FREEMANTLE - LIKE FATHER LIKE SON.
There is a double celebration in the Freemantle family this year. Eric Freemantle became a member of the Johanneburg Stock Exchange exactly 50 years ago and last week his son, Chris Freemantle, was elected president of the JSE.
Eric Freemantle built one of the biggest broking partnerships on the exchange. Chris has been its senior partner for long enough now to have proved [sic] himself a competent successor to his pioneering father.
Not surprisingly, Chris has built on most of the talents, which made his father successful. Eric Freemantle's most notable achievement was to sell South African equity market in Europe. His regular trips abroad brought millions of rands of revenue to the fast-growing South African economy. His contribution to the development of the South African economy is incalculable.
Chris has broadened the field to include America and the Far East. He is probably the best known South African - after Gary Player - in Wall Street where his contact with and addresses to institutions and security analysts have figured prominently in the commitment of American funds to gold shares.
His internationalism promises to play a big role in his term as president.
At 41 he is younger than most recent encumbents [sic] of the top spot in Hollard Street. This is not to suggest that he is not conservative. Who ever heard of a radical stockbroker?
But although he is steeped in the tradition of the exchange, his comparative youth and exposure to overseas influences, equip him well for the challenge of the next two years. He believes, thankfully, in good communications.
He is by nature a friendly and cooperative man and the flow of information from the president's office to members and the public will almost certainly improve during his term.
He believes that the members, the committee they elect and the representatives of the Registrar of Financial Institutions are all aiming for the same thing - a free and efficient auction market. He feels no threat from the registrar in the running of the exchange's business and points to a harmonious relationship between the committee and the registrar over the past five years.
Like his predecessor, Eric McKie, Chris Freemantle is concerned at the amount of business which is by-passing the market. He sympathises with the fund managers whose duty is to deal as cheaply as possible but notes that the exchange should reflect the supply and demand of the total market and not merely position of last resort.
The abolition of marketable securities tax on the selling leg is the obvious way to remedy the position, he says. And he takes it further by suggesting that the imposition of say three per cent duty on deals done outside the market would restore the exchange to the rightful place as the market of first resort without affecting the amount paid to the fiscus.
Chris Freemantle has little cheer for the immediate market outlook. The bullion market, which he describes as the crux of the economy, is headed for a static period, he says, while Americans and Europeans play their political games at the IMF auctions. But by next year, the new president thinks the market will be reflecting better things.