Standard Bank, halting trade and Satrix FINI

I was reading the recent news about ICBC’s large investment in Standard Bank and had a thought.

If Standard Bank’s shares are suspended from trading, why not plunge into Satrix Fini?

If you really wanted to get fancy, you could probably find SSFs on most of the other large players within the Satrix Fini (a financial company exchange traded fund) or even use warrants to get the delta of other instruments to zero. These are all retail-investor-oriented ideas, so there are many much easier ways for bigger investors. Like buying an OTC forward on Standard Bank. Presumably there’s not much Standard Bank can do about that, since it is only through the JSE that they have managed to stop trade in their shares in the first place.
[ok, so not so easy for retail investors after all: no warrants and single stock future traded while Standard Bank was suspended, which suggests they were also suspended. don’t think this solves the problem of an OTC contract, although I suppose it might be difficult to find counterparties willing to take on an unhedgeable risk]

This begs all sorts of other interesting questions in my mind – what happens to an ETF when one of the underlying components is not longer available? One of the primary forces that keeps the price of an ETF very close to intrinsic value (or sum of parts of value) is that anyone can buy the appropriate basket of underlying shares, and convert them into shares of the ETF. Thus, any major differences between the price of the ETD and the price of the underlying shares would be removed through arbitrage. (I assume then one can demand the underlying shares for a share of the ETF, although I don’t recall ever being told this directly before). The only difference in price should relate to transaction costs.

But what happens if one of the underlying shares is not available for trade (even if for only a few hours like Standard Bank was on the morning of Thursday 25 October?

Further, how are Single Stock Futures priced if there is no underling share?
[ah, they aren’t priced because they also weren’t traded while the underlying shares were suspended]

So the real question that remains is, what happens to ETF’s when underlying components are suspended?

Published by David Kirk

The opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and other commenters and are not necessarily those of his employer or any other organisation. David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation.

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