In the week in which the BSE welcomed into its fold another ITF, - Newplat – the bourse’s deputy CEO Thapelo Tsheole opens up to about how he has notched up a fulfilling career in shaping the company. KEITEBE KGOSIKEBATHO reports
With 13 years experience in the financial sector and still going strong, it would seem the sky is the limit for Thapelo Tsheole, the current Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).
Tsheole broke into the financial sector of Botswana at a tender age of 26 as a Settlement Supervisor at the country’s reserve bank, Bank of Botswana. Though this was on its own right a challenging position as it entailed supervision of settlement of foreign currency and securities transactions relating to the Bank’s investment activities and execution of foreign currency payments, Tsheole stayed with the bank for only seven years and moved on.
He holds a degree in Economics from the University of Botswana, which is his first degree acquired in 2000. Upon which he started working for Bank of Botswana who then sent him to further his studies in South Africa in 2007 where he attained a Masters degree in financial markets at Rhodes University. This qualification, he says, addresses the technical side of dealing with capital markets. This qualification prepared him for his next job as Product Development Manager at the BSE.
Under this post, he was charged with developing, implementing and promoting new products. He had to develop strategies in consultation with the CEO for the development of the Exchange to enhance the risk return options offered by the BSE to investors. Tsheole was also during this period responsible for offering a diversity of products for companies to raise capital, and contribute to enhancing market capitalisation and liquidity.
The position also required Tsheole to monitor the product innovation activities of regional and international exchanges and make recommendations on how BSE can enhance its own competitiveness nationally and internationally to attract investor interest and ensure tracking of national and regional stock exchanges for development in asset classes. Tsheole also contributed to capital markets development policy and regulation under this position.
It would seem during the seven years he held the position, Tsheole impressed so much that he was elevated to the position of Deputy CEO in February this year. Though he still executes and oversees product management, he now works hand in hand with the CEO in exploring local and global opportunities for BSE, looking at strategic initiatives that can enable the BSE to grow.
During his stay at the BSE, Tsheole also enrolled for a Master of Business Administration which he completed last year from the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town. This qualification was the young executive’s self-funded initiative. Explaining this occurrence, Tsheole says he wanted to attain extra skills in certain aspects of his career such as leadership, people’s management and business management.
All his qualifications, he says, are by far the best qualifications for the job he is doing, the sector he operates in and the position he is holding. “With a strong economic background coupled by an advanced degree which is very specific to financial markets and an MBA from a good university like UCT, one can never ask for any other combination to manage,” Tsheole acclaims, almost in self-praise for his foresight.
He also have several financial markets industry qualifications attained during the course of his professional career one of them being Registered Persons Examination (RPE) attained from the South African Institute of Financial Markets (SAIFM), which is part of the JSE. He also took the Agricultural Products Dealers Examination from the JSE‘s Financial Derivatives Divisions (SAFEX) and also did some training at EuroMoney Bond School- Hong Kong.
According to Tsheole, though the local stock market is at a development stage, the bourse has performed impressively and had grown over the years. Investor participation in the BSE has increased from less than three percent to about eight percent to 13 percent as at 2013.Product development and participation of investors has also grown.
He is also of the view that more Batswana are partaking in the initiatives offered by the BSE than before. Retail participation has also grown well.
Tsheole says it feels great to be given an opportunity to head a company of BSE’s calibre and this on its own right is an honour. Being young as some would put is an even extra honour, according to the Mochudi-born high flyer. “I think it shows a lot of confidence in my skills and abilities,” he said.
When he joined the BSE, Tsheole says he wanted to sell their product and advance strategies in expanding initiatives. Currently among the many achievements that decorate his resume include leading the process of the BSE 2013 Strategic Plan Revision, introducing the first Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in Botswana, the first in Africa outside of South Africa and successfully promoting them to achieve market turnover of over P403 million and designing their trading, settlement and regulatory framework. He also contributed to the ATS and CSD rules for the ETFs, Bonds and other products. He also created and maintained a BSE Market database for usage in internal research and external revenue generation. Tsheole is also a team member of BSE Investment Committee, managing a P31 million investment fund for the BSE.
His achievements, especially in the successful introduction of ETFs in Botswana and their subsequent success, has placed Tsheole on international map which has culminated with him being regularly invited to give presentations and share experiences in other stock exchanges in Africa and beyond. This, he says, is his greatest achievement by far.
Tsheole has chaired Botswana National Youth Council during the year 2003 to 2004 and the Botswana Workcamps Association – a voluntary youth organisation – from 1999 to 2004.
Though he is not yet married, Tsheole says he plans to do so in the near future. He passes time by reading books on relationships, Economics, markets and just general issues.
Though he does not go to church, Tsheole regards himself as a liberal believer, who prays to a God he believes does exists but says as an African he has not disregarded his culture altogether. “I am a bit of a traditionalist,” he declares, without going deeper into which Bakgatla culture he practices without fail.