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IBOR reform has significant implications for SA’s financial industry –

Since 2017, Interbank Offered Rate (IBOR) reform has been on the cards in many markets around the world.

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Since 2017, Interbank Offered Rate (IBOR) reform has been on the cards in many markets around the world.

The use of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as a benchmark, is set to be discontinued

This has significant implications across the financial industry, as LIBOR is used as a reference rate for interest rates charged in many countries on everything from home loans and credit cards to floating rate notes and corporate bank loans.

It underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of financial contracts.

A change is however necessary because of concerns around the liquidity of the underlying markets that LIBOR measures. A lack of trading data makes LIBOR inefficient as an interest rate benchmark and raises the risk of manipulation.

In the UK, a March 2021 deadline has been set for banks to stop using sterling LIBOR as a reference for new loan agreements. In the US, a date has been set for June next year to stop using dollar LIBOR, but the authorities are currently consulting on plans to push this back to June 2023. The challenge is that regulators want institutions to stop using LIBOR, but they don’t want to force changes that will disrupt the financial system.

Settling on an alternative

Even with deadlines nearing, the question of how to effectively use an alternative has not been settled. The Loan Market Association has made proposals for wording that could be used in contracts, but there are still various iterations of where this could land.

Essentially, when LIBOR can no longer be used, financial institutions will have to fall back on some form of a risk-free rate as a benchmark. These risk-free rates will be determined from published overnight rates.

This is a critical distinction – IBOR rates are forward-looking, based on assumptions and judgements. Risk-free rates are inherently backward-looking, based off transactions.

Risk-free rates also do not include any credit or term premium that would appear in IBOR. If they are to operate as an effective replacement, they, therefore, have to be adjusted in some way to reflect those differences.

How to do this efficiently and effectively is still being debated in international markets. We are advising clients not to prematurely write their own language into agreements until this is settled.

What is happening in South Africa?

Until recently, this was not something we felt would need addressing in South Africa. The market did not expect that the Johannesburg Interbank Average Rate (JIBAR) would be reformed in the same way.

Last month, however, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) made its position clear: JIBAR will cease to exist at some point in the future because, like IBOR, there are shortcomings with using JIBAR as benchmark rate. The SARB has also advised that it will follow international progress on IBOR reforms to guide its decisions on a suitable reference rate for South Africa, whilst taking into account idiosyncrasies relevant to the local market. It will also observe best practices to avoid causing market instability.

This reform has meaningful consequences for the South African financial sector institutions. The three-month JIBAR rate in particular is one of the country’s most-used benchmarks. It is referenced extensively for a range of purposes, including loans, derivatives, and money market unit trusts.

In order to replace JIBAR, three steps need to take place:

  • A suitable Alternative Reference Rate (ARR) will have to be determined (and at present, the SARB has short-listed three possibilities);
  • Sufficient liquidity needs to be created in that ARR; and
  • JIBAR needs to be transitioned into the new reference rate.

This process may take a minimum of five years.

Guiding reform

Steps towards reform are not entirely new. In 2018 the SARB established the Market Practitioners Group (MPG) to look at local interest rate benchmarks. The MPG includes workstreams looking at both ways to strengthen JIBAR as a temporary measure and to establish a permanent, credible ARR.

These workstreams are made up of stakeholders across the industry: from the SARB itself, insurers, banks, asset managers, and market infrastructure providers. In identifying a suitable ARR, they will be guided by the principles for financial benchmarks set out by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). These principles cover a range of factors from the governance of the benchmark, to the factors that inform its quality, and its transparency.

As an interim step, the SARB has decided to improve the sufficiency of the JIBAR calculation by increasing the obligation size of each of the contributing banks so as to satisfy IOSCO sufficiency principles. This interim measure is likely to be in place for a few years until a credible alternative is established.

What should financial institutions do?

While the discussion around what will replace JIBAR is still some way from being settled, it is necessary for financial institutions to be aware of the implications. In future, any contract based on JIBAR will need to consider its fall-back for when the benchmark is discontinued.

It is, however, a challenge to introduce fall-back language into agreements before there is certainty. If language is prematurely drafted into agreements, these agreements will likely have to be amended again once the market lands on an agreement. The other risk of writing fallback language into agreements at this stage is that it will make syndications challenging.

What some of our clients have done, however, is to start including wording in contracts that notes that once there is a switch to an alternative benchmark, the parties will negotiate to amend the agreement. That is a potentially safe approach – creating an obligation to adjust the contract, without stipulating what the switch will be.

For now, the SARB has put together a team of market-leading experts for purposes of transitioning JIBAR and will keep South African financial institutions abreast of any developments.

This article was written by Khurshid Fazel, Partner at Webber Wentzel with a contribution from Dhiren Mansingh, Head: Treasury Sales & Structuring at Investec.

Featured image: Floriane Vita via Unsplash

A change is however necessary because of concerns around the liquidity of the underlying markets that LIBOR measures. A lack of trading data makes LIBOR inefficient as an interest rate benchmark and raises the risk of manipulation.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2020/12/ibor-reform-has-significant-implications-for-sas-financial-industry/

ibor-reform-has-significant-implications-for-sa's-financial-industry--

Ventureburn

OneDayOnly’s daily deals reaffirms SA liquor industry support

SA’s leading flash sale site OneDayOnly has announced its continued assistance to the local liquor industry through the recent move to Level 4 lockdown.

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SA’s leading flash sale site OneDayOnly has announced its continued assistance to the local liquor industry through the recent move to Level 4 lockdown.

The e-commerce site has displayed resilience and innovation through previous alcohol bans by allowing vendors to keep taking orders, thereby supporting many local businesses to continue seeing a profit. “During the previous lockdowns we continued to support the local liquor industry by running weekly promotions that made wine and other locally produced products available for purchase on the site which was then delivered directly from the supplier as soon as trading resumed,” says Laurian Venter, Director for OneDayOnly.

Continued support for local SA liquor industry

In a report published in February 2021, the South African Liquor Brand owners Association (SALBA) published the cumulative economic losses incurred over the last three bans. Commenting on the report, SALBA CEO Kurt Moore said that not only is the industry and its people suffering, but the Government itself was experiencing considerable losses to the fiscus.

The site will continue to run daily liquor deals through Level 4

The report shows that the tax revenue loss (excluding excise) to the fiscus from the value chain arising from the bans amounted to R29.3- billion (equivalent to 2.3% of tax revenue) and direct excise tax revenue lost across the nation was R8.7-billion (equivalent to 21.2% of excise revenue).

Moore clarified that SA’s GDP loss was approximately R51.9-billion. “If you factored in the loss of potential total capital formation – some R21.7-billion (equivalent to 0.3% of national capital formation, or fixed capital investment in 2019) – then the prohibition measures could only be viewed as a national socio-economic disaster,” he said.

The e-commerce site will be running daily liquor deals, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday and Festive Friday promotions and will deliver once the lockdown lifts to assist local farms and businesses with expenses and staff costs.

Clarifying the decision, Venter concludes: “From a professional and personal standpoint, we have friends across both these industries that have been devastated by the last two lockdowns.”

Read more: Imperial donates R1-million for healthtech to Unjani Clinics
Read more: SA tech startup aims to create the fastest insights on the planet [Sponsored]

Featured image: Maja Petric via Unsplash

The site will continue to run daily liquor deals through Level 4

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/onedayonly-daily-liquor-deals-reaffirms-support-sa-industry/

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She Loves Tech calls for African female-focused startups

Applications are open for She Loves Tech, the world’s biggest startup competition for women in tech. Prizes of up to $50 000 available!

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Applications are open for She Loves Tech, the world’s biggest startup competition for women in tech. The competition is hosting its seventh edition with prizes up to $50 000. This year’s focus hones in on African tech startups.

Fundraising will be front and centre this year

Since its inception, the global non-profit organisation has committed to closing the funding gap for women entrepreneurs and building an ecosystem for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation that creates opportunities for women. Fundraising will be front and centre this year and this pitch round will be held across over 40 countries. Partners of the event include ATAST, Beijing Women’s International Center, Circle, Girls in Tech Macau, Gobi Partners, Hatch and the Kerala Startup Mission.

More than just a tech competition

“Last year, we announced our new mission to catalyse $1-billion funding for startups coming through She Loves Tech by 2030,” says co-founder Rhea See.

Startups can expect increased funding and one-on-one opportunities with leading VCs, mentoring hours, and direct cash and investment prizes throughout the series. Alumni startups from previous years have received over $250-million in aggregate funding from some of the world’s top investors, including Sequoia Capital, Vertex Ventures, Wavemaker, Microsoft and Amazon

“She Loves Tech 2021 is more than a competition, it is an acceleration platform designed to take women-led and women impact startups to the next level,” remarks co-founder Leanne Robers. Previous participants include Arianna Huffington (Co-Founder & CEO, Thrive Global), Ann Cairns (Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard) and Mahmoud Mohieldin (UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda).

“Without women, we are unable to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Women represent a new generation of innovation and disruptive thinking,” comments co-founder Virginia Tan.

If you are a tech startup with at least one female founder or a majority of female consumers or end-users, apply here before registrations close.

Read more: Harambee Youth Accelerator acquires SA hiring app Giraffe
Read more: Women in tech at risk of being left behind

Featured image: @canweallgo via Unsplash

“She Loves Tech 2021 is more than a competition, it is an acceleration platform designed to take women-led and women impact startups to the next level,” remarks co-founder Leanne Robers. Previous participants include Arianna Huffington (Co-Founder & CEO, Thrive Global), Ann Cairns (Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard) and Mahmoud Mohieldin (UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda).

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/she-loves-tech-calls-for-african-female-focused-startups/

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The value of effective servant leadership in 2021

In a crisis, servant leadership is an organisation’s most useful tool. Alwyn Rossouw, CEO of The Marathon Group features.

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A significant crisis in an economy that affects the business can either drive a team to greatness or widen any cracks in the company’s foundations. The difference between the two often rests on the effectiveness of a company’s leadership.

According to Alwyn Rossouw, CEO of The Marathon Group, a management consultancy and financial services company, navigating a global pandemic has put this principle to the test. “Over the last year, we have seen many companies have to deal with loss in revenue streams, pivots to business models and a digital revolution that has changed the way business is being done.”

…it came naturally to them to serve, to care, to be humble and be authentic

Rossouw explains that one of the critical components that will help business owners navigate the rocky path ahead is effective leadership. “With the emergence of remote work and highly dispersed workplaces, being able to drive teams to success is hugely dependent on this.”

The pandemic and servant leaders

“During times of uncertainty, employees want to feel connected to their leadership. They must be able to get emotional reassurance that their leaders will take care of them and the business when things are tough. Leaders with a servant leadership mindset were able to demonstrate this during the pandemic, as it came naturally to them to serve, to care, to be humble and be authentic,” he adds.

With a delayed rollout of vaccines in SA, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that SA’s local economy is likely only to expand by a mere 3.1% in 2021 and 2% in 2022.

“The slow recovery in SA will continue to put a severe strain on businesses. This will require leaders to look inward at what better they can do to effectively manage both their business and the people who help drive its success,” says Rossouw.

This also puts a massive spotlight on many of the fundamental components that help to build successful organisations. “This goes beyond just robust systems and structures. Often companies forget about one of the most important parts – the human element,” he clarifies.

“People make up organisations,” Rossouw explains. “As simple as this may be, this plays a significant role in shaping a positive employee experience, building a better workplace culture, and driving employee success – which in turn equals business success.”

“The ability of leadership to develop, maintain, and retain their unique culture over the life of a company is what leads to enduring success,” he says.

Rossouw says that an interesting reality is that money is not the prime motivator for many employees. “Instead, most would prefer working in an environment that fosters a healthy, high-performing culture that isn’t only obsessed with generating profit. Many of these employees love the family-like spirit in their organization and a shared purpose that keeps them motivated and inspired to perform at their best.”

Effective leaders understand the value of building a committed and engaged workforce. “The knock-on effect of this is that their employees eventually feel empowered enough to take on greater accountability,” he explains.

“By delegating authority to their employees, asking them for their input, and encouraging them to make their own decisions, it all leads to a more proactive workforce in which everyone is working towards building company success,” Rossouw adds.

An important marker, he explains, is that when leaders take time to both understand and appreciate the effort of their team members it not only shows care about their employees but also the outcomes they are producing.

“Being an effective leader ultimately helps to build clarity, alignment and trust in businesses in SA. Similar to the famous Stockdale Paradox, leaders on the one hand have to accept the current reality, but remain steadfast in the faith that they have that if they follow through things will eventually prevail.”

What leaders can do right now

Rossouw explains that there are three fundamental steps that business leaders can take today to improve connection, clarity and creativity:

  • In times of uncertainty, instil a caring culture and connect deeply with your team. Human beings are built for connection and more so when we are anxious. People face significant worries at the moment and have additional caring duties. This is not the time to feel isolated. Go out of your way to care deeply and be exceedingly human. You might not have definitive answers to every concern your team has, but don’t let that deter you from listening and connecting with your team.
  • Be clear about what your new short-term thematic goal and strategic priorities are. When you lead from afar, managing and inspiring your team can be difficult. Be persistent. Communicate with confidence and over-communicate with consistency to ensure everyone feels close to the heartbeat of the organisation. Your future direction may be unclear, but be clear about the processes you are going to be following and keep your team informed along the way.
  • Be creative. Find new routines and rhythms to ensure your processes, workflows, structures, meeting formats, roles and decision-making processes are still relevant and effective. In short, recognise what isn’t working and change fast. And be open to test, fail and learn quickly as we need to be agile to survive in these times.
  • Read more: Blogging is (still) the perfect side hustle
    Read more: Pixelsmith Studios opens digital marketplace for SA creatives

    Featured image: Mapbox via Unsplash

    Rossouw explains that one of the critical components that will help business owners navigate the rocky path ahead is effective leadership. “With the emergence of remote work and highly dispersed workplaces, being able to drive teams to success is hugely dependent on this.”

    Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/the-value-of-effective-servant-leadership-in-2021/

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