What are Capital Markets? Capital markets are like any other markets, but differ in terms of the products
traded and their organization. Capital markets deal with the trading of
securities. Capital markets provide avenue where companies can raise funds
to expand on their businesses or establish new ones by issuing securities
owned by the companies. Like businesses in the private sector, Government
issue its securities to raise funds in capital markets to build electricity damn, construct new roads, bridges by issues.
What are Securities? Securities are financial instruments or legal documents signifying either an
ownership position in a company (i.e. shares) or a creditor relationship with a
company or government (i.e. Stocks and bonds).
What are Stocks, Bonds and Shares? Stocks and bonds are long-term fixed interest bearing securities issued by
Government and companies. When one invests in stocks and bonds, one
gets interest income, which is paid periodical y until the loan matures or is
called back by the issuer. The holder of stocks and bonds gets interest even if
Shares represent part-ownership in a business concern. Shareholders,
therefore, between them own the company, have a vote in how it's affairs are run and if the company makes profit, they are entitled to a share of it.
However, the dividend which shareholders receive is dependent on the
company's profitability and management decisions such as company shares,
bonds issued by governments in private companies, units in Col ective
Investment Schemes, debentures, commercial paper and notes.
How are shares bought and sold?
Shares can be bought either from the primary or secondary market.
Primary Market refers to the purchase of shares in an Initial Public Offering
(IPO), whereby a company offers its shares to members of the public for the
first time. During an IPO, shares are bought through the selling agents or
banks of the company issuing the shares. In the secondary market, the purchase and sale of shares is done through the
What Is A Stock Exchange
The Stock Exchange is one of the institutions in the Capital markets. It is an
organized market in securities (shares, stocks and bonds). On this market,
individuals and companies can buy shares of companies through Licensed
Dealing Member (Stockbrokers) of the Stock Exchange and hence become
part- owners or shareholders of these companies. Similarly, individuals or companies through Stockbrokers can buy stocks and bonds of other
companies and the Government, and become lenders to or creditors of
Any individual or company who at one time or the other lent money or
bought shares through the Stock Exchange can also sell back the relevant
shares or stocks through the stock Exchange at any time.
The Stock Exchange has its rules and regulations which govern it. These rules
and regulations are designed to protect al market participants, including the individual who puts up some funds to invest.
Are there any other Schemes available in Capital Markets?
Yes, Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) such as Mutual Funds or Unit Trusts.
These are formalised system of Community Savings Schemes otherwise known
as Osusu. The CIS allows individuals to make periodic contributions of various
What Is A Unit Trust Scheme?
It is a vehicle established to enable many small investors pool their funds
together and enjoy the benefits of diversification and professional
management at low cost without impairing the liquidity and safety of the investment. In some jurisdictions it is called Mutual Fund.
There are two types of unit trust schemes: open-ended and close-ended.
What Is The Difference Between Unit Trust And Mutual Fund? Mutual Fund is another name for Unit Trust in some jurisdictions e.g. the United
What is Community Savings Scheme?
Community Savings Schemes otherwise known as Osusu is the informal way
of capital formation by traders or other individuals by making periodic
contributions of various amounts. These schemes are used by low income
earners to acquire assets, initial capital for petty trading, etc. However some
people have lost their meagre savings in these schemes as some of the collectors vanish after collecting the money of their victims.
The Osusu schemes will therefore stand to benefit from the development of a capital market which will provide the enabling environment for the effective
and secure operation of the schemes which are registered with recognised
regulatory body, like the Bank of Sierra Leone.
What Are The Benefits To Be Gained By A Formalised Community Savings Scheme?
- The business will be recognized by Government
- Access to free investment and financial advice
- Opportunity to participate in capital market operations
- Builds confidence and attracts more contributors.
What Does The Saver Stand To Gain By Saving With A Registered Collector?
- Savings will be more secured by maintaining proper records by the
- A saver will be assisted in locating his collector should he abscond
- A saver will have a wider choice of collectors.
What Are The Potential Advantages Of Investing In Collective Investment Schemes?
There are many advantages for investing in Collective Investment Schemes.
Investing in a number of different securities helps reduce the risk of investing.
When the investor buys a share/unit in a fund, he/she buys an interest in a
portfolio of dozens of different securities, giving him/her instant diversification,
at least within the type of securities held by the fund. For example, a portfolio made up of shares from various companies is a good example of
With many funds, the investor can begin buying shares/units with a relatively small amount of money (e.g. about Le.50,000 for the initial purchase). Some
funds allow investors to buy more shares on a regular basis with even smaller
Mutual funds/Unit trusts are managed by professionals who are experienced in investing money and who have the skills and resources to research many
different investment opportunities. Investors in these funds, therefore, get
access to the professional management of their funds.
Shares of CIS can be redeemed at any time.
Many fund management companies administer several different funds. (e.g.
money market, fixed-income, growth, balanced and international funds) and
allow the investor to switch between funds within their ‘fund family’ at little or
no charge. This can enable the investor change the balance of his portfolio as his personal needs or market conditions change.
The bid and offer prices of CIS are reported in the press and on many internet sites as obtains in other markets, allowing the investor to continually monitor
How are Investors Protected
There are rules and regulations governing al participants in the market.
Companies must meet certain conditions before approval to issue shares or
debt instruments to the public and list on the Exchange, is granted.
What role do capital markets play in an economy?
Capital markets have an important role to play in stimulating economic
development. The following are some of the examples:
Capital markets help mobilize domestic savings, hence facilitating the reallocation of financial resources from dormant to more productive
Capital markets provide an avenue for the divestiture of State Owned
Enterprises (SOEs), whereby shares in these companies may be sold
through the Stock exchange, allowing members of the public to participate in the ownership of these companies. The privatization of
SOEs through a stock exchange helps to broaden the asset base by
providing a means through which ordinary citizens can acquire a share
Companies have the opportunity to raise long-term finance through
equity and debt financing (issuing shares and bonds respectively).
Members of the public are given an opportunity to buy shares or bonds
providing them with an alternative method of investing their savings.
Capital raised through the issue of shares, bonds or other instruments
can be invested by the company to expand production, invest in more efficient productive processes and improve competitiveness.
Increased investment by companies will lead to employment
expansion, income generation, and with a larger percentage of the
population earning income, savings and consumption will increase resulting in a cycle of increased investment, increased production,
enhanced economic growth and wealth creation.
Through full disclosure requirements, companies are encouraged to
observe better accounting and management practices, hence
leading to greater transparency in the business sector and lower incidences of corruption. This will lead to good corporate governance.
Capital markets enhance the inflow of international capital when
international investors participate in debt and equity instruments.
What developments have taken place in the Sierra Leone’s Capital Markets Industry so far?
The capital markets industry in Sierra Leone is in its infancy. There are
however, shares of at least six public companies that can be traded in the capital market. These companies include:
Two discount houses, First Discount House and Capital Discount House have
been established to serve as players in the market. First Discount House has
already done Over The Counter Trading (OTC) in shares of Rokel Commercial
Bank (SL) Ltd. and Sierra Leone Brewery Ltd.
Going public and trading on the OTC market is normally seen as a stepping
stone to seeking trade on the stock exchange.
How do companies benefit from capital markets?
A share issue allows companies to increase the equity base of the company
and raise capital without bearing the burden of interest payments associated with borrowed funds.
Full disclosure requirements encourage companies to observe good business
and management practices and ensure better corporate governance,
benefiting not just the firm but the economy as a whole.
The public profile of the company is improved thus attracting greater business
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