Tokenised assets to play a role in the future of the securities industry

Tokenised assets to play a role in the future of the securities industry

We were delighted to welcome our clients and other stakeholders to our market advisory virtual event, Strate Nexus, on Tuesday. 

Our guest speaker Dominic Hobson, co-founder of the Future of Finance and frequent contributor to the Financial Times, BBC and Financial News, gave deep insights into tokenised assets, why they matter and how they may impact South Africa. He left us with a range of questions to think about from the point of view of stock exchanges, asset or wealth managers, custodian banks, central securities depositories, central counterparty clearing houses and payments bank or payments service providers.

Hobson warned against complacency when it comes to initial coin offerings (ICOs), blockchain and decentralised finance (DeFi ) as the underlying social forces and technology which drives them are “remorseless”.

Hobson ran a poll of today’s audience and found that one in five attendees worked for a company that is brokering or investing in crypto-currency. While small, this is a growing area.

Hobson also considered the future of tokenised assets –digital assets created on a distributed ledger or blockchain, which represent either digital or physical assets. He believes tokenised assets will create whole new asset classes and have “immediate and profound consequences” for the securities industry everywhere.

Andre Nortje, Strate CEO, said Strate is looking in-depth at the future of tokenised assets in relation to a CSD in South Africa. We will share our insights on this topic in more detail in future.

Gregory Naicker, Head of CSD Services, gave an update on our e-Voting service, explaining Strate has seen an increase in market interest from clients who want to overhaul their paper-based voting systems to a seamless, digital experience.

As one client put it: “Strate’s e-Voting solution provides ease in managing what traditionally was a complex, extremely manual and error prone process.”

Thank you to all participants who joined us today.

Bev Muir, Head of Supervision, on building a rewarding career

Bev Muir, Head of Supervision, on building a rewarding career

How did you find yourself on this career path?

I initially studied at RAU and obtained both a BCom Law and BProc degree. After varsity, I started out working at two Strate Participants, FNB and then Standard Bank, before joining Strate in 2003. I was part of the Strate project team that implemented electronic settlement at FNB and then moved to Standard Bank as training manager.

When I joined Strate, the Supervision division had just been established and I was responsible for running the Strate examination programme, as well as setting up and developing some of the supervisory tools used to monitor the various Participant-related activities. Eventually I moved into a manager position, and now head up the division I started in.

What and who inspires you?

I learnt a great deal from my previous manager and mentor and will be forever grateful to her for the lessons I have learnt in both my professional, as well as personal life.

Passionate go-getters also inspire me – people that aren’t afraid to make mistakes or challenge the norm.

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

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or change what you are doing if you are not happy! Sometimes we get so comfortable in what we are doing that often change, any change, can be intimidating and unnerving. Embrace change and don’t be scared to try new things. At the end of the day most things are about the outcome or results. Who says there is only one way to do things… If you can achieve the same outcome by following a different (maybe easier) route, why not!

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

Attention to details is particularly important, especially in the environment that I work in. Learning to deal with people at all levels has also been invaluable. Whether it be junior staff or senior execs or directors, treating everyone with the same amount of respect is of paramount importance.

Keeping your word and delivering what you promised is also vitally important to build trust.

Beneficial holdings data services discontinued due to POPIA requirements

Beneficial holdings data services discontinued due to POPIA requirements

Strate fully supports the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), which came into full operation on 1 July 2021. Due to the requirements of POPIA, we have ceased to provide beneficial holdings data services to clients from 30 June 2021. The last instance in which holdings data services were provided is in the last shareholder reports issued and dated 25 June 2021.

The data that Strate provided in respect of the beneficial holders of listed and unlisted securities falls directly within the ambit of POPIA.

We recognise that this data promotes the transparency of the South African financial markets and is essential to the services provided by some of our clients. We have had constructive engagements with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to obtain guidance on the impact of POPIA on these data services and providing the holdings data to clients.

The FSCA has sought direction on this matter from the POPIA Information Regulator, which monitors and enforces compliance with the provisions of POPIA.  We await the outcome of these engagements. The regulatory requirements of POPIA are clear about the rights of data subjects and non-compliance with the Act carries substantial regulatory sanctions. In light of this, the decision was taken to uphold the right to privacy and to stop providing this data until there is clear guidance on the matter.

We will continue to engage with the regulators in the hope of achieving an exemption or other regulatory guidance to promote transparency in the South African financial markets. We will keep our clients informed of any updates.