Figures released by the World Federation of Exchanges for the first three months of 2020 show that the largest year-on-year growth in market cap to end-March 2020 was recorded by MERJ, the Seychelles national exchange.
The trading venue grew by a staggering 373.60% in US dollar terms, followed by the Saudi Exchange (Tadawul) with 260.10%. In 2019, the MERJ Exchange saw the value of its listings more than triple to over $1 billion.
MERJ is one of the few exchanges to embrace blockchain and tokenisation as key building blocks. Most recently, it inked a deal with CurioInvest which will see interest in collectable cars represented as security tokens.
Looking ahead, Bobby Brantley, CEO and co-founder, MERJ, sees tokenisation entering mainstream issuance. “We very much feel that all securities are eventually going to be issued on this type of platform,” he told The TRADE. “We can already support companies that are issuing pure equity or debt instruments, but we do actually have quite a few people approaching us to create special purpose vehicles in which the equity interest can be tokenised.”
One of MERJ’s imminent milestones will be a direct access model that will lower trading costs for qualified participants and their clients.
The exchange is currently an affiliate member of the World Federation of Exchanges. “One of the last criteria that we have yet to meet is for our own regulator to become a full member of IOSCO,” added Brantley. “We have submitted their full membership application. Once that’s approved, we’ll immediately be launching on our application for full membership.” In the meantime, he stresses, “We’re a fully-fledged regulated exchange, targeting both retail and institutional investors.”
Meanwhile, as a member of both the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA) and the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE), MERJ is also looking to Africa for future regional listings. “We are definitely trying to bring investment opportunities to people in Africa,” says Jim Needham, head of digital strategy, MERJ. “One of the great things about the use of distributed ledger technology is that it integrates brilliantly with the mobile phone. The mobile phone’s got pretty high levels of penetration in Africa. I think that is a big part of story too.”
MERJ has been live since August 2013.