gregory Naicker, commented: “As Strate continues on its journey of serving the financial markets by enabling digitisation, it has been our privilege to have collaborated with Standard Bank and Momentum Investments to implement the e-Voting platform service.”

Contact e-Votingteam@strate.co.za to find out how Strate’s e-Voting platform can enhance shareholder engagement and improve corporate governance.