SGX RegCo chief wants local bourse to be self-governing marketplace

Mr Tan Boon Gin, chief executive of the Singapore Exchange Regulation, says the end goal is to shape a marketplace where the regulator's presence is hardly felt or necessary.
Mr Tan Boon Gin, chief executive of the Singapore Exchange Regulation, says the end goal is to shape a marketplace where the regulator's presence is hardly felt or necessary.PHOTO: ST FILE

Mr Tan Boon Gin, chief executive of the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), wants the local bourse to be a better-quality and more mature marketplace unstifled by overbearing regulatory frameworks.

"As a market regulator, our end goal is to eventually shape a marketplace where the regulator's presence is hardly felt or necessary. This means the market and participants are effectively self-governing," he said yesterday at a virtual media briefing.

"This is important because a market needs to be innovative in order to remain attractive and vibrant. We want new jurisdictions and new products to be introduced on our platform, and to do so, the market community must also be ready to handle the associated risks," he added.

However, he noted that while the Singapore Exchange has built up its presence over the years as an international exchange with international products, it is relatively young compared with others, such as the Western markets.

To build a more mature marketplace, SGX RegCo has reached out to the various actors in the community to get them to commit to certain minimum standards and recognise that there will be a need for specific intervention, especially in areas where Singapore has less experience, Mr Tan said.

He said that with time, some of these more prescriptive measures will evolve into more general principles - a necessary evolution, as rules simply cannot legislate for everything and everyone.

Otherwise, the regulatory framework will be too stifling and leave no room for new growth.

"There must always be space for the market to develop and innovate," Mr Tan said.

Thus, SGX RegCo has tightened listing rules on accounting and property valuation, but has also loosened certain blunt tools like the minimum trading price and quarterly reporting in favour of more targeted and risk-based policies, he said.

Also, for a more mature market, credible deterrence is essential.

"That is why we have consulted on enhancements to our enforcement framework in August 2020. You may have also noticed that we have been working more closely with the statutory authorities as well as industry bodies," he said.

Ovais Subhani

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2021, with the headline 'SGX RegCo chief wants local bourse to be self-governing marketplace'. Print Edition | Subscribe