By: 4 Africa Exchange Proprietary Limited (“4AX”)
4 Africa Exchange (Pty) Ltd (4AX) is pleased to confirm the appointment of Eugene Booysen to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hannes van der Merwe to Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the 4AX Exchange, and Warren Squires to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 4AX Debt Services Company.
These appointments follow a rigorous recruitment process and succession plan that has been steered by Sean Emery, CEO of RainFin, who took up the reigns as acting CEO of the Exchange mid-year, and in consultation with the Board and shareholders. As RainFin is a shareholder in 4AX, following a transaction to sell 4AX its corporate debt marketplace that was concluded last year, Emery remains an active shareholder in 4AX and continues to support the growth of the Exchange in other roles.
Speaking on this announcement, Mr Mfundiso (JJ) Njeke, Chairman of 4AX, said: “On behalf of the Board and all stakeholders, we are grateful to Sean for the role he has fulfilled in stepping in as interim CEO and his ongoing contributions to 4AX. We are also very excited to have Eugene, Hannes and Warren onboard as collectively they bring near 70-years of experience in advancing financial solutions, but also incredible talent, technical expertise and operational and management experience, to the helm of 4AX to lead the Exchange and Debt Services businesses forward.”
Eugene Booysen takes up the baton from Sean Emery this month. Having worked within the industry for 25-years – and fulfilled several executive and leadership roles across Retail, Corporate and Investment banking, as well as a contracted consultant on innovation and change management – Eugene’s experience spans new business creation and revenue generation to infrastructure and risk management. Eugene is passionate about exponential impact of technology and its ability to create financial inclusion and fairer financial eco-systems. He believes that digitisation drives abundant outcomes for all.
Hannes van der Merwe brings over two decades of operational management experience and technical IT expert knowledge to 4AX. He will be directly responsible for implementing many of the Exchange’s expansion strategies and day-to-day operations. As co-founder and current COO of RainFin, Hannes holds near 10-years of operations management experience specific to trading platforms – and believes that digital advancement will continue to play a critical role in creating and enabling safe, well-regulated and effective marketplaces that will have the potential to fundamentally transform the financial services industry, and therein the economy, of any nation.
Warren Squires brings 25 years of top tier financial institution experience, including senior leadership roles in corporate and investment banking, and global capital markets. Warren has a deep-seated understanding of optimising organisational efficiency through operational and digital innovation. As CEO, Warren aims to focus the 4AX Debt Services digital platform at delivering attractive rates and transparent liquidity, combined with a safe and simple loan process for his clients.
Njeke confirmed that the Board acknowledges that there have been some structural and operational challenges – and that the Board have acted swiftly to remedy these. “We have also addressed the penalty imposed on 4AX by the FSCA due to the late submission of the 4AX financial statements. The late submission was due to the 4AX auditors requiring a major transaction to be completed prior to the auditor being able to sign off on the financials. However, the penalty was accepted and paid, and 4AX remains in good standing with all compliance requirements.”
“The 4AX mission and promise has always been to make financial markets more inclusive, and this new leadership team is committed to continuing to drive this vision forward, where they have the full backing of all shareholders and the Board, who has also raised funding and recapitalised 4AX. As the Board, we look forward to the innovations that the newly appointed leadership team will bring to transform the 4AX group businesses in this next phase of expansion and growth,” added Njeke.
As the newly appointed CEO, Booysen expressed his excitement for the future: “4AX was established to offer an alternative Exchange and trading platform, from the incumbent. And, despite a tough economic and business climate locally in recent years and business challenges, 4AX has experienced significant growth to reach a total market capitalisation of just under R7 billion in its first two years of operations. This proves that there are still immense opportunities for investment and growth in South Africa. We want to play an even greater role in making this growth a reality.”
“The Exchange platform has been built on a solid technological foundation and, as the incoming leadership team, our focus already has been on transforming the Exchange trading platform to a truly digital marketplace – one that is safe, secure, uncomplicated, transparent and well-governed, and still offers easier access to liquidity at attractive rates,” added Booysen.
4AX is one of only two Exchanges in South Africa currently that holds a comprehensive license that enables the platform to list a range of asset classes, including equities, debt, special-purpose vehicles and real estate investment trusts.
The 4AX Registry manages the share registers of the companies listed on the Exchange, as well as on other exchanges in South Africa. The business also provides company secretarial and corporate governance services to the broader market.
Added to this, 4AX Debt Services Company was established as a separate legal entity to the Exchange to provide direct market lending services (unlisted debt offering) to mid-size companies looking to raise up to R200-million.
“Access to capital has driven economies round the world for many decades, though in the past this access has typically only been available to the elite and privileged few. However, a digital marketplace creates an immense opportunity to drive more pervasive access and we’ve never been in a better place to capitalise on the promise that expanded market access offers to our economy. We are looking forward to meeting and supporting the needs of issuers and investors, alike, during the current tough and more prosperous economic times ahead. And, I personally see a future driven by the convenience of digital transformation, which I believe will transform capital markets effectiveness, transparency and liquidity – towards a mindset change of conscious capital” concludes Booysen.
4AX will be releasing updated requirements for Equity listings and new Debt listing requirements before the end of the year.