Zim set to join elite financial market

Business Reporter
Zimbabwe is set to join the world’s elite financial markets group and become the ninth African member country if its application is approved by the Financial Markets Association at the ACI international Meeting set for the end of this month.Upon approval Zimbabwe will join South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Ghana in the financial markets association.

ACI International will consider Zimbabwe’s financial markets application at their next congress to be held at the end of this month in New York.

The approval of the application will bring Zimbabwe’s financial markets to international best practices. The application for affiliation was submitted by the Financial Traders Association of Zimbabwe.

FTAZ president Mr Collen Kapende told the association’s annual general meeting in Nyanga on Saturday that their application had reached the final stage.

“Following the initial ground work done by past FTAZ Presidents and committees I am pleased to inform you that we have reached the final stages in our ACI — The Financial Markets Association affiliation application,” said Mr Kapende.

“Our application is now awaiting approval from ACI international at their next congress to be held at the end of September in New York. In that regard, we are extremely grateful to our Monetary Authorities for giving us the required green light to affiliate with ACI,” he said.

ACI is a leading non-profit and non-political association of wholesale financial market professionals. Members of ACI are largely engaged in financial trading or sales environment in the global financial markets representing foreign exchange, interest rate products and other securities, bank notes, precious metals and commodities and derivatives.

It has 13 000 international members from more than 60 countries.

The FTAZ’s objective is to ensure that market professionals are represented in actions aimed at shaping market developments within the regulatory environment, maintenance of ethics, arbitration and advice offered in case of professional disagreements and the delivery of third party certification on a global scale (dealing certificate, operations certificate or diploma).

“Our aim is to take Zimbabwe to be in line with international best practices in terms of trading especially when we adopted other countries’ currencies,” said Mr Kapende.

FTAZ represents more than 100 financial markets dealers who buy and sell securities or financial instruments for and on behalf of financial institutions and analyse financial markets.

It draws its membership from 21 financial institutions including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Turning to the market, Mr Kapende said the market continues to be gripped by several challenges which include short term deposits, low levels of liquidity, subdued interbank trading activity because of scepticism and general reservations by banks about trading in such a fragile environment, and the unavailability of the lender of last resort.

“The economy has been affected by limited foreign direct investment and lines of credit because of the perceived sovereign risk by external investors.  This has had a negative impact on the quantum of available liquidity circulating in the local money market. To worsen the situation, there has been deposit concentration within the top five banks curtailing the smooth spread of the scarce liquidity across the market,” said Mr Kapende.

Efforts to unlock liquidity through the Afreximbank proposed $100 million Interbank Facility are a starting point towards establishing a solid and vibrant interbank market.

“However, these efforts though generally welcome have been slow in taking off hence leaving the market in limbo with a dearth of acceptable trading paper. The market remains generally fragmented in terms of interest rates on deposits with banks long on liquidity offering softened rates while they remain largely high in banks struggling to raise deposits.

Liquid banks deposit rates range 0-10 percent on the 30-90 day horizon. Illiquid banks deposit rates range 11-15 percent on the 30-90 day horizon, according to Mr Kapende.

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