Capital Markets in Zimbabwe

Regulatory Structure

The Securities Act [Chapter 24:25] promulgated in 2004 and operationalised in 2008, repealed the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Act [Chapter 24:18] thereby marking an end to self-regulation in capital markets. At the helm of Zimbabwe’s capital markets regulation is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SECZ) as the apex regulator. In line with the Securities Act, SECZ:

  • regulates trading and dealing in securities
  • registers, supervises, and regulates securities exchanges
  • license, supervise and regulate licensed capital markets players

The Capital Markets

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)

Presently the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s capital markets with a history dating back as far as 1896. It is one of the oldest and highly diversified exchanges in Africa given listings spanning across all key sectors of the economy. It is the fourth most liquid exchange in Sub Saharan Africa.

Even though the ZSE is not yet automated, plans are underway to modernise the exchange and work has already begun on acquiring an Automated Trading System (ATS) while the establishment of a Central Securities Depository (CSD) is at an advanced stage. Trading is done once a day during an open outcry call-over session from 1000hrs to 1130hrs. Trades have a 7 day settlement period.

With a market capitalisation of about USD5.5 billion, the ZSE has an average daily turnover of + USD1.5 million and an average of 75 trades / day. The ZSE has two indices, the Mining Index (comprising mining companies) and the Industrial Index (comprising all companies other than mining companies). Market performance since dollarization in February 2009 is about 300% and a Year to Date (YTD) return of 38%.

Intermediaries

The market’s intermediary base is supported by 14 Securities Dealing firms, 40 Securities Dealers, 5 Custodians, 3 Transfer Secretaries, 20 Financial Advisors, 16 Asset Managers and 38 Collective Investment Schemes (Unit Trust Funds).

Issuers

Although bonds do exist, none are currently trading on the ZSE hence the market is dominated by trades in ordinary shares. There are 68 listed counters of which 4 are currently under suspension.

Investors

Local investors are split into retail and institutional investors whereby the institutional base is dominated by the pension fund, insurance and local asset management industries. Currently, foreign investors are mostly in the form of fund managers and these are allowed to trade through members of the exchange. However, foreign investor transactions are limited to 10% per individual shareholder and 49% collectively on each listed company in line with Exchange Control Regulations and the Indigenisation requirements.

Taxation

Various taxes applicable to investments on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange:

DescriptionTax
Stamp Duty on purchase of shares 0.25%
Capital Gains Withholding Tax (CGT) on proceeds 1%
Withholding Tax on dividends 10%
Value Added Tax (VAT) on brokerage 15%

Investor Protection

An investor Protection Fund was established in 2009 as a last line of defence meant to provide an additional layer of protection to investors against prejudices resulting from market malpractices.