African Women To Watch: Capital Markets (Video)

African Women To Watch: Capital Markets
Stock markets across Africa have made steady progress across the last decade. Since 2002, Africa’s five leading exchanges have tripled the combined market capitalization of listed companies, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The dramatic surge in the size of Africa’s capital markets is due to various positive developments, including better corporate governance and improved technology, which have opened markets to both international and local investors.

Africa’s capital markets have enjoyed strong growth in 2014, with seven African exchanges showing gains in excess of 10 percent.

Africa is currently home to 29 exchanges and growing. Angola recently announced plans to open its stock exchange in 2015.


Nicky Newton-King, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Africa’s largest capital market

Nicky Newton-King, CEO, Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is Africa’s largest stock market with a market capitalization of around $522B, representing over 80% of Africa’s total market capitalization.

For the past four years in a row, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has been voted the best-regulated securities market in the world by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).

Newton-King started her career as a lawyer at one of South Africa’s largest legal firms, Webber Wentzel, where she became a Partner. She joined the JSE in 1996 and was appointed to the executive committee in 1997. By 2003, Newton-King had risen to the position of Deputy CEO of the JSE. Newton-King was appointed CEO of the exchange in January 2012, making her the first woman to be appointed JSE CEO.

“I was always going to be a lawyer. At the age of four, I knew I was going to be a lawyer. That was my path. And then my very first client as a lawyer, when I was an article clerk was the Johannesburg Stock Exchange,” says Newton-King. “I joined the JSE and three months after I joined it, the previous Chief Executive said to me, ‘Come, join my management team. Stop being a lawyer’; and the rest is history.”

As the first woman to head up the JSE, Newton-King has played an instrumental role in increasing diversity on the bourse. According to Newton-King, “The thing about diversity is that diversity is a strength. Having different perspectives around the table enables you to make better decisions on more complicated issues.”

As an advocate for the integration of African stock exchanges, Newton-King has joined forces with other large markets, like the Nigerian Stock Exchange, to encourage practices, like cross-listing, which gives issuing companies more liquidity and a greater ability to raise capital.

“This is Africa’s time. There definitely is increasing interest from investors for African investments,” says Newton-King.

About her management style, Newton-King says “I’m uncompromising on performance but I’m quite empathetic, which may sound like a contradiction in terms. I really believe in ‘Team’. I really don’t believe in ‘I’.”

Nicky Newton-King has been a Director of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) since October 28, 2014. She has been an Executive Director of JSE Limited since 2000. She serves as a Member of South Africa‘s Financial Markets Advisory Board and the Presidential Remuneration Commission.

Newton-King is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader (YGL) and Yale World Fellow (2006). She has served as a Non-Executive Director of Strate Limited. In 2003, she was voted South Africa’s Business Woman of the Year. She holds BA and LLB degrees from Stellenbosch University and an LLM degree from University of Cambridge.


Arunma Oteh, Director General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Arunma Oteh, Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria

The Nigerian Stock Exchange is Africa’s second-largest capital market, behind the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

When Arunma Oteh was appointed Director General of Nigeria‘s capital market regulator, the Security Exchange Commission (SEC), four years ago, her top priority was to clean up the system of corrupt practices like market rigging and share dumping.

“First was to understand the environment. Second was to develop a plan of what I would do differently to address those challenges; and third was to have around me the stakeholders who would support me in bringing about the change that we absolutely needed,” says Oteh, regarding her top priorities immediately after she joined the SEC.

Although Arunma Oteh did face significant resistance as she challenged the status quo of Nigeria’s capital markets, she is widely-regarded as having been successful in bringing a new level of credibility and stability to the markets. On her success in driving regulatory reform in Nigeria’s capital markets, Oteh says “I think you need more than credibility. You need to be someone, when you are leading change, who is on a mission. You need to be very clear as to what you want to achieve.”

Oteh credits her “early success” as critical to handling the resistance she faced on her mission to fix Nigeria’s capital markets. “I joined in January 2010 and it was important to immediately show success. We had an industry committee of experts that outlined what would make ‘world class’ a reality for Nigeria,” she says. Based on this blueprint, Oteh developed a plan for the SEC to lead execution of market reforms.

Arunma Oteh became Director General (DG) of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January 2010. She was nominated to this position by President Umaru Yar’Adua in July 2009 and confirmed by the Nigerian Senate in January 2010.

In her role as Director General of the SEC, Oteh has gained widespread domestic and international support and recognition as a reformer, primarily due to her role in curbing the widespread abuses in Nigeria’s capital market. For example, in August 2010, as a result of some of the identified market abuse issues, the SEC, led by Oteh, removed the leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a move that was considered to be one of the boldest in the history of the SEC.

Prior to leading the SEC, Arunma Oteh served as Group Vice President of Corporate Services at the African Development Bank (AfDB) from March 2006 to August 2009. In this role, she was in the most senior management position, after the AfDB President, and one of five Vice Presidents reporting to the President. Arunma Oteh was the first female Nigerian Vice President of the AfDB.

Arunma Oteh was the Group Treasurer of the AfDB from April 2001 to February 2006. In this role, she had overall responsibility for the Bank’s fund raising and investments in major international capital markets. She was managerially responsible for the supervision of four divisions in the AfDB’s Treasury Department and the execution of all payments associated with the Group’s activities. She also had responsibility for developing and marketing financial products to AfDB clients.

Prior roles held by Oteh at the African Development Bank include: Division Manager, Investments (1997-2001); Senior Investments and Capital Markets Officer (1993-1997); and Senior Financial Analyst, Public Sector Lending (1992-1993).

Before joining the African Development Bank, Arunma Oteh was a Consultant at Irving Skinner (1987-1988). She also worked as a Corporate Finance Officer and Acting Head of Management Information Systems at Centre Point Investments from 1985-1987.

Arunma Oteh studied at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Nigeria, earning a first class BSc honors degree in Computer Science. She went on to the Harvard Business School where she obtained an MBA. She is currently the Chair of the Africa & Middle East Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). She is a Board Member of Africa Investor.

In 2011, Oteh was made an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in “recognition of her contribution to economic development and to transforming the Nigerian capital markets”. In 2011 she received the “Distinction in Public Service” award from the Commonwealth Business Council/African Business.


Stella Kilonzo, Division Chief of the African Development Bank; Former CEO of Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and Chairwoman of the East African Securities Regulatory Authority (EASRA)

Stella Kilonzo, Division Chief of the African Development Bank; Former CEO of Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and Chairwoman of the East African Securities Regulatory Authority (EASRA)

Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is a statutory agency charged with the responsibility of regulating and developing efficient capital markets in Kenya. The East African Securities Regulatory Authority (EASRA) is an umbrella organization of capital markets regulators from countries of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

When Stella Kilonzo took on the role of CEO of Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in 2008, she also took on the role of Chairwoman of the region’s regulatory body, the East African Securities Regulatory Authority (EASRA).

In her role as EASRA Chairwoman, Kilonzo was an advocate for integration of the capital markets of the East African region. Kenya’s Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is the largest capital market in East Africa.

In 2012, Kilonzo spearheaded the Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS) of the Nairobi Securities Exchange. GEMS is a trading board specifically-targeted to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya, providing an alternative source of fund raising for such SMEs. GEMS enables SMEs to raise substantial initial and ongoing capital, while benefiting from increased profile and liquidity within a regulatory environment designed specifically to meet the needs of SMEs.

On Kilonzo’s role in working to integrate the capital markets of countries in the East African Community (EAC), she says “We were very excited in July 2010 when the Common Market Protocol was signed because it meant we could now work on the free movement of capital, free movement of our professional firms being recognized across East Africa.” Kilonzo recalls that during the process around the signing of the protocol, the demand for a centralized East African capital market became even more evident because of the numerous inquiries she fielded from companies requesting a one-stop shop to raise funds across multiple countries in the region.

Stella Kilonzo attended the Nairobi Campus of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), graduating with a 1st Class Honors BCom degree. She later attended Loyola University Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, where she secured an MBA, specializing in corporate finance. Kilonzo thereafter qualified as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

From 2000 – 2004, Stella Kilonzo worked as a Senior Compliance Examiner and Auditor at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the United States’ regulator for brokerage firms and exchange markets. She then returned to Nairobi, Kenya, to work at PwC as a Senior Associate from 2004-2005.

Kilonzo joined Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) as Acting CEO in December 2007. She became CEO of the CMA in July 2008. From 2008 to 2010, Kilonzo was the Chairwoman of the East African Securities Regulatory Authority (EASRA). Following four years as the CMA CEO, Kilonzo declined consideration to serve a second four-year term as CEO and stepped down on 30 June 2012.

In September 2012, Stella Kilonzo founded Astute Capital, a strategic advisory firm specializing in Africa with a focus on capital markets, infrastructure, corporate governance, and private capital. She ran the firm as Managing Director through November 2013.

Since December 2013, Kilonzo has worked as Division Chief for Capital Markets and Financial Sector Development at the African Development Bank (AfDB). She is presently based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Stella Kilonzo has served as a Non-Executive Director at UBA Capital, Athi River Mining, and Liberty Holdings Kenya.

In December 2010, she was awarded the Moran of the Order of Burning Spear (MBS) by the President of Kenya “in recognition of distinguished service rendered to the nation of Kenya in capital markets development and in being a role model for the youth.”

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