|MMI Holdings CEO Nicolaas Kruger. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL|
More appetite from South African institutions was needed to unlock African growth opportunities, she said.
There are 24 exchanges in Africa, yet the JSE’s daily volume remains higher than the annual trading on many of them.
Ms Newton-King called for more African listings on the local exchange, but said that "it’s not just about listing, but lifting the capacity of the continent".
South Africa needed to continue "adjusting the dial", she told the conference.
"We cannot just slavishly adopt regulatory change. We must, as a country, compete for investment flows. There is a lot we can do as a country and as the exchange in unlocking the African growth opportunity," Ms Newton-King said.
While South Africa’s financial services sector did not suffer during the financial crisis, it was necessary to apply more introspection to determine possible weaknesses, said MMI CEO Nicolaas Kruger, who also spoke at the conference. Potential weaknesses included costs, treating customers fairly and regulation.
Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat told the conference the European crisis was still unfolding and it could not be said that recent issues (in Cyprus) would be the last.
Sanlam and Asisa CEO Johan van Zyl said South Africa’s financial services industry would not flourish if regulation did not ensure level playing fields and remove unnecessary barriers to doing business.
He said the global financial crisis continued to pose challenges. He did not believe confidence would be restored through regulation alone, especially as South Africa did not suffer the same problems being experienced in Europe. "I do not believe all the regulatory changes are appropriate for us."