SINGAPORE -- Singapore's stock exchange is moving rapidly to keep pace with the changes in equity markets around the world.
The results could be the first steps in creating a regional network of stock markets, said Ang Swee Tian, president of Singapore Exchange Ltd.
In December, the Singapore Exchange was created by the merger of two separate securities and derivatives markets, the Stock Exchange of Singapore and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange Ltd.
Although the two exchanges were mutually owned, the new entity is not, which essentially opens up trading.
Before, a firm needed an ownership stake in the exchange in order to trade. In the past, investors' orders would be channeled through members of the exchange. Now, investors can trade directly with the exchange, said Mr. Ang.
The changes were made to attract new blood to the exchange and open up trading access, said Mr. Ang. "You can be a trading member without becoming an owner of the exchange. We're no longer operating as a club."
In the end, the moves help money managers and other institutional investors, he said. Easier access for brokers should mean lower costs on trades.
The moves are part of the collective effort of Singapore's government and its financial sector to compete with rival Hong Kong.
"It's an important part to strengthen Singapore's position as a financial center. We want to have more companies raise funds in Singapore," Mr. Ang said.
But the exchange also wants to reach out to its rival. In fact, it's looking to create links with other exchanges in the region.
Executives with the Singapore Exchange are talking to other Asian exchanges about pooling resources, Mr. Ang said.
For example, he said, the Singapore Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange could team up in an attempt to increase liquidity and attract companies to list in the region.
Brokers in Hong Kong could get access to the Singapore market, and vice versa, he said.
The exchange has 726 listed companies with a combined S$934 billion (U.S.$570 billion) market cap.