The South African banking system is well developed and effectively regulated, comprising a central bank – the South African Reserve Bank – as well as domestic and foreign institutions providing a full range of services – commercial, retail and merchant banking, mortgage lending, insurance and investment.
South Africa has adopted anti-money laundering laws to help it comply with its international obligations to fight organised crime and terrorism. The latest and most comprehensive legislation detailing money laundering controls include the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA).
Customer identification is a crucial element of any effective money laundering control system. Banks are required to obtain certain information and supporting documentation from new customers before new accounts may be opened. The information and documents required vary depending on whether you are a customer in a personal capacity or part of an entity, whether you are a citizen of South Africa or a foreign national permanently resident in South Africa, a close corporation, listed company, a trust or other legal entity.
As one of the world’s 20 largest exchanges by market capitalisation ($1,007bn at end-2013) and the largest exchange in Africa, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is also ranked first in the world in terms of regulation of securities exchanges by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Survey.
The exchange offers five financial markets; Equities and Bonds and Financial, Commodity and Interest Rate Derivatives. There are almost 400 companies listed across its main board and AltX, the alternative exchange for smaller capped, high-growth companies.
In July 2013, the JSE implemented a new trading platform while at the same time moving the trading system from London to Johannesburg which has resulted in trades now being executed up to 400 times faster than under the previous system. The change allows for increased liquidity and more algorithmic traders.