Barclays Africa Goes Live on EquiLend

EquiLend expects increased demand for its services in South Africa due to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange moving toward shorter settlement cycles.

Johannesburg-based Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa, has become South Africa’s first domestic bank to execute a securities finance trade on the EquiLend trading platform. The move marks a progression toward the automation of Absa’s trading and post-trade processes, enabling it to mitigate risk and increase efficiency in trade settlements through automation.

In addition, the Absa-EquiLend partnership allows global market participants greater access to the South African financial services market.

"Partnering with EquiLend was a natural step for Barclays Group Africa in becoming the ‘go-to' prime brokerage business," says Francois Henrion, head of equity finance within Absa's Prime Services business.

EquiLend Holdings ─ founded in 2001 and owned by a consortium of financial institutions, including BlackRock, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Clearing, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, State Street and UBS ─ is designed to optimize efficiencies in the securities finance industry. It provides its clients with services stemming from the standardization, centralization and automation of front- and back-office processes, along with tools designed to assist firms in mitigating the risks created by complex trade settlements.

EquiLend anticipates a growing clientele in South Africa due to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange moving toward a shorter securities settlement cycle, from the current T+5 (trade day plus five days) cycle to T+3, thus increasing the pressure on firms to optimize their trade settlements.

"As EquiLend's global footprint continues to expand, we are constantly aware of our clients' demands to bring the automation and efficiency gains seen for users of our platform to new markets," explains Brian Lamb, CEO of EquiLend. "We have seen significant interest among domestic market participants in South Africa, who are keen to elevate their international presence by joining the EquiLend platform. We anticipate considerable growth in this market going forward."

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