23 January 2014
Dubai-based investment bank Arqaam Capital became the newest equity member of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on Wednesday – an indication the confidence of other emerging markets in South Africa as a financial gateway to sub-Saharan Africa.
Arqaam Capital is a specialist emerging markets investment bank headquartered in Dubai, with listings on the Dubai, Nasdaq Dubai and Abu Dhabi exchanges and offices in Beirut and London.
According to a joint statement with the JSE, Arqaam Capital’s first expansion into Africa was “due to an overwhelming demand from its clients for investment opportunities in South Africa and the rest of the continent”.
Chief executive Riad Meliti said the bank was delighted to enter the South African market. “To our over 700 mature market and MENA [Middle East and North Africa] investors, Arqaam South Africa offers exposure to African stocks,” Meliti said. “By introducing African market opportunities to these clients, Arqaam will attract new investment into continental markets.”
The JSE said it believed that Arqaam Capital’s move showed that investors in other emerging markets recognised Africa’s potential and had both confidence and an appetite for investment in the continent.
“The JSE continuously aims to act as the investment bridge to African opportunities whilst providing JSE listed companies with the opportunity to gain access to capital from a wider pool of international investors,” the exchange said.
Leanne Parsons, director of the JSE’s equity market, said that Arqaam Capital was well respected for its successful track record across North Africa and the Middle East, and was the first brokerage to join the JSE from the Gulf region.
“We see their membership as another step in strengthening the JSE’s relationships with financial market players in other emerging markets,” Parsons said, adding that the JSE was looking forward to working with Arqaam Capital on potential new initiatives in selected markets in the Middle East, North Africa and other regions.