SGX rolls out $5m care package amid outbreak

The SGX Care Package comprises a $1.5 million contribution to national healthcare support programmes including The Courage Fund. The remaining $3.5 million will be used to support Singapore-listed companies and SGX employees and contract staff, espec
The SGX Care Package comprises a $1.5 million contribution to national healthcare support programmes including The Courage Fund. The remaining $3.5 million will be used to support Singapore-listed companies and SGX employees and contract staff, especially front-line staff.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has rolled out a $5 million care package to provide support and relief measures amid the coronavirus outbreak, it announced today.

SGX said its aid package bolsters efforts by the financial community to reinforce Singapore's resilience as a global marketplace.

To be given out over 12 months, the SGX Care Package comprises a $1.5 million contribution to national healthcare support programmes, including The Courage Fund facilitated by the National Council of Social Service and its fund-raising arm, the Community Chest.

The remaining $3.5 million will be used to support Singapore-listed companies as well as SGX employees and contract staff, in particular front-line staff such as cleaning and security crew.

Singapore's market regulator noted that concern over the long-term social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has jolted international financial markets in recent weeks.

Stocks on the Straits Times Index lost 11 per cent of their market value last week, their worst weekly performance since October 2008 during the global financial crisis.

SGX chief executive officer Loh Boon Chye said: "As a key part of Singapore's financial market infrastructure, we are committed to ensuring uninterrupted operations at all times. This means taking the lead to do more for those who are putting their lives and jobs at risk, as well as companies and individuals who keep businesses and markets running.

"We are all in this together and as a community, we can be confident about emerging stronger when the virus situation blows over."

Since early last month, SGX has been working with the wider capital markets industry to understand their practical difficulties.

Its regulatory subsidiary, Singapore Exchange Regulation, announced on Feb 27 that it would give issuers two more months to hold their annual general meetings.

The SGX Care Package will provide additional support to listed companies, with more details to come at a later date.

SGX, which has operations in 10 cities around the world, also said today that it has suspended all large group events at its premises, with mandatory temperature screening and health and travel declarations for visitors.

Its staff have been operating at split sites to minimise contact, and have accelerated the use of digital tools to enhance their workflow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2020, with the headline 'SGX rolls out $5m care package amid outbreak'. Print Edition | Subscribe