Malaysia-Singapore connect to provide investors seamless access

Sergio Conner
February 7, 2018

"I am looking at the bigger story, and I hope Thailand will come in, I hope Vietnam will come in and the market continues to grow", Nicholas Teo, trading strategist at KGI Securities in Singapore, said about the Malaysia-Singapore trade link.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asian bourses continue to struggle to stay on the radar of global investors, who have flocked to the region's much larger stock markets, especially those in North Asia.

The trading link will allow investors to trade and settle shares listed on each other's stock market more conveniently and at lower costs.

The two countries, which are separated by a narrow strip of water, have the two largest stock markets in ASEAN.

The neighbors once shared a single bourse operator - the Stock Exchange of Malaysia and Singapore.

Following the decision, a regulatory arrangement will be worked on by the countries' relevant authorities, to pave the way for the establishment of the trading link.

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The initiative is part of efforts by the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum to deepen financial connectivity across the region's capital markets.

Also present were Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and Securities Commission Malaysia Chairman, Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh.

Connecting markets has become more pressing for Asean - a grouping of 10 regional economies - as competition from financial market connections elsewhere in Asia grows. "This will improve the liquidity of both our stock markets", Lee Boon Ngiap, Assistant Managing Director, MAS, said.

In fact, he said, Malaysia was now involved in various projects with Singapore, including the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System and the development of Marina One, a joint venture between Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings, valued at S$11 billion (RM32.57 billion). The two countries launched a regional trading link in 2012 that was later joined by Thailand, but the system was quietly shut down a year ago without any explanation.

"These are just some of the steps we are taking to ensure that we do indeed participate in a renaissance of capitalism and that our growth is shared by all", Najib said.

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