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The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has frozen the trading of over 750 million shares, which have not been converted from paper securities certificates to electronic form under the Central Securities Depository (CSD).


The CSD was introduced in 2008 as a computer system that facilitates the holding of securities in electronic accounts in contrast to paper certificates that the exchange had been using.


Deadline for dematerialisation of shares was March 31, 2016 and the BSE says all the shares that have not been transferred to the CSD have now been placed into a dormant account where they cannot be traded.


“As at the deadline date, there were 752,757,723 shares that have not been dematerialised constituting about 6.7 percent of the shares held in the CSD.


“The shares have been deposited into a non-trading omnibus account where they cannot be traded until they are transferred to the CSD.


“We continue sending out public notices in newspapers to encourage investors to dematerialise,” CSD manager, Masego Pheto told Business Week. For the shares to be transferred, a shareholder needs to open a CSD account with a stockbroker where after the shares can be transferred for a facilitation fee of P28.


The CSD currently holds over 12 billion shares


from about 60,000 account holders, with a significant number of them coming from the recent listing of the BTCL on the local bourse.


After breaking records with an all-time high of P3 billion worth of shares traded in 2015, the BSE looks to be geared for another bull market this year on the back of product diversification and bourse transformational initiatives.


Despite the number of listed counters having reduced by two on the domestic main board due to the delisting of ABCH and FSG, market capitalisation of the BSE’s domestic board increased by 8.7 percent from P46.2 billion at the end of 2014 to P50.2 billion at the end of 2015, representing growth and value addition to investor portfolios. During 2015, 803.0 million shares were traded. The trades yielded a record P3 billion in turnover. This was the highest amount ever recorded in the history of the BSE and it overshadows the previous record of P2.3 billion in 2013, whose closest comparative was P2.2 billion in 2014.