Money and Markets

No, the JSE did not kill our plan for a cryptocurrency fund, says Sygnia's Magda Wierzycka

Business Insider SA
(Picture: Getty Images)
  • Sygnia Asset Managers are among a growing number of investment firms interested in crytocurrency-based exchange-traded-funds (ETFs).
  • The firm was reported to have made an application to the JSE to list a crytocurrency ETFs – only to be met with rejection.
  • CEO Magda Wierzycka rejects talk of rejection – but says by law she can't talk about exactly what happened.
  • The JSE likewise cites client confidentiality on such applications.

Asset management firm Sygnia was this week reported to have failed in its attempt to list a cryptocurrency fund on the JSE.

Sygnia supposedly applied to the JSE to list an exchange-traded fund (EFT) that tracks returns on digital currencies – only to be rejected.

But Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka tells Business Insider South Africa that isn't so.

"The Financial Mail is incorrect in stating that the JSE has rejected our application," she says of the report.

Sygnia does have a cryptocurrency fund for institutional investors, which it intends to launch more formally in the next month.

Whether the firm intends on listing it on the JSE or not is information that the public is currently not privy to; the JSE's director of issuer regulation, John Burke tells Business Insider SA the JSE does not comment on any regulatory engagements concerning its clients.

Magda Wierzycka, CEO of Sygnia Group. (Picture: Getty Images)

"I cannot, by law, comment on whether we do or don’t [intend on listing a cryptocurrency ETF on the JSE]," says Wierzycka.

However, "we have been active investors in crypto for a while. We have big plans around this space which we will communicate as part of our results presentation," she says.

A crypto EFT listing of this nature would mark a significant development for such currencies in SA – but the JSE is sceptical about crypto-related products in general.

"The JSE, like other international stock exchanges and regulators with whom we have engaged, has some concerns regarding the robustness and transparency of the various spot markets in crypto currencies," said Burke, repeating comments first made to Financial Mail.

The bourse believes these concerns need to be discussed and agreed at a national level before crypto products should be listed and subsequently acquired by retail investors and their pension funds, he said.

The exchange's sceptical stance on cryptos puts it in good company locally.

In February, governor of the Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago told Business Insider SA that cryptos can never be an alternative to existing currencies.

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