Damascus Securities Exchange Posted
FEAS Secretariat spoke with the CEO of Damascus Securities Exchange Mr. Abdul Razzak Kassem about the new developments of the capital market, major challenges during the global pandemic and how DSE is handling with them.
1. What are the key strategic initiatives DSE is working on at the moment?
Thanks for the question. In fact, DSE works on a set of strategic initiatives, the most important of which are:
– Infrastructural upgrades in parallel with conducting organizational reforms within the frameworks of corporate governance in an attempt to improve the business environment.
– Improving disclosures and disseminating information through its new website, which is designed to be more appropriate and easier for investors to access information.
– DSE keeps trying to develop investor’s awareness and encouraging public joint-stock companies to be listed in order to contribute to the development of the Syrian economy and participate in achieving development goals.
2. Does DSE have a business continuity plan or contingency plan in place to handle global outbreaks of pandemics?
Yes, DSE has a business continuity plan aimed at reducing the potential negative impacts of the pandemic. DSE has a disaster recovery plan in emergency situations, including the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. DSE was able to run trading sessions remotely, in addition to ensuring the operation of the accompanying applications and linking the reserve website to the website of DSE through the application of data dissemination and reporting on the website.
3. What are the major challenges that your organization has faced during the global pandemic?
Our main challenge is to maintain our staff safety in the first place. This was done by emphasizing safety and health measures in the institution. In addition to relying on shifts and work remotely from home, besides following social distancing.
Here it is worth mentioning that DSE is fully able to operate remotely technically and our staff had been trained previously during the political conditions we went through, in addition to the ability of our electronic infrastructure to adapt to the new conditions.
4. As the world goes digital, especially during the times of global pandemic, how is DSE keeping up with the new developments and global trends?
We are currently working on preparing the portal for electronic trading through a licensed trading programs via applications provided by brokerage companies by using Fix Protocol, which was developed internally by our IT team.
– DSE is trying to handle process of distributing cash dividends to shareholders through the DSE clearing and central depository center.
– The DSE mobile application was completed. It provides all stakeholders with the most important and updated news and financial indicators.
5. Are there any major challenges in holding General Assemblies?
No, most of the listed joint-stock companies invited their members to attend this annual meeting while maintaining safety standards (social distancing – sterilization – masks). Here we point out that DSE is currently thinking of adopting online application for managing these meeting in future.
6. Some changes were made in the DSE’s trading hours, how this affects the overall working process?
A circular was issued by the SCFMS to reduce the number of trading days to one day only per week, in response to the government measures taken for reducing the spread of Coronavirus. This, in fact, has fundamentally affected the volume and values of trades. However, DSE continued to provide all other services to investors & listed companies, especially at the clearing and central depository center.
7. In your personal opinion, what will life look like after COVID-19 pandemic? What are the major challenges that humanity will face in the near future?
I think COVID-19 has a major impact on the structure of the global economy, as it will transform the concept of globalization and protection. The global economy will suffer a severe recession and may reach the depression stage if the crisis persists for long. The decline in growth indicators and the decrease in the volume of international trade in addition to high levels of unemployment, the collapse of financial market indicators and low interest rates, and the increase in bankruptcy cases between companies will accelerate the entry of the economy into depression. It will speed up digitization too in every aspect of life, and good health will turn into the primary concern of countries.
Regarding challenges, the crisis highlights the need for urgent action to cushion the pandemic’s health and economic consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and set the stage for a lasting recovery. For emerging markets and developing countries, it is critical to strengthen public health systems, implement reforms that support strong and sustainable growth once the vaccine is obtained.