SGX promises more dialogue with remisiers

A Singapore Exchange staff member (with tie) and president of The Society of Remisiers (Singapore), Mr Jimmy Ho, at the Equities Dialogue on Thursday. Senior SGX figures held a closed-door meeting with about 100 remisiers on the same day.
A Singapore Exchange staff member (with tie) and president of The Society of Remisiers (Singapore), Mr Jimmy Ho, at the Equities Dialogue on Thursday. Senior SGX figures held a closed-door meeting with about 100 remisiers on the same day. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has promised to be more attentive to the grievances of remisiers who are struggling amid the market downturn.

The pledge came after a three-hour closed-door meeting where SGX chief executive Loh Boon Chye and equities and fixed income head Chew Sutat thrashed out issues with about 100 angry remisiers.

Remisiers have endured a challenging 12 months due to poor investor sentiment and regulatory issues like the highly unpopular Minimum Trading Price (MTP) rule.

Thursday's meeting was peaceful, but there were some emotional moments.

The president of The Society of Remisiers (Singapore), Mr Jimmy Ho, said: "In the dialogue, exchanges were quite constructive and there was restored confidence about future cooperation in tackling problematic issues."

Other remisiers agreed that while the discussion was not in- depth and no concrete solutions emerged, the dialogue itself was a welcome gesture by the SGX.

A Lim & Tan Securities remisier, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Straits Times: "A large part of the meeting was for us to express our views, and obviously some were angry enough to raise their voices. A lot of the attention remained on the MTP issues.

"But Mr Loh was surprisingly patient throughout. He promised that he will pay attention to our problems and to have more frequent dialogues with us. It's premature to say whether our issues will be resolved, but the willingness to listen is a good start."

The MTP requirement is forcing many companies to consolidate their shares, which has wiped out hundreds of millions in shareholder value and further pressured the already bearish market.

A remisier at UOB Kay Hian, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: "Before this, there was never any serious attempt by the SGX to communicate with us. So for us to see that sincerity is already a breakthrough."

In a statement to The Straits Times, Mr Chew said: "We are aware there are many long-held misconceptions about our market, and we wanted to assure the remisiers that their views and suggestions are heard, and have been, or are being, addressed."

Concrete action has already been taken where possible, Mr Chew stressed, pointing to adjustments made for the MTP requirements and a more refined approach to issuing Trade With Caution alerts.

He also confirmed that the SGX is ready to engage the remisiers more actively.

"We will do so via regular and timely engagements and with as many of the 3,500-strong trading representative community as possible, to capture the diversity of views within the community itself, and to ensure a fruitful and productive session like the one we had (on Thursday)," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'SGX promises more dialogue with remisiers'. Print Edition | Subscribe