Free SGX from regulator role to focus on running its business

The recent increase in delistings, coupled with a decreasing number of listings, transactions and liquidity, can have a detrimental effect on the Singapore Exchange's branding, business model and resilience ("Otto Marine receives delisting offer"; June 9).

These are signs that should compel SGX to refresh itself in order to step up its business, sharpen its competitive edge and strengthen its position in the global economy.

There may be a need to review and remove SGX's role as a regulator.

By doing so, SGX would then not have to dilute its attention and balance looking after its commercial interests with policing listed companies and protecting investors.

It can also run a smoother operation without being unduly concerned about potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, it can better dedicate itself to redesigning its business model and strategies so as to open new markets, improve its branding, and introduce a better range of products and services.

It can look into reforming the market, such as making it more cost effective for listing and maintaining the listing of a company.

It can look into increasing the number of listings by, for example, tapping non-traditional markets and industries.

It can look at increasing the number of investors through education and other coaching programmes, and reducing the cost of trading activities so as to increase volumes and liquidity.

A newly established independent regulator that will take over SGX can be more focused on ensuring a higher standard of ethos and practice, including improving quality and standards of trading operations and activities.

This regulatory agency can also prevent difficulties that have plagued SGX in the past and could affect Singapore's standing as a banking and financial hub and as a centre of excellence for corporate governance.

The authorities can provide more incentives to attract more foreign entities to list on SGX, and attract more and better institutions and individuals to invest in our market.

They can also help to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and compliance issues so that entrepreneurs are more inclined to tap the capital market through an initial public offering.

It is imperative that Singapore, as a banking and financial hub, has a strong securities exchange.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)