FiNETIK – Asia and Latin America – Market News Network

Asia and Latin America News Network focusing on Financial Markets, Energy, Environment, Commodity and Risk, Trading and Data Management

SMX To List TOCOM Products

Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX), the first pan-Asian multi-product commodity and currency derivatives exchange, and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, Inc. (TOCOM), Japan’s leading commodity futures exchange, today announced that they have signed a licensing agreement for SMX to list Contracts* on TOCOM products.

Building upon the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 23 April 2010 to explore mutually beneficial partnerships, senior officials from both exchanges signed a licensing agreement which would see the listing of several SMX TOCOM Contracts for products already being traded on TOCOM. These include crude oil, gasoline, kerosene and gas oil. The agreement does not rule out the possibility of cross-listing wherein TOCOM might also list SMX products.

Agreement terms include the license for SMX to use TOCOM prices as the last settlement price, delivery price, reference price and daily settlement price and/or final settlement price for SMX TOCOM Contracts.

Mr. Thomas McMahon, Chief Executive Officer of SMX, said: “This agreement is exciting for us for several reasons. Aside from augmenting our initial MoU and being able to roll-out contracts the markets are already familiar with, our foremost aim to develop a credible pan-Asian platform is being achieved at good speed. We are encouraged by TOCOM’s enthusiasm and foresight for a united Asian derivatives marketplace, and will be announcing more of such developments in the coming months. We must embrace exchange partnerships as crucial steps to reducing fragmentation of derivatives trading during Asian business hours.”

Mr. Tadashi Ezaki, President and Chief Executive Officer of TOCOM, said: “SMX is the up-and-coming derivatives exchange in Asia, which commenced trading in August this year and grows rapidly with an increasing range of listed products. We expect that licensing SMX to use TOCOM prices for their new products to be listed shall help increase arbitrage between TOCOM and SMX increase, and accordingly enhance the convenience of the markets. We continue to work together with SMX to further develop derivatives trading in Asia.”

The listed commodities currently trading on TOCOM include futures and options contracts for gold, and futures contracts for silver, platinum, palladium, gasoline, kerosene, gas oil, crude oil, rubber and Nikkei-TOCOM Commodity Index. SMX launched live trading on 31 August 2010 with four products consisting of Futures Contracts on crude oil benchmarks Brent Crude Oil priced in Euros and West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil, Gold with physical delivery-based settlement and Euro-US Dollar Currency Futures.

In August 2010, market leaders in low latency services in Japan and Singapore – KVH Co., Ltd. (KVH) and Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) respectively announced provision of KVH-SingTel?s low latency network solutions to market participants, enabling both exchanges to facilitate an ultra low latency and fully redundant network service between Japan and Singapore.

* Subject to regulatory approval by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

Source:MondoVisione 15.10.2010

 

Filed under: Exchanges, Japan, News, Singapore, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tokyo Financial Exchange gets recognised market operator status in Singapore

Tokyo Financial Exchange (TFX) was granted recognised market operator status from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on 22 June 2009.

This recognition allows investors in Singapore, who meet necessary requirements, to become a remote member of TFX and trade TFX’s Interest Rate Futures contracts directly.

TFX is the first exchange in Japan to receive recognised market operator status. TFX, as a comprehensive financial derivatives exchange, will continue to make efforts to provide a more convenient market place for all foreign and domestic market participants.

Source: Finextra, 03.07.2009

Filed under: Asia, Exchanges, Japan, News, Singapore, , , , , , ,

Singapore’s Take on Islamic Finance

Singapore’s plunge into the Islamic finance scene did not come as a surprise to many in the industry. Seeing the Islamic finance industry take-off in Malaysia and with Hong Kong and Indonesia playing catch up, Singapore’s obvious move was to take on this ethical form of financing with formidable force. Despite being the first Asian country to fall into a recession, which prompted the government to declare the situation as the worst ever for it, the Lion City was still optimistic about launching its first Sukuk at a signing ceremony last month. Eureka – Islamic_Finance_News article

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Heng Swee Keat described the Sukuk as the Shariah-compliant equivalent of Singapore Government Securities (SGS) and said it was of the highest credit standing. He assured investors that it would be given equal regulatory treatment as SGS, such as qualifying as an asset in the computation of capital and liquidity requirements, and as eligible collateral for tapping MAS’ liquidity.

“MAS is committed to the facility, issuing to meet the needs of financial institutions that are carrying out or plan to carry out Shariah-compliant activities in Singapore, as this will strengthen their ability to meet their capital and liquidity requirements.” He added.

Research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates released a report recently on the Islamic finance industry in Singapore, focusing on the Islamic funds available in the republic. According to it, Hong Kong and Singapore have been financial services hub rivals in Asia and their competition has now extended to Islamic finance. The report states that the Islamic finance is not to cater for their relatively small Muslim populations, but rather to encompass all areas of financial services as well as attract the petro-dollars from the Middle East.

Describing Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s effort as wholesale as opposed to Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s “more retail approach”, Cerulli said the Singapore government had decided several years ago that as trade with its Middle East counterparts increased, there would be a need for an Islamic finance industry. Its Middle East trade doubled to US$37 billion in four years to the end of 2007.

“MAS has been proactive in trying to create a level playing field for the conventional and Islamic approaches – in 2005, for example, it remitted the additional stamp duties that Islamic financing arrangements on property were incurring, and allowed banks to offer Murabahah financing,” the report stated.

Cerulli added that income tax and goods and services tax (GST) treatments for Shariah-compliant financing arrangements and Sukuk were clarified and given a level playing field as conventional products. “Retail investors in Murabahah are now given the same regulatory protection under Singapore’s Bank Act as any conventional depositor. And a 5% concessionary tax rate was announced in February 2008 on income derived from qualifying Shariah-compliant financial activities, including lending, fund management, insurance and reinsurance.”

Cerulli noted that the significant step in Singapore’s Islamic finance push came with the formation of the Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) in June 2007. Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, holds the majority share in the bank together with Middle East investors. IB Asia has since opened a representative office in Bahrain. It focuses on Shariah-compliant commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and private banking services.

According to Cerulli, the Sukuk issuance working on reverse inquiry that would be issued based on the needs of the republic’s financial institutions could boost the development of Islamic finance. However it would not be the republic’s first issuance as there have been several other issuances such as the MBB Sukuk Inc established by Maybank that raised US$300 million two years ago.

Cerulli observed that Singapore has its own Shariah index, the FTSE SGX Asia Shariah 100 Index, which is designed to be used as a basis for exchange-traded funds and over-the-counter trading instruments although it maintained that none have yet been launched. “There are currently six managers with Shariah funds registered in Singapore who are collectively responsible for assets worth about US$470 million, although this figure was somewhat higher prior to the current financial crisis.”


Click on the image for an enlarged preview

Shariah-compliant funds have also found a place in Singapore. Cerulli states that NTUC Income, a cooperative insurance society and a leader in life and general insurance with more than 1.8 million policyholders, currently offers the republic’s two largest Shariah funds.

The Amanah Bond Fund is managed by RHB Investment Management and CIMB-Principal Asset Management. It had US$157 million under management at the end of October last year. The other fund is NTUC’s Amanah Equity Fund, described by Cerulli as a global passive product, which is managed by State Street Global Advisers and has US$164 million under management. NTUC also offers a Takaful fund, jointly managed by NTUC Income and Wellington International Management with US$55 million under management.

Cerulli’s report also notes that other local players offering funds include UOB Asset Management, Singapore Unit Trusts (SUT) and Swiss-Asia Financial Services. UOB Asset Management offers the Afdaal Asia Pacific Equity Fund, for which CIMB-Principal Asset Management is the advisor. SUT, a member company of Malaysia’s Permodalan National Berhad (PNB) Group, has two Shariah-compliant funds: the Ethical Value Fund and Ethical Growth Funds, both being global equity products; while Swiss-Asia Financial Services launched its first Shariah fund, an absolute return Asian equity product named the Mashriq Fund, in July 2006.

According to Cerulli, the largest Shariah-compliant investment product sold in Singapore to-date was by a group called Pacific Star Investment and Development, which sold the now closed Baitak Asian Real Estate Fund at US$600 million. On offshore funds, Cerulli states that the available Shariah-compliant funds from the offshore managers are the DWS Noor range, including an Asia-Pacific equity fund, China equity fund, Global select equity fund, Japan equity fund and a precious metals securities product. “All are sold in Singapore (though they are domiciled in Ireland), as are CIMB Islamic’s Asia-Pacific equity fund and several HSBC products, domiciled locally under the HSBC-Link Ethical brand,” it added.

Source: Eurka Hedeg, Islamic Finance News, 22.04.2009

Filed under: Asia, Banking, Indonesia, Islamic Finance, News, Services, Singapore, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crisis will bring new opportunities in Asia, Monetary Authority of Singapore

Wealth creation and the rise of Asia’s middle class will drive growth in personal financial services, says Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Heng Swee Keat.
The medium-term prospects for growth in Asia remain strong despite the global financial crisis, according to Heng Swee Keat, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

“The secular trend in the growth of Asian enterprises and corporations, growing intra-regional trade, and the demands for infrastructure financing will generate new opportunities for corporate and institutional businesses,” says Heng, who gave the keynote address at the International Institute of Finance Asia Regional Economic Forum in Singapore. “Wealth creation and the rise of the Asian middle class, coupled with the low penetration of financial services will drive the growth of personal financial services.”

Heng went on to say that when the dust settles, global financial institutions which rebuild their resilience and stay engaged in the Asia region will increase the value of their franchises.

“Asia will continue to provide strong growth opportunities and geographical diversification benefits,” he says. “Some Asian financial institutions will also develop strong operations, brand names and a regional footprint. They will play their role in driving Asia’s continued growth.”

Singapore, he notes, is working to cushion the impact of the crisis while at the same time building capabilities in the economy and the financial sector for the upturn.

Like everywhere else, Singapore has experienced tightening credit conditions and it has taken action to address both the interbank money markets as well as the flow of credit from banks to corporations.

In the interbank money markets, the MAS remains focused on ensuring that both the Singapore dollar and the US dollar markets continue to function smoothly, Heng says. For the Singapore dollar market, the MAS will continue to ensure sufficient liquidity through its monetary operations and standing facility. For the US dollar market, it established a $30 billion swap line with the US Federal Reserve. This line is alongside other swap lines that the Fed has with 13 other central banks, including several in Europe and Asia.

“As a major funding centre, we took precautionary measures to ensure that global financial institutions operating here continue to have access to US dollar liquidity,” Heng says.

The MAS has not needed to use the swap line, “nor do we see any impending need”, Heng says, while adding that the precautionary measure has served it well.

With regards to the flow of credit from banks to corporations, Singapore believes this is best facilitated through government schemes to co-share some of the risks with banks. In February, the government announced the Special Risk-Sharing Initiative (SRI). Under this initiative, the government will absorb 75% of the risk for insurance covering working capital and trade-financing loan facilities. The government will also absorb 80% of the risk for bridging loans which go towards meeting firms’ working-capital needs. It also has schemes for SMEs and micro-loans.

Source: AsianInvestor, 06.03.2009

Filed under: Asia, Banking, News, Risk Management, Singapore, , , , , , , , , , ,