R ecently, the Botswana Stock Exchange(BSE) hosted a conference whose objective was to inspire local companies to take interest in listing on the local bourse. Opportunities abound indeed for entities that take this route.
Opportunities include among others, raising millions and millions of cash for growth. There is also no denying that during such a process, it is cashing time for investors in the would-be-listing company, leaving the directors millions of Pula richer as investment funds and ordinary share-buyers plough in their cash.
While there is definitely nothing wrong with the rich getting richer, listing on the bourse just for the sake of it should not be encouraged. For the sake of our investment funds and ordinary locals desperate to plough their cash, listing on the local bourse should be governed by strict code of ethics and corporate governance that guard against fly-by-night corporations who would turn the opportunity and calls for listing into a cash cow at the expense of the investors.
It would be ideal for the local bourse to build a reputation as the stock market where investors reap benefits.
The question, can the stock exchange be used to create success stories, should be at the back of the minds of promoters of the notion of listing on the stock exchange. It should not just be about doubling or tripling or quadrupling the number of listed entities. It should be about adding value, especially for the investor who pours their money into a listed entity in the hope of striking gold.
Perhaps the BSE would do well to encourage their already existing corporate clients to come out and share their success stories with the public. We need to hear more stories of ordinary men whose lives have been transformed by listing on the stock exchange. These would go a long way in inspiring others to follow the dream.
It would be unfortunate if after this exercise of wooing corporate entities to invest in the local bourse, such efforts are followed by broken hearts as fly-by-nights take advantage of the desperation to fleece their unsuspecting victims of their hard-earned cash.