GSE embraces data-driven modernization to meet market demands

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By Joshua Worlasi AMLANU

In a bid to keep pace with global financial market trends, the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) is embarking on an ambitious journey of modernization and data-driven transformation.

The GSE’s commitment to data-driven modernization reflects a broader trend among African exchanges to enhance transparency, efficiency, and competitiveness in the global financial landscape.

This strategic shift was highlighted by Abena Amoah, Managing Director of the GSE, during a panel discussion at the Building African Financial Markets (BAFM) Seminar held by the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) in South Africa.

She emphasized the critical role of client demand in driving this change.

“I’d say that the why is really because my clients need it. My clients demand it,” she stated, underlining the importance of transparency in today’s financial markets. “In today’s world, we say we are running transparent markets. And transparent markets means us as exchanges providing that transparency in ways that help our stakeholders.”

The GSE’s modernization efforts aim to cater to a diverse range of stakeholders, including stockbrokers, fund managers, and issuers.

Ms. Amoah explained, “They need insights into what is driving their share price, how people are interacting with their corporate announcements.”

This push for greater transparency and data accessibility is seen as crucial for maintaining competitiveness in an increasingly democratized market landscape.

The exchange’s journey towards modernization began in 2007 with the automation of processes and the establishment of data centers. However, Ms. Amoah noted that recent market demands have accelerated this transformation.

“That journey is escalating now because of today’s need for speed, for transparency, for efficiency and for democratization access,” she said.

Over the past year, the GSE has undertaken a comprehensive review of its data policies and licensing agreements. Amoah described this process as involving intense negotiations with data licensees and the development of new data contracts. The focus has been on determining the appropriate structure and granularity of data to enable powerful analytics.

While acknowledging the challenges of implementing new technologies, particularly their cost and foreign currency implications, Amoah stressed the importance of strategic partnerships.

“Working with technology partners that are willing to grow with us… is important,” she said, highlighting collaborations with established partners and emerging fintech companies in Ghana.

The GSE’s modernization strategy extends beyond mere technological upgrades. Amoah envisions a holistic transformation of the market, including the digitization of primary market activities.

“How are we digitizing even the primary market space? Are we going to run IPOs that we’ve done for God knows how many years?” she questioned, suggesting a rethink of traditional processes.

Ms. Amoah cautioned against viewing technology as a panacea, emphasizing the need for targeted solutions. “What problem are we solving for? Is everything going to be hit with the same solution?” she asked, urging a thoughtful approach to technology adoption.

As the GSE continues its modernization journey, the focus remains on adding value for stakeholders and driving market growth.

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