South African in­vestors can now trade top off­shore com­pa­nies

Go­ing global

Finweek English Edition - - MONEY CLINIC -

SOUTH AFRICAN RE­TAIL IN­VESTORS are fast be­com­ing part of the global mar­ket­place and can now gen­uinely trade the shares of house­hold names such as Mi­crosoft, Ap­ple, Du Pont – even take a punt on em­bat­tled petroleum gi­ant BP if they want. Last year the JSE be­gan of­fer­ing fu­tures con­tracts that al­lowed in­vestors to take po­si­tions in many such big name com­pa­nies, but the re­al­ity was in­vestors were still get­ting ex­po­sure only in rand and only for the fu­ture price of the com­pany rather than be­ing able to di­rectly par­tic­i­pate in the shares and en­joy the div­i­dends from them.

That’s changed re­cently af­ter an an­nounce­ment by PSG On­line it had adapted its on­line trad­ing plat­form to ac­com­mo­date in­ter­na­tional trad­ing. That was fol­lowed up by a sim­i­lar an­nounce­ment by San­lam iTrade.

PSG On­line CEO Corrie de Bruyn says South African clients can now trade shares on 15 stock mar­kets in Europe and the United States via its plat­form, while iTrade clients can trade shares, cur­ren­cies, com­modi­ties and ex­change-traded funds on the New York Stock Ex­change, London Stock Ex­change and Aus­tralian Stock Ex­change.

“That means in­vestors would at any time be able to check on the sta­tus of their off­shore share port­fo­lio and trade on­line, as is the case with lo­cal share in­vest­ments. In the same man­ner, in­vestors would have the op­tion to se­lect on which stock mar­ket – for ex­am­ple, London or New York – or in which cur­rency a trans­ac­tion should be con­cluded,” says De Bruyn. That would form part of a client’s off­shore al­lowance and would be done as part of a for­eign ex­change “swap” with ei­ther PSG or San­lam’s trad­ing busi­ness units.

John Vorster, di­rec­tor of trad­ing at PSG On­line, says South African traders have shown some in­ter­est since the new func­tion­al­ity was an­nounced. “We’ve had dozens of en­quiries in the first week and sim­i­lar num­bers of reg­is­tra­tions. Lo­cal JSE eq­uity traders are very ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to be­come in­volved in

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