Sowetan Dialogue discussion hears that schemes available on JSE should be regarded as long-term investments

A recent Sowetan Dialogue, in association with JSE Investor Services, put the spotlight on what is required to build a more financially inclusive economy and, in particular, BEE share ownership schemes, as a vehicle to achieving financial inclusivity.

JSE Investor Services, a subsidiary company of JSE Group, is a leading share registry, custody and investor services provider, responsible for maintaining the registers of listed and unlisted companies, including JSE top 40 companies, with more than 1.2- million shareholder records under management.

JSE Investor Services chief operating officer Carol Crozier said that raising awareness of the opportunities around BEE share schemes was a necessary conversation.

The schemes aim to give previously disadvantaged South Africans the opportunity to own a stake in a company and participate in its growth. There are at present four BEE share schemes listed on the JSE.

Sameera Khan, the company secretary at YeboYethu, said BEE share schemes had been around for some years in SA and had seen some success. They provide previously disadvantaged South Africans with affordable access to companies in an effort to help SA become a financially inclusive country. Khan is a chartered accountant who has been responsible for corporate governance and statutory compliance at a number of companies, trusts and B-BBEE schemes over the years.

Hartwell Tshuma, head of the employee share schemes division at William Radcliffe, a company secretarial and statutory services company that specialises in employee share ownership plans and B-BBEE schemes, said most BEE share schemes had lock-in periods where shareholders had a limited ability or were unable to trade their shares.

The more shares an individual holds, the higher their dividend payments, so an attractive option is to hold on to shares and derive the longer-term benefits.

Chartered accountant Busi Silwanyana, chairman of the audit committee at YeboYethu, said BEE share schemes were open only to qualifying previously disadvantaged individuals and groups. Shareholders have to monitor the performance of their shares and ensure their details are up to date so that dividend payments can be made to them.

Lucy Mofokeng, share schemes co-ordinator at SAB, explained that BEE share schemes had to be regarded as long-term investments.

Mofokeng has worked with BBBEE share schemes for the past decade and was involved with the B-BBEE SAB Zenzele Kabili listing in May 2021 that replaced SAB Zenzele after it was phased out upon maturity. Over its decade-long existence, SAB Zenzele — the largest B-BBEE share scheme in the fast-moving consumer goods sector in SA — reached a total maturation rate of R9.7bn and benefited more than 40,000 shareholder beneficiaries.

There are a number of BEE schemes available, with a limited number listed on the JSE.