Southeast Asian stock markets quietly kill their trading link

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SINGAPORE (Oct 13): A system that connected stock markets in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand has closed down, five years after its high-profile debut.

The Asean Trading Link started with Bursa Malaysia and Singapore Exchange Ltd, with The Stock Exchange of Thailand also joining. It was heralded at its launch as breaking the barriers to cross-border trade and offering a single entry-point to three of Southeast Asia’s biggest stock markets, with thousands of listed companies. Bourses in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia were expected to eventually take part.

The link’s end was announced quietly, with Singapore Exchange’s only statement on the move made in a consultation paper on rule changes that was published on Tuesday. “With effect 6 October 2017, the Asean trading linkage will no longer be in operation,” the company said.

Trading turnover has grown since the link’s introduction, the Asean Exchanges said in a response to questions. That has “created new and efficient methods of facilitating cross-border transactions,” the regional bourses group said, explaining the decision to shut the link.

“We are not surprised to see the decommissioning of the Asean Trading Link,” said Melinda Sam, chief executive officer of the Securities Association of Singapore. “Stockbroking firms had their own links to their counterparties way before Asean Trading Link was mooted.”