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Derivatives: Struggling Into the New Era – Outlook 2013/14

The past few years have been challenging for the global economy but it seems as though the derivatives industry sustained more than its share of insults and injuries over the past year or so. Still reeling from the trauma of MF Global in October of 2011, exchange-traded volume went into its first nosedive in decades.

Urgent regulatory requirements added intense cost and time pressures to company staffs that were already stretched. A non-clearing FCM, Peregrine Financial, collapsed in scandal. OTC derivatives struggled with complex regulatory mandates and weak volume.

Perhaps the only positive for the year was that mergers and acquisitions at both the macro and micro level imply that innovation and creativity are still powerful industry drivers. That in turn suggests that the creative dynamism that has characterized the derivatives industry for so many years still has some innings to go.

Read the detailed report about Derivatives market outlook, challenges and issue of big deals, exchange mergers and new start ups, customer protection, Regulatory,Extraterritorial and Tax problems  and more. 

Source: WEF 25.04.2013 by Nicolas Ronalds

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Filed under: Asia, Brazil, Exchanges, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2010 Top 10 Developments in Asia’s Electronic Trading Industry;Asia E-Trading

2010 was the year that Asia’s electronic trading industry focused on competition and services in what have traditionally been anti-competitive market places. We recorded over 1000 separate news items this year in Asia alone. We recognize that some of the developments that made our list will not be relevant to everyone but as a neutral third party observer we have come up with a list that we feel are the Top 10 Developments in Asia’s Electronic Trading Industry in 2010.

Original Article: Asia E-Trading 2010 Top Developments

10) The US CFTC now allows Malaysian futures brokers to deal directly with US customer. Perhaps individually not a Top 10 item as other brokers in Asia have been given the nod by the US regulator too. But when taken together with the recent Bursa Malaysia exchange technology upgrades in both the equity and futures segments, migration to the CME Globex platform and the record prices in the Crude Palm Oil contract Malaysia is now poised to take its place as a south-east Asian trading center. It will become a key anchor in the ASEAN link planned in the coming years.

9) China’s Index future launched April 16 after many years of delay was an important development not only for electronic trading but also for China’s budding algorithmic and hedge fund industry. The index has quickly become one of the largest index futures now traded in Asia. Though the back month doesn’t trade as much as it should it will only be a matter of time before that open interest picks up too. It shouldn’t be long before we see index options and an interest rate future for China as well.

8 ) Singapore Mercantile Exchange launched in late August this year. Asia is demanding more and more commodities as wealth and consumption grow around the zone. Generally, in Asia, commodity exchanges tend to offer just one product but the Singapore Merc is offering a basket of commodities to trade both physical and cash contracts. Trading is available in WTI crude, currency, gold and black pepper to name a few. Interestingly, though, is that the SMX is owned entirely by Financial Technologies Group (FTIL) an India based company that will see its exchange compete head on with SICOM, the SGXs commodities arm. Expect to hear more from the SMX this year.

7) The Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC) began clearing trades for Proprietary Trading Systems (PTS) in August substantially reducing the costs in the post trade for alternatives in Japan. While the playing field still isn’t level with the Primary exchanges, this development at the JSCC was a boost for Japanese PTSs. SBI Japannext, a consortium PTS, has regularly traded 1 percent of daily volume on its venue as a result of this change. We expect fragmentation to accelerate in 2011 in Japan which is already around 3 to 5%.

6) The launch of Chi-east. The joint venture between the Singapore Exchange and Chi-X called Chi-east made it to our list of top 10 developments in Asia electronic trading industry in 2010. The venture is a big step for Singapore in terms of spurring exchange competition and becoming a regional one-stop-shop for trading in Asia. Chi-East is a broker to broker alternative that will offer off-shore crossing using different clearing facilities around Asia.

5) China is now the largest agricultural commodity market in the world with the Dalian Commodity Exchange seeing record volumes in Corn and the Soybean complex. Coupled with the Shanghai Futures Exchange and its metal products the opportunities and future for the electronic trading industry vertical in China and the rest of the world are huge.

4) Exchange competition in Australia. On March 31 the Australian government announced its support for Exchange competition in Australia. While we are still waiting the promise of competition is compelling. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has long held a monopoly over the industry with poor service and high trading fees (explicit and implicit). The ASX passed its supervisory duties to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) August 1 and with the Market Integrity Rules being finalized it shouldn’t be long before trading in Australia is much cheaper and better served. The ASX SGX merger could put a spanner in the works, however.

3) Smart Order Routing in India – SEBI finally permitted Smart Order Routing in India in August of this year much to the National Stock Exchanges chagrin. The Bombay Stock Exchange promptly offered this service to its customers in a bid to take market share from its larger rival. India has the tightest spreads in Asia of around 6bps and with SORs on offer we can expect spreads to tighten even further and volumes to shoot up. This long overdue regulation puts India on the road to offering best execution far ahead of its BRIC peer China. Deutesche equities was the first FII to receive approval for using SORs to both the NSE and BSE.

2) SGX / ASX Merger – We have seen it in the US and Europe and it has finally come to Asia, exchange consolidation. While the news of this reverberated around the world like a tsunami the reality, in AsiaEtrading’s view, is that this is a merger of survival. Both exchanges are very small and in aggregate are still quite small but would command the largest futures market in Asia (not including China’s commodities of course). The announcement is further evidence that Asia is moving to a more competitive industry and should be a wake-up call to the rest of the region. Our webinar on the topic had the panelists agreeing that the merger won’t happen. We’ll wait and see if this merger does indeed take place.

1) We ranked the Tokyo Stock Exchange Arrowhead upgrade as the most important development in Asia’s Electronic Trading industry in 2010. This was a significant and crucial development for one of the top exchanges in the world. Previously, order round trips were around 4 seconds and orders per second were on par with a Starbucks barista. The improved matching engine performance has tightened spreads, increased trading volumes and reduced order sizes. This in turn has attracted more sophisticated traders, reduced implicit trading costs and has generally benefited the Japanese trading industry significantly. Not only that, having come out of 2009 and the aftermath of the GFC, the successful upgrade was the turning point for what was a very activity business in 2010. To us it was the catalyst for the entire industry in Asia.

Source: http://www.asiaetrading.com, 02.01.2011

Filed under: Australia, China, Exchanges, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, News, Singapore, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Singapore-Australia exchange tie up threatens Tokyo; Controversy Grows

Japan’s top exchange will seek its own alliances if a planned multi-billion dollar merger of the Singapore and Sydney stock exchanges goes ahead, the bourse’s head said in a report Wednesday.

Atsushi Saito, chief executive of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, told the Financial Times that if SGX’s 8.2 billion dollar offer for ASX went ahead, it would be not be “a good story” for Tokyo.

“If Japan becomes isolated on the international stage — that is not good,” he said. “There are many options. There could be a combination of TSE and others on an international basis.”

Saito’s remarks illustrate how the proposed offer by Singapore’s SGX for ASX has ruffled the region.

“The consensus (among officials at Asian exchanges before the proposed deal was announced) was that such a thing would be impossible in Asia” due to the differences in culture and sense of values, Saito told the newspaper of the proposed deal.

Saito added that if the deal were to go ahead, it could result in a loss for the TSE, which is SGX’s second largest shareholder with 4.9 per cent, the Financial Times said.

“Our shareholdings will be diluted, with our stake falling to about 3.1 per cent. It’s possible we’ll have a loss of hundreds of millions of yen,” he said.

The proposed merger aims to create the world’s fifth biggest exchange with a market capitalisation of about 12.3 billion US dollars, although it first needs to pass regulators and a growing political backlash in Australia.

Analysts say sticking points may include the Singapore government’s large stake in the SGX, which could raise sovereign ownership concerns, and the board’s composition with 11 Singapore representatives and four from Australia.

Source: AFP, 27.10.2010

Controversy grows over SGX’s takeover bid for ASX

The Singapore Exchange’s S$10.7 billion takeover bid for Australia’s ASX Limited faces a difficult road ahead amid political backlash in Australia and shareholder reservations over the deal.

For the transaction to push through, the Australian parliament, currently controlled by a coalition led by the ruling Labour party, would need to lift the 15 percent ownership cap on the ASX bourse. The Australian Treasury could grant a waiver, but the Business Times reports that this could be stymied if any party demands a vote.

Bob Brown of the Greens Party, a key Labour ally, said he was not supportive of the deal given Singapore’s human rights record and the city-state’s execution of an Australian drug smuggler in 2005.

“This is a state that tramples all over freedom of speech, democracy, the rights of oppositions, the ability for public discourse,” he was quoted in a report by the Associated Press. A few other lawmakers also indicated they were inclined to oppose the takeover.

Aside from regulatory approvals, the merger of the two exchanges will also be subject to shareholders’ approvals. But, already, one SGX shareholder has expressed a negative view over the issue.

Under the deal, SGX will issue new shares and pay ASX shareholders a combination of A$22 or S$28.04 in cash and 3.472 new ordinary SGX shares for each existing ASX ordinary share or equivalent to A$48 per share.

Atsushi Saito, chief executive of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that the transaction could result in a loss for the Japanese exchange, which is SGX’s second largest shareholder with a 4.9 percent stake. He told the UK paper that if the deal were to push through it would not be “a good story” for Tokyo.

Some analysts said the planned acquisition looked expensive. Gabriel Yap, executive chairman of investment firm GCP Global, said the price of A$48 per share “is too high” as it represents 25 times price-to-earnings ratio while the estimated cost synergies and savings at 20% is higher than that achieved in other mergers and takeovers of other exchanges before.

From the point of view of ASX shareholders, “Christmas has come early,” said Yap.

The SGX-ASX deal aims to create the fifth-largest exchange in the world with a market capitalisation of more than US$12.3 billion and to capitalise on opportunities for growth in Asia-Pacific.The press statement on the proposed merger enumerates other benefits.

Source: Fit To Post Singapore, 27.10.2010

Filed under: Australia, Exchanges, Japan, Singapore, , , , , , ,

SGX in ASX takeover talks – report

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is set to make a takeover offer for the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), according to local press reports.

Trading in the shares of both bourses was suspended today as ASX issued a statement saying: “A party has recently re-activated confidential discussions with ASX concerning a possible business combination

It is in the process of hammering out the details of a possible deal with its larger Singapore contemporary, according to the Australian newspaper.

The speculation comes weeks after the ASX confirmed it was in talks with other operators about “possible business combinations” saying that none of the talks with the unnamed parties “have resulted in a proposal”.

The Australian government recently stripped ASX of responsibility for supervising real-time trading on markets, effectively ending its monopoly. It is set to face competition from electronic trading platform operator Chi-X from next year, with other players expected to follow.

Source: Finextra, 22.10.2010

Filed under: Australia, Exchanges, Singapore, , ,

Asian dark pool BlocSec removes minimum order size requirement

BlocSec, the first Asian dark pool to cater to the buy-side and the sell-side, owned by CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets (‘CLSA’), will remove the current minimum US$250k or 20% of the 30-day Average Daily Volume (‘ADV’) order size requirement 1.

Removal of such minimum order size requirement will enable smaller size orders to flow into the system, increasing both liquidity and matching. BlocSec clients can continue to submit and trade large size block orders in BlocSec simply by specifying the minimum quantity fill for their executions.

Christian Chan, Director of Electronic Execution Sales, CLSA said: “We continue to improve and respond to client needs and have removed our minimum order size to source and deepen our liquidity pool, so as to provide greater flexibility across the platform and markets in which we operate.”

BlocSec has been designed to ensure complete anonymity for buyers and sellers. Order entry and matching occurs without the risk of giving away client name, side, position or price of an order which means zero information leakage.

“In addition, we have added the ability for our Client Relationship Managers to accept manual orders and route any balances to the CLSA trading desk if instructed to do so. Again, ensuring more flexibility for clients and a smooth and seamless trade flow process,” Chan added.

Since its launch in May 2008, BlocSec has become the preeminent Asian liquidity aggregator and electronic crossing network for Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Australian equities with an average daily liquidity flow over US$77m and an average cross size of US$1.04m.

BlocSec provides traders the ability to place orders with complete anonymity and zero information leakage into the market. BlocSec continues to gather momentum and build liquidity in over 800 distinct names with 50% of all clients entering orders securing a match.

As a CLSA group company, BlocSec has a substantial community of institutional investors with the ability to provide a deep pool of liquidity. Liquidity is also maximized as BlocSec is open to both buy and sell side clients.

Source: FINEXTRA 17.11.2009

Filed under: Asia, Australia, Exchanges, Hong Kong, Japan, News, Singapore, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ASX to Introduce Renewable Energy Futures Next Month

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) — The Australian Securities Exchange said trading in renewable-energy futures and options will start next month after lawmakers passed a bill requiring the nation to derive 20 percent of its power from clean fuels.

The exchange, owned by ASX Ltd., said it will list futures and options contracts for renewable energy certificates on Nov. 24. The ASX said trading of certified emission reduction contracts would be introduced in the first quarter of next year.

“This is an extension of the products we’re already providing,” Anthony Collins, the exchange’s general manager of energy and environmental markets, said by phone today. “It will help firms manage risk” posed by fluctuating prices and to “invest with certainty.”

Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, must source 20 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2020 under the new law. Broader emission-reduction legislation proposed in Australia may be resubmitted in November after being defeated by upper-house lawmakers. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants carbon trading to start in 2011.

The ASX also said it plans to list futures and options on carbon emission permits if the government’s pollution reduction plan is passed. A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a specific amount of a commodity or security at a specific price and time. Options grant the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell at a set price.

The introduction of futures and options contracts on renewable energy certificates supports the Australian government’s new target, the Australian Securities Exchange said. Each REC is equal to one megawatt-hour of renewable energy generation.

“All of these markets are small to start with,” Collins said. “They will take several years to mature.”

Source: Bloomberg,07.10.2009

Filed under: Asia, Australia, Energy & Environment, Exchanges, News, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , ,

Dark Pools in Danger ?

Increasing regulatory supervision and calls for transparency on one side and  the threaten proliferation of “unregulated and opaque”  Dark Pool and crossing networks by large institutions, have increased the calls by exchanges and exchange federations to review regulation and even ban them.

While the global debate is in full swing, China has clearly distance it self from any alternative trading venues in the country and prohibited the access to any “non-transparent” trading venues like dark pools for it’s QDII (Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors).

Below Article highlight the current trends and voices

SEC to extend probe into dark pools 09.10.2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission is to extend its regulatory probing of dark pools to include issues surrounding high frequency trading, direct market access and co-location.

What’s the Matter with Dark Pools, 02.10.2009

Dark pools are on the regulatory front burner. They’re seen as competing with the displayed markets, even as they’ve captured a segment of trading from the desks of broker-dealers’ upstairs.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is now bearing down on issues related to trading in dark pools and how much flow can execute in individual pools without triggering obligations to the rest of the marketplace. To provide some perspective on this broader discussion….

LSE and Turquoise an Item: Official, 01.10.2009

When we suggested here a few weeks back that the London Stock Exchange take a look at on-the-block Turquoise as a possible solution to its ‘TradElect problem’ it was slightly tongue in cheek. After all, we knew the LSE was in talks with MillenniumIT and it looked on paper as if an approach to Turquoise would amount to the exchange losing face to an upstart rival.

Dark Pools 2009: Not So Dark Anymore AITE Group, 30.09.2009

Only two things about dark pools are clear at this time: their overall market share continues to grow, and regulatory intervention appears inevitable.

London Stock Exchange to leave FESE  30.09.2009

But the move is a sign that a recent criticism by some of the world’s largest exchanges of the large banks’ off-exchange activities is not shared by some exchanges, which see their interests increasingly aligned with those same banks.

n a letter to Eddy Wymeersch, chairman of the Committee of European Securities Regulators, Ms Hardt said FESE believed the banks’ dark pools were “unregulated venues” operating with “full opacity”. The European equities market was “becoming a dealer market”.

Chi-X Global alleges ‘fear card’ move by ASX 30.09.2009

The head of Chi-X Global, the equities trading platform, on Wednesday accused the Australian Securities Ex­change of playing the “fear card” after the exchange’s chairman spoke of the dangers of allowing multiple share trading venues.

New ideas fail to lift mood over dark pools 24.09.2009

Yet even as dark pools continue to generate eye-catching ideas, controversy is raging over their very existence. In Europe, the issue is pitting exchanges against big banks in a new battle over control of billions of dollars in share trading orders.

Exchanges call on G20 to tackle dark pools 23.09.2009

The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) has urged G20 leaders to press for market reform to tackle the uneven playing field and eroded price discovery it claims has been caused by the emergence of alternative trading platforms such as dark pools.

In a letter sent to Mario Draghi, head of the financial stability board at the Bank for International Settlements ahead of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the WFE calls for more uniform rules between exchange-traded and “less-regulated” markets.

The WFE warns: “The heightened opacity of certain market operations in many countries inhibits price discovery and may lead to negative outcomes, such as increased volatility.”

“Taken together, the combination of the absence of a level playing field between execution venues and decreased market transparency is an unsettling development,” says the letter, signed by William Brodsky, chairman of the WFE.

The exchanges call on G20 leaders to agree on ways to avoid “regulatory arbitrage” to ensure market participants do not just go to countries with weak rules.

Source: Finetik, 01.10.2009

Filed under: Australia, Exchanges, FiNETIK Articles, Japan, News, Risk Management, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chi-X Global alleges ‘fear card’ move of ASX (Dark Pool)

The head of Chi-X Global, the equities trading platform, on Wednesday accused the Australian Securities Ex­change of playing the “fear card” after the exchange’s chairman spoke of the dangers of allowing multiple share trading venues.

The development is a sign of frustration over the absence of government approval of licences that would allow rivals to challenge the country’s incumbent exchange.

At the same time, regulatory scrutiny in the US and Europe of certain off-exchange venues has emboldened exchanges such as the ASX to become more vocal in criticising alter­native trading platforms.

Tony Mackay, Chi-X Global chairman, hit out at the “extraordinary” comments made by ASX chairman David Gonski, who told shareholders at an annual meeting that Canberra should carefully consider whether to allow new entrants into the country’s markets. He claimed that it was unclear how multiple market operators benefited investors. He said Mr Gonski was playing the “fear card” that competition was bad for Australia.

Chi-X Global, controlled by Nomura of Japan, has been in talks with Canberra for more than a year about securing a market licence to offer equities trading. Its sister company, Chi-X Eur­ope, already operates a pan-European equities platform.

Mr Mackay added: “The … ASX operates a regulated monopoly. It has an average operating margin of about 80 per cent when the average for the companies quoted on its exchange is about 25 per cent.”

He said the average cost of executing a trade in Australia was close to five times higher than in Europe and North America.

“They are fighting to keep their monopoly,” he said, adding that the ASX should discuss with government, regulators and new market entrants Australia’s role as a leading securities market in the region.

Source: FT, 30.09.2009

FT.com

Filed under: Asia, Australia, Exchanges, News, Services, Trading Technology, , , , , ,

Nomura launches Electronic Trading Platform In Asia-Pacific – Trading Live In Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia

Nomura, the pre-eminent Asia-based investment bank, this week announced the launch of its Asian Electronic Trading platform, providing clients with Direct Market Access (“DMA”) and Algorithms via its “ModelEx” platform connecting to equity markets in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. ModelEx is Nomura’s algorithmic trading platform which allows clients to electronically access its suite of automated trading strategies.

The firm expects to launch the platform in India, Taiwan and Korea by April 2009.

Nomura is unique in the electronic trading services (ETS) business for its award winning quantitative analytics and risk models, which provide pre- and post-trade analytics, market microstructure and quantitative research to help clients generate new and innovative trading ideas.

The new ETS team combines the best electronic trading capabilities of the Lehman Brothers acquisition, including the quantitative analytics team, developers of the algorithms, information technology and operations personnel, with Nomura’s strong client relationships and dominance in Japan.

Previously, Nomura has been active in the Japan ETS market in both DMA and Direct-Strategy-Access (DSA), utilizing its “Experts” algorithmic platform. The current ETS team, led by Managing Director Rob Laible, has maintained the Nomura platform while at the same time building-out the pan-Asian capabilities of ModelEx in order to ensure seamless execution and provide superior analysis and a competitive edge for its clients.

“Nomura is committed to establishing a world-class suite of electronic trading products for its customers globally, and we’ve been very focused over the last few months on re-establishing a market-leading platform in Asia,” said Rob Laible, Head of Nomura Electronic Trading Services in Asia. “We are well-positioned to offer our long-only clients, hedge funds, pension funds, and other institutional investors value-added and customized trading solutions and execution services.”

Nomura’s Asia-Pacific Equities division delivers the full resources of a multi-product execution platform to its clients globally. Committed to a state-of-the art risk management platform and market-leading research coverage and insight, Nomura provides its clients with a full-service equity broker offering, including structured and flow derivatives sales and trading, cash sales and trading, program and electronic sales and trading, quantitative advisory/analytics, structured derivatives and prime services.

Source: MondoVisione, 26.02.2009

Filed under: Asia, Australia, News, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Australia ASX to expand its Energy and Environmental Product offering

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) announces that it intends to list Thermal Coal (Newcastle) futures and options as well as New Zealand Electricity and Victorian Wholesale Gas futures1 contracts on 21 April, 28 April and 5 May 2009 respectively2.

These products are the first tranche in a suite of new Energy and Environmental products that ASX is proposing to launch. Others include Renewable Energy Certificate futures and options; Australian Emissions Unit futures and options (pending the passage of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation); and Certificate Emission Reduction futures and options (AUD denominated and Australian delivered).

The introduction of Thermal Coal (Newcastle) futures and options at ASX will provide the first exchange and clearing house mechanism for thermal coal in the Asia-Pacific that operates independent of editorial index providers and intermediaries in the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

Independence from editorial indices and prices derived from the OTC market will underpin the robustness and sustainability of ASX’s thermal coal product offering.

The expansion of the existing Australian electricity suite of futures and options to include New Zealand contracts will leverage the infrastructure of ASX and the liquidity provided by financial market participants to service new and existing entrants in the New Zealand electricity market.

The introduction of cash-settled Victorian Wholesale Gas futures and options is an important part of ASX’s wider gas market product suite which will expand as gas markets in Australia continue to evolve. An exchange-traded gas derivatives market is crucial to the further integration of energy markets within Australia. It will also support the growth of enhanced energy cross-commodity risk management plays common in mature international energy markets.

The support for gas as a lower carbon emitting fuel source than thermal coal, together with the liquidity of the existing electricity futures and options market operated by ASX, bodes well for the viability of gas and carbon-related futures markets within Australia.

The introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2010 (the largest scheme to date outside the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme) will position Australia – and ASX in particular given its connectivity to compliance buyers and the financial markets that service them – as the leading hub for the trading of carbon-related products in the Asia-Pacific.

For specific summary sheets for the products announced today please visit:

For more information on ASX Energy and Environmental products please visit: www.asx.com.au/energy.

1ASX will announce intended listing dates for New Zealand Electricity options and Victorian Wholesale Gas options in due course.

2The Operating Rules of Sydney Futures Exchange to support these new contracts remain subject to regulatory clearance.

Source: Mondovisione, 11.02.2009

Filed under: Australia, Energy & Environment, Exchanges, News, , , , , , , ,

Asia-Pacific: Best-Execution Regulations on the Way?

While the U.S. and European Union have rules mandating that brokerages find the best possible price for clients, there are currently no equivalents in the Asia-Pacific region. That could change, however, as algorithmic trading, technology advances and buy-side pressure nudge the more developed economies in that direction.

“The buy side is taking increasing control of the trading process and the concept of best execution is gaining traction, although we are still some years behind the U.S., and to a lesser extent Europe, in terms of the availability of alternative trading venues,” said Gabe Butler, director of sales in Hong Kong for New York-based agency brokerage Investment Technology Group (ITG). There are more than 40 alternative trading systems (ATSs) in the U.S., and a bevy of platforms have been launched in the EU since the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) became effective late last year.

Australia

In Australia, the Investment & Financial Services Association–a trade group representing buy-side firms–issued guidance in 2006, but the country has not yet made best execution a regulatory requirement. Brokers, however, are taking the idea seriously, due in part to buy-side demand.

Steven Hammerton, head of portfolio trading and direct execution at UBS Securities Australia in Sydney, noted that “UBS has been strictly in compliance with best execution, and we think it’s something very important to our clients. We’ve been investing heavily to achieve best execution.” Hammerton pointed to the firm’s algorithms, which are “written in a way to help you achieve best execution in a fast-moving market.”

The growing use of algorithmic trading and direct-market access (DMA) in Australia this year has increased volatility and widened spreads, which “has resulted in the standard deviation of estimated trading cost more than doubling,” said David Broadfield, analyst at ITG and author of a recent report on Australian market microstructure. “This highlights the importance of execution to the overall investment process and the potential danger of failing to adopt best-execution practices.”

Fund managers need to pay attention to hidden costs, said Michael Corcoran, ITG’s Sydney-based director of trading. Research shows that obvious costs–broker commissions and tax–are staying close to 18 basis points, said Corcoran, whereas hidden costs raise that to 48 basis points. “They will have to more aggressively reduce the hidden costs within their portfolios if they want to stay in the game,” he said, adding that advanced trading methods can help bring those costs down once they are identified.

The game is about to change in Australia, as regulators are expected to open the Australian Stock Exchange up to competition from ATSs. Among those waiting for final approval are the AXE electronic communications network-owned by the New Zealand Exchange and a consortium of investment banks–Liquidnet Australia and Instinet–backed Chi-X.

“With the regulatory changes, there will be more electronic exchanges in the future,” said UBS’s Hammerton, adding that his firm will be well positioned to seek liquidity from those destinations. “We have invested in smart-order routing technology and will be able to offer clients smart DMA, which routes to the exchange with the best price,” he said.

Japanese ATSs

In Japan, “buy-side firms still have to go through brokers because direct connections to the exchanges are not available inside Japan,” explained Neil Katkov, Tokyo-based head of Asia research for Celent. “Less competition leads to an opaque market, where investors can’t be well protected.” For example, he said, several large local brokers are internalizing trades and benefiting from wide spreads.

“There is not much in the way of best-execution regulation, like in the U.S. and Europe,” said Katkov. Japan’s Financial Services Agency is only now beginning to make such initiatives a priority, he added, recently passing execution rules that will protect participants in pension plans. The regulators, however, are looking at adopting broader rules, in the style of MiFID or Regulation National Market System in the U.S.

Until then, the buy side will continue turning to alternative trading platforms, noted Katkov. Asia’s first crossing network, JapanCrossing, was launched in 2001 by New York-based agency broker Instinet, which is now a subsidiary of Nomura Holdings. But such venues–called private trading systems in Japan–have not been able to grab more than a 1 percent market share due to the existing exchanges’ chokehold.

Still, platforms such as Japannext and Monex Nighter are seeing increased volumes and vendors including MetaBit, TradingScreen, Tora Trading Services and Bloomberg are offering advanced connectivity. “Trading on such platforms is increasing because it gives buy-side investors a choice among quotes and, therefore, potentially better execution,” said Katkov.

No Plans in Hong Kong

DMA is available in Hong Kong and algorithmic trading is in demand, but best-execution regulations are not yet in the works. In a June speech, Martin Wheatley, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), noted that Hong Kong doesn’t need a Reg NMS because “we do not have alternative trading venues here where investors can trade Hong Kong securities.” But, “given the trends in the marketplace and the advances in technology, the SFC and other regulators in the region do need to keep an eye on the international development of this issue.”

ATSs are allowed under the current laws, but a key concern “is the accompanying fragmentation of previously centralized trading,” continued Wheatley. “These types of trades contribute to reducing liquidity in the reference market, simply by virtue of the fact that fewer orders get posted there. This in turn raises difficult questions about the extent to which the broker’s client is really achieving best execution.”

BlocSec operates a pan-Asian block trading platform that went live in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong in May. Ned Phillips, CEO of BlocSec, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, said that he sees growing interest in alternative platforms in Asia. BlocSec, which currently has 75 clients in Hong Kong, plans to expand to Australia and Korea next.

Ben Kwong, COO of Hong Kong brokerage KGI Securities Co., said that local brokers are “heavily investing in trading technologies.” KGI, for one, plans to invest HK$30 million ($3.8 million) this year to improve its trading platform because “it is the best way to save money,” said Kwong. “The average trading cost in Hong Kong is about 25 basis points, compared with 15 basis points with electronic trading.”

Korea Slow to Change

In Korea, best-execution rules are still in the distant future. Instinet and Samsung Securities in March launched Korea’s first crossing network. In July, Investment & Securities Co. became the country’s first firm to offer algorithmic trading capabilities to international clients, adopting event processing technology from Progress Software Corp.’s Apama division. Algorithms have yet to be widely adopted in the market, according to Gyun Jun, analyst from Seoul-based Samsung Securities.

Source: SecuritiesIndustry.com, 22.09.2008 by Wang Fangqing see full report at Securities Industry News

Filed under: Asia, Australia, Exchanges, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Library, News, Singapore, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

China Allows Short Sales, Margin Loans to Help Market

China’s cabinet agreed to let investors buy shares on credit and sell borrowed stock to help develop Asia’s second-largest market after prices and trading volumes slumped, an official familiar with the plan said.

The State Council signed off on a China Securities Regulatory Commission plan submitted this month to allow margin lending and short selling, said the official, who declined to be identified as he isn’t authorized to speak on the issue.

China’s action contrasts with regulators in the U.S., Europe and Australia that have banned short selling in the past week to shore up financial shares battered by the global credit squeeze. China’s government is betting the changes will boost trading without spurring further declines after state share buybacks helped the CSI 300 Index rebound from a two-year low.

“It’s quite positive for the market and will help attract fresh capital into equities,” said Wu Kan, a fund manager in Shanghai at Dazhong Insurance Co., which oversees the equivalent of $285 million. “Given the current level the index is standing at now, I do think some investors will buy low through margin trading so as not to miss the boat.”

Index Futures
Short selling may accelerate the introduction of stock- index futures that will allow investors to short contracts on the CSI 300 to hedge risk. The China Financial Futures Exchange published rules in June 2007 that said investors would be required to put up 10 percent of a contract’s value to buy, sell or short sell CSI 300-based futures. No date was given at the time for when the products will start trading.

Key Task
Short selling and margin lending “will attract inflow of some capital into the stock market, but won’t help reverse the market trend unless expectations about corporate earnings growth improve,” said Wu Youhui, a strategist at GF Securities Co. in Guangzhou. “Brokerages will benefit most as they’ll have a new source of income.”

It will take several days for the paperwork to go through, and the plan will be announced before the week-long National Day holiday next week or right after it, said the official.

Brokerages
According to the rules, only selected brokerages are allowed to handle margin trades as part of a pilot program. They must have three years trading history and net assets of no less than 1.2 billion yuan for the past six months.

The regulator stated that only companies with market values greater than 800 million yuan and with stable share prices are eligible to be sold short.

Source: Bloomberg 26.09.2008 : Zhao Yidi in Beijing at at yzhao7@bloomberg.net; Zhang Shidong in Shanghai at szhang5@bloomberg.net

Filed under: Asia, Australia, China, Exchanges, Hong Kong, India, Japan, News, Singapore, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ASX prospers in turbulent markets

ASX Limited (ASX) today announced its full-year result for the year ending 30 June 2008 (FY08). Normal net profit after tax of $365.9 million was achieved, a 16.9% increase on the $313.1 million for the prior corresponding period (pcp) to 30 June 2007 (FY07).

The profit was achieved on operating revenue of $614.7 million, 11.2% higher than the $552.7 million in revenue in FY07, and on cash operating expenses of $136.7 million, 1.5% lower than the $138.8 million in expenses in FY07.

A final dividend of 93.9 cents per share (cps) fully franked has been declared, up 2.6% on the FY07 final dividend of 91.5 cps. This maintains the ASX policy of paying 90% of normal net profit after tax as fully franked dividends to shareholders.

Total fully franked dividends declared in FY08 are 192.4 cps, up 17.5% on 163.8 cps in FY07.

Robert Elstone, Managing Director and CEO, said: “FY08 was a year of strong financial performance for the ASX group and a very demanding one for ASX’s supervisory, operational and risk management functions. Profit growth slowed during the second half of FY08, compared to the first half, in keeping with volatile financial markets globally, and initial listing activity reduced sharply, consistent with tighter domestic credit conditions and lower business confidence; a trend mirrored in other developed financial economy exchange markets.

Trade execution volumes in the cash equities market continued to grow at a staggering pace. Post-merger cost savings in equipment, occupancy and administration expenses also contributed to the strong financial result. Importantly, record fee rebates were paid to market Participants.

The performance of ASX during the difficult market conditions of FY08 underlines the resilience and diversity of the group’s business model (and the enormous market efficiency it delivers to the Australian capital market everyday). That performance is also a credit to the professionalism and competence of ASX’s workforce. Two years on from the creation of the integrated Australian Securities Exchange, revenues have risen and operating costs have reduced from what they were at the time of the ASX/SFE merger, despite additional investment in supervisory resources.

ASX’s commitment to market supervision continued to match market conditions, with full-time equivalent staff numbers for ASX Markets Supervision rising from 84 in FY07 to 103 in FY08.

ASX also completed the integration of the operational and technology environments of both exchanges during the second half of FY08, with no material disruption to user service levels. The availability and performance of ASX’s core applications across the company announcements, trade execution, risk management, and clearing and settlement systems continue to achieve global best practice levels.

Although global equity and credit markets continue to be more fragile and volatile than in recent years, I remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects for ASX over the medium-term.”

Further ASX highlights for FY08:

* Listings revenue (20% of total revenue) was $120.2 million, up 2.3%. There were 236 new listings compared to 284 in FY07, with a total of $61.8 billion of new and secondary capital raised, down 20.6%.

* Cash market revenue (31% of total revenue), net of rebates, was $188.8 million, up 21.2%. Cash market revenue includes revenue from the trading, clearing and settlement of equities, warrants and interest rate securities. Cash market revenue was earned on a:

– Record 91.3 million trades, up 87%, equating to an average 360,988 trades per day, up 86%; and

– Record $1.6 trillion of turnover, up 22%, equating to an average of $6.39 billion per day, up 22%.

* Derivatives revenue (27% of total revenue) was $166.9 million, up 7.8%.

– There were 23.2 million equity derivatives (excluding SPI 200) contracts traded, consistent with pcp.

– There were 89.1 million futures and options on futures (including SPI 200) contracts traded, up 2.7%.

* Information services revenue (11% of total revenue) was $68.0 million, up 10.8%. The main source of information services revenue was the sale of market data terminal subscriptions.

Source: ASX, 14.August 2008

Filed under: Australia, Data Management, Data Vendor, Exchanges, Market Data, News, Trading Technology, , , ,

Nyfix connects to MetaBit Market Liquidity Hub

NYFIX has added MetaBit’s MLH (Market Liquidity Hub) to the NYFIX Marketplace, giving Marketplace members efficient access to an increased number of Japanese brokers and regional exchanges. MetaBit’s MLH clients will benefit from membership with the NYFIX Marketplace, one of the leading fully-managed, FIX-based trading communities in the world, gaining the ability to efficiently trade with more than 400 buy-side and 475 sell-side firms who are currently members.

Bob Moitoso, Global Head of the FIX Division at NYFIX comments: “We are on a mission to provide members of the NYFIX Marketplace with the broadest range of electronic trading services and global liquidity sources possible. By partnering with MetaBit we’ve been able to accelerate our reach into the Japanese markets and satisfy our members’ request for access to brokers and exchanges in the region. We look forward to working with MetaBit to continually provide our buy-side and sell-side members with enhanced solutions and opportunities for more efficient electronic trading.”

Daniel Burgin, CEO, MetaBit adds: “Today’s firms need extended connectivity to gain traction in global markets. The NYFIX Marketplace offers MetaBit’s clients a great platform to international markets. This partnership supports a natural progression for our FIX network and allows our clients to gain seamless access to one of the world’s largest FIX enabled trading communities.”

Source: NYFIX 04.08.2008

Filed under: Asia, Exchanges, FIX Connectivity, Japan, News, Trading Technology, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Asian Exchanges – The Awakening (Part I)

By Stephan Stadelmann, FINETIK

Published in AsiaMarketsIT.com on 01 Apr 2007 12:35:53

The Asian Century

During the past decade, Asia has fallen periodically in and out of favour with investors globally. Excitement has been followed by caution, which has been followed by excitement once again. Today’s focus on Asia, which owes much credit to the rise of the Chinese and Indian markets, shows signs of becoming a stable period of global investment into Asia. It is no coincidence that some analysts have called this the “Asia Century”. Against this backdrop, the exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region have lagged behind their US and European competitors (with perhaps the exception of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)).

However, with hindsight, this could turn out for the better for Asia’s exchanges, as it gives them ample opportunity to study the ingredients of past successes and failures. Governments in Asia are much more involved in the business of exchanges than in Western countries, and the process of deciding on change, and how to execute such change, can be cumbersome, and might follow paths that are not always obvious to the observer, or to external firms that decide to pitch for any business with Asian exchanges. However, once Asian exchanges have decided to make change, they tend to be genuinely determined to carry it through.

Challenges and Opportunities

The challenges and opportunities facing the exchanges and their market participants in what is the fastest growing part of the world are substantial.

Let’s look at China, where 2.5 million new investor accounts were added to the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) in 2006 alone, making a total of 41 million accounts. The Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchange exceeded a combined 80 million registered accounts in Q1 2007, and there is no slowdown in sight. SSE’s existing trading system is scheduled to be replaced in Q3 2007 with new generation trading systems designed to accommodate at least 80 million accounts, 20,000 order matches per second and a scalable minimum of 63 million executions a day. The new systems will cater for multiple asset classes such as cash equities, funds, warrants, bonds and financial and commodity derivatives.

Another much talked-about market is Vietnam’s HoSTC (Ho Chi Min Securities Trading Centre). HoSTC is at a very different crossroads on its path to growth and deregulation from that of the SSE, but there are similarities. HoSTC is also doubling its number of trading accounts, and the pilgrimage of foreign institutional and retail investors into Vietnam is ongoing. The demand for investing into the exchange manifests itself in some very peculiar forms: for example, travel agents in Japan sell tour packages to Vietnam that offer tourists the opportunity to open “a trading account (on HoSTC) after your tour of the Museum of American War”. Such tactics aside, the order placement, matching and trade execution processes on HoSTC are still extremely laborious and manual today. By May 2007, continuous trading will be introduced, and by mid-2008 a new trading system with electronic direct market access (DMA) is scheduled to be in place.

From a technology perspective, the global FIX protocol standard has been accepted by stock exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region. However, though interest is on the rise, adoption in practice is slow. Exceptions to this are ASX, leading the way in Asia (using FIX for trading and market data), followed by the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX). Bursa Malaysia (BM) and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) are following, by launching FIX connections to their trading terminals. China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges are leveraging the concept of the FIX protocol, albeit in a modified form: they are using what they term STEP, Securities Trading Exchange Protocol, for their internal benefit.

Legacy System Replacement

There is a need for most if not all exchanges in Asia to replace their current legacy systems. This requirement is being driven by the demands of inflowing investments that compel the exchanges to cope with high volume growth and demand for DMA. While foreign market players are the driving force, domestic participants are increasingly starting to engage in DMA, and domestic trading volumes are also on the rise. Asia’s exchanges are also under pressure to extend their product ranges for foreign investors. This, coupled with the need to increase trading capacity, further confirms the trend to replace legacy systems. The Asia-Pacific region is an increasingly competitive environment in which markets are fighting for an increased share of incoming investments, and one highly visible marketing strategy is to publicise plans to replace and upgrade legacy exchange systems. This may, to some extent, explain why some of the more conservative exchanges seem to be executing such replacement projects half- heartedly in the eyes of foreign market participants and the international software firms that are trying to win these exchanges’ lucrative and prestigious technology replacement projects.

Asia endeavours to be self-sufficient. As a result, its exchanges believe there are opportunities to promote and sell their own trading technologies to other exchanges within the region. For example, SET, BM and Korean Stock Exchange (KRX) are becoming de facto technology vendors to emerging markets like Vietnam. At the opposite end of the spectrum, FT India, a trading systems technology provider, has emerged as a dominant exchange in India with MCX (Multi Commodity Exchange), and owns part of DGCX (Dubai Gold & Commodity Exchange). FT India is currently expanding its activities through active involvement with other exchanges in the region, providing consulting and trading systems.

Market Data

On the market data side, the SSE Infonet business of the Shanghai Stock Exchange launched in Q2 2006 a new level 2 market data feed with a new stringent business model for the exchange data industry. The Hong Kong Exchange (HKEx) and SSE Infonet have now agreed to distribute each others’ market data feeds for cross-listed and specifically selected stocks. Similarly, the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange have agreed to a cross-continental distribution of some of their data.

Another hot topic within the Asian exchange industry is the merging of separate exchanges for cash products, financial derivatives and commodities derivatives, with all the implications of such moves for products and technology.

Last but not least, the expectation of cross-country exchange mergers and alliances has been fuelled by a recent flurry of (often vague) memoranda of understanding between several exchanges in Asia and European and US exchanges wishing to create a presence in Asia.

The activities among Asia’s exchanges in 2006 and early 2007 are only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned…

Stephan Stadelmann is a founding partner  of FINETIK Partners.
http://www.finetik.com

Filed under: Asia, Australia, China, Data Vendor, Exchanges, FiNETIK Articles, FIX Connectivity, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Library, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Trading Technology, Vietnam, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,