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JSE Overview

Who we are

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (“JSE”) located at 1 Exchange Square, 2 Gwen Lane, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa. The JSE offers secure, efficient primary and secondary capital markets across a diverse range of securities, supported by our post-trade and regulatory services. We are the market of choice for local and international investors looking to gain exposure to the leading capital markets in South Africa and the broader African continent.

The JSE is currently ranked the 19th largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation and the largest exchange in the African continent.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange located at 1 Exchange Square, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa


The JSE was formed in 1887 during the first South African gold rush. Following the first legislation covering financial markets in 1947, the JSE joined the World Federation of Exchanges in 1963 and upgraded to an electronic trading system in the early 1990s. The bourse demutualised and listed on its own exchange in 2005.

In 2003, we launched an alternative exchange, AltX, for small and mid-sized listings, followed by the Yield X for interest rate and currency instruments. The JSE then acquired the South African Futures Exchange (SAFEX) in 2001 and the Bond Exchange of South Africa (BESA) in 2009. Today we offer five financial markets namely Equities and Bonds as well as Financial, Commodity and Interest Rate Derivatives. ​​​​

Our historical development


  • The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (the JSE) was founded by Benjamin Wollan on 8 November 1887.
  • Johannesburg Chambers and Company (Benjamin’s company) was the first company to list.


  • The second JSE building was built on the same site as the original building in Simmons Street.
  • Trading activities spilled over into the street, which the mining commissioner then closed to traffic by means of chains. That is why, for many years thereafter, the heading to the stock exchange price list in The Star newspaper was “between the chains”.


  • DRD listed on the exchange, the oldest company remaining listed to date.


  • SABMiller (SA Breweries) listed on the exchange, the second oldest listed company.


  • The third building opened in Hollard Street, which became the financial centre of Johannesburg, and was to remain so for nearly half of the century.


  • Pretoria Portland Cement Company Ltd (PPC) was listed.


  • Sappi Ltd was listed.


  • Barloworld Ltd was listed.


  • Tiger Brands was listed.


  • The Stock Exchange Control Act was promulgated.


  • The JSE was admitted to the World Federation of Exchanges (WEF).


  • Computerised clearing house based weekly settlement was instituted.
  • A new law ruling that scrip had to be delivered or paid for within 7 business days of the transaction came into force.


  • Property Unit Trusts were introduced in South Africa, and two established trusts were listed on the JSE.


  • Max Borkum was elected chairman of the exchange.

1978 – 1979

  • An amendment to Stock Exchange Control Act allowed broking firms to become incorporated.
  • Companies with unlimited liability of directors and shareholders.


  • The JSE Schools Challenge was introduced and schools began to participate.
  • The JSE became the centralised market for all trading in securities.


  • The JSE relocated to 17 Diagonal Street, Newtown, Johannesburg.


  • The Stock Exchanges Control Act of 1985 was promulgated.


  • The Gilts trading floor was opened.


  • The South African bond market was formalised under the Bond Market Association (BMA).
  • SA Breweries was the first corporate to issue a bond.


  • The JSE became a founder member of the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA).


  • A researched report into the structure of the JSE was published in May 1994.


  • Parliament approved the amendment of Stock Exchange Control Act of 1985 in September.
  • Introduction of corporate and qualified membership.
  • Corporate broking membership with limited liability was introduced (supplementing sole traders, partnerships and unlimited liability corporate membership). However, member firms were to be the trading entity and not the individual.
  • Foreign members were allowed to operate.


  • In May 1996, the Bond market was passed from the JSE to the Bond Exchange of South Africa and the latter was licensed as a financial market in terms of the Financial Markets Act.
  • At 16:00 on Friday 7 June, the final bell rung for the close of trade on the trading floor, ending 108 years of open outcry trading.
  • The open outcry trading floor was replaced by an automated trading platform known as the Johannesburg Equities Trading (JET) system. Monday 10 June saw all trade conducted on the JET system.
  • Dual trading and negotiated brokerage commissions were introduced.


  • The electronic clearing and settlement concept, Shares Transactions Totally Electronic (Strate) was introduced.
  • Closer links with SADC bourses was initiated.
  • On 18 August, realtime news service for the dissemination of company announcements and price sensitive information known as the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) was introduced.
  • The JSE Listings Requirements were amended to accommodate the introduction of SENS.
  • Warrants were introduced on the JSE by Deutsche Bank in October.


  • In January 1999, the Insider Trading Act was promulgated with recommendations from the King Task Group, which included JSE representatives.


  • The JSE relocated to Exchange Square in Sandton in September.
  • The first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) in South Africa – known as Satrix40, was listed on the Exchange on 27 November 2000 – tracking the performance of the ALSI40 index.


  • In May 2001. The South African Futures Exchange (Safex) and JSE members agreed to the acquisition of the business of Safex by the JSE.
  • Trading volume reached 58 000 during futures close-out in March.


  • The JSE implemented the FTSE/JSE Africa Index series


  • The JSE launched the Alternative Exchange, simply known as Altx. It is now known as the Growth Board.


  • The Securities Services Act was promulgated, replacing the Stock Exchanges Control Act and the Financial Markets Control Act.
  • The Social Responsibility Index (SRI) launched in May 2004, seeking to measure companies’ policies, performance and reporting in relation to the three pillars of the triple bottom line (environmental, economic and social sustainability).


  • The JSE demutualised and incorporated in South Africa as the JSE Limited (a public unlisted company) on 1 July 2005.


  • JSE Ltd listed on its own exchange on 5 June.


  • The JSE listed Single Stock Futures on Microsoft and Google, allowing retail investors to trade in the two American companies without using their R2m foreign allowance.


  • Phase 1 of the alliance agreement of BRICS member exchanges launched on 30 March 2012, offering to trade in benchmark equity index derivatives in local currencies on each BRICS member’s exchange.
  • Millennium trading platform project ended in July, as the trading platform was repatriated from the London Stock Exchange.


  • The Financial Markets Act, No 19 of 2012, replaced the Securities Services Act, No 34 of 2004.
  • The JSE launched its public online virtual trading game in June.
  • Phase one of the move to T+3 was implementedin July 2013.


  • Launched Colocation Centre.


  • Launch of FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index Series.


  • T+3 implementation, Launch of Information Services, Launch of Equity Market Enhancements, Cape Town office launched.
Launched Colocation Centre and new JSE visual identity.

Our Markets

South Africa has mature capital markets that serve the domestic economy and the wider continent. As one of the world’s 20 largest exchanges by market capitalisation ($1,007bn at end-2013) and the largest exchange in Africa, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange strives to offer secure, efficient primary and secondary capital markets across a diverse range of instruments, supported by cost-effective services.

Equity market

While a number of heavyweights like British American Tobacco (BAT), SABMiller, GlencoreXstrata and BHP Billiton account for a large share of the market, The Exchange​ caters for a diverse variety of offerings. There are almost 400 companies listed on The Exchange across the Main Board and AltX.

The JSE index series is called the FTSE/JSE Africa Index Series, and is a partnership between JSE and the FTSE Group. The two benchmark indices are the FTSE/JSE All Share Index, covering 99% of market capitalisation, and the FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index which tracks the top listings in a representative spread of sectors.

South African bond market

South Africa’s interest rate market is the largest on the continent. The majority of South African bonds are issued government and state owned entities but the number of corporate bonds issued is growing.

The JSE also offers a variety of Bond-based Derivatives, including Bond futures, Forward-rate Agreements, Vanilla Swaps and standard bond options. The Exchange hopes to attract new bond issuers to the bourse, seeking to partner with other African exchanges with a dual-issuance model. In November 2012, the Namibian government floated a R850m ($78m) 10-year bond priced at 8.26%, the first tranche of a R3bn ($275.2m) programme, and the JSE hopes to encourage other African countries to list debt on The Exchange.


The JSE offers trading of a variety of Derivatives, including Futures and Options on Equities, Bonds, Indices, Interest Rates, Currencies and Commodities. The JSE was ranked the 6th largest exchange by number of Single Stock Futures traded and 9th by the number of Currency Derivatives traded in 2012 in the World Federation of Exchanges Annual Derivatives Market Survey.


There are 62 equities members, 120 Equity Derivatives members, 92 Commodity Derivatives members and 102 Interest Rate and Currency Derivatives members licensed in South Africa, a mix of local and international operations.


The JSE has undertaken major technological upgrades over the past few years on a consistent drive to upgrade trading, clearing and settlement which is still continuing. In July 2012, the JSE implemented a new trading platform the Millennium Exchange in the Equity Market, while at the same time moving the trading system from London to Johannesburg. Following this successful transition, trades can now be executed up to 400 times faster than under the previous TradElect system. The change allows for increased liquidity and more algorithmic traders.


The JSE is the frontline regulator for the exchange, setting and enforcing listing and membership requirements and trading rules. The Financial Services Board (FSB) supervises the JSE in the performance of its regulatory duties.

The regulatory landscape is set to change significantly in the future, as South Africa looks to implement a twin peaks model of oversight. Under the new system, prudential supervision will be transferred to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and market conduct regulation will be led by a bolstered FSB.

South Africa is currently ranked 1st in the world in terms of regulation of securities exchanges in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Survey for 2013-2014. This is an accolade for both the JSE and its regulators.

Foreign listings

Another regulatory change that could have widespread implications is the 2011 decision to alter South Africa’s inward listing rules, allowing foreign domiciled companies to be treated as domestic listings. While foreign firms had been allowed to list on the JSE since 2004, they were previously subject to foreign exchange rules, which limited the amount of these equities that local investors could hold. The lifting of these restrictions has been an important regulatory shift for The Exchange and makes the JSE a more attractive listings destination. ​​​​​



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