May 28 - June 3, 20

Incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee under the Companies Act 1913 on 5th October, 1970, the Lahore stock exchange (LSE) is now one of premier stock exchanges in the country.

The LSE is facilitating the investors by providing them an access to the capital market and enable them to take part in the progress of the corporate sector of the country.

Aftab Ahmad Ch. is the sitting managing director/CEO of the Lahore stock exchange (G) Limited. Before joining LSE, Aftab Ahmad Ch. had been performing as the regular head of the south Asian federation of exchanges as its secretary general-a role that he still continues to perform. Besides, Aftab has also served as a professional consultant for various projects related to capital markets, infrastructure/corporate finance, privatization and professional training etc.

During the earlier capital market assignment, he served as the managing director/CEO of Islamabad stock exchange for seven years.

Aftab has also been involved with the board level work at the institute of capital markets, Pakistan mercantile exchange (ex NCEL), national clearing & settlement company, and the renowned credit rating agency JCR-VIS of Pakistan.

He has about 24 years of experience in a variety of leadership positions in the logistics, supply chain, strategic, budgeting, financial, project management roles both in the military and corporate environments.

Aftab holds an MBA degree from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux (LA) USA, and is also a graduate of the executive management program from the Stanford University, USA.

In an interview with Pakistan and Gulf Economist (PAGE), Aftab Ahmad Ch. shared his views about the LSE and future plans. He said the LSE introduced marginal trading system (MTS) in line with international leverage products.

"We are striving for growth/value creation in the balance sheet size of the exchange with a minimum of 20 per cent increase in the EVA on year on year basis," he said, adding, "The future strategic activities of the exchange would be divided into three broad categories namely business growth strategy, market support initiatives, and branding/servicing strategy.

MD LSE said, "We are striving to develop ourselves into a dynamic and prominent multi product trading place, a well respected corporate entity and a valued contributor to the economy. Our vision statement describes the top ambition of our company in which the focus has been on three fundamental aspects of our business - how we want to position our trading market, how we would want to bring respectability to us as a corporate citizen, and how a well functioning and a well regulated market can play its expected role to our economy - providing a fair and transparent price discovery mechanism, enabling the corporations to raise capital in an effortless manner, and then regulating these companies in an effective manner."

He further said they are striving to deliver sustainable value and offer best possible satisfaction to all stakeholders associated with our company.

"Our Mission statement aims to capture the objective of sustainable value creation for our stakeholders and goes beyond that by underlining that we would also aim to provide the best possible satisfaction to all our stakeholders such as the government/regulatory agencies, the investors, the members and the financial services community. The mission is connected with the vision because if we are able to create and deliver value on consistent basis and if we succeed in satisfying all our stakeholders then we would become known for providing a better marketplace, and a successful corporate entity which takes care of all our stakeholders."

Expressing optimism about the future of stock markets, Aftab said: "We believe that the coming years will see a lot of innovation and growth especially at LSE." He said that the capital market in Pakistan had played a positive role in the development and expansion of the economy. Like other sectors of the economy, he said, the capital market has also done remarkably well, although, room always exists for further improvement.

According to him, LSE has always stood at the forefront of market innovation in capital market of Pakistan starting from the introduction of automated trading in 1996 to providing recently introduced securities lending & borrowing software to the NCCPL.

LSE's trading platform was subsequently sold to Karachi, Islamabad, and Ghana stock exchanges also. Today, LSE offers trading in stocks and mutual funds, bonds and TFCs, and deliverable and cash-settled futures contracts through its indigenously developed Ultra trade software. A number of significant initiatives have been taken to improve the regulatory regime and the trading environment for the benefit of institutional investors as well as listed companies. LSE has successfully met various challenges and now emerged, fully geared, and positioned to aggressively compete with its fellow exchanges, contributing towards the growth of capital markets in Pakistan.

When asked about Presidential Ordinance about the stock market investment, Aftab Ahmad Ch., observed that this ordinance would facilitate capital market and the tax collection from stock market would improve by it. He added this ordinance would improve tax collection while the investor has to pay all due taxes, thus the investment would be documented. Ultimately, with documentation, the country will get benefit in shape of taxes, he added.

Talking about investors, he advised investors to open CDC investor accounts with central depository company of Pakistan (CDC) in order to keep their shares safe.

"LSE's management wants to make an investor's trust which would satisfy the investors regarding their claims," he said.

For the capacity building of LSE staff members, he said many workshops have also been organized which would not only promote the capacity building of LSE staff, but it will also increase efficiency of the staff. This will also be a step towards strengthening the economy.

Aftab also highlighted the importance of bonds market. He stated that the national savings has recently launched prize bonds of Rs25,000.

When asked about taking benefit from Indian bourses, Aftab Ahmed Ch, said, "We can learn a great deal from the experiences of Delhi stock exchange and MCX in a post-demutualization environment".