Trading in Singapore's equities market could be more active if investors have unencumbered access to data and information to help them make informed decisions.
For instance, data on market depth serves an important purpose of providing transparency on the demand and supply of a share at various price levels.
Investors who do not have access to this can lose their feel of the market sentiment, causing them to invest or trade less, and possibly turn to other markets, leading to a drop in market activity here and loss of vibrancy.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) used to provide this data for free, but now charges $30 a month. Often, the stockbroking firms and remisiers pay for the data because they want to keep the business of investors, especially retail ones.
When this happens, the overall revenue pie does not actually grow, as revenue from each stockbroking firm is just transferred to SGX.
While stockbroking firms can endure these charges, remisiers, whose incomes have already been blighted over years of commission cutting, find the going even tougher.
Providing complimentary market depth data should be seen as a duty to bring about a more vibrant market.
SGX needs to take a look at how it is treading the fine line between profit and duty.
Tng Kim Bock