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Singapore’s stock exchange gives dual-class shares a secondary listing toehold

Singapore's stock exchange, Singapore Exchange Ltd., said companies with dual-class share structures that have primary listings on developed market exchanges can seek secondary listings in Singapore.

But amid consultations begun earlier this year on whether companies with dual-class shares should be able to pursue initial public offerings on the Singapore exchange, the exchange warned in a statement posted on its website July 28 that the "clarification" on secondary listings shouldn't be taken to suggest that a decision in favor of primary listings is a foregone conclusion.

The secondary listing in Singapore of dual-class share companies with primary listings in the 22 markets that FTSE and MSCI classify as "developed markets" will "provide investors with more choice," while enhancing "market knowledge and familiarity with the risks and benefits of dual-class share companies," said Loh Boon Chye, CEO of Singapore Exchange Ltd., in the statement.

But in the same statement, Tan Boon Gin, CEO of Singapore Exchange Regulations, said, "this does not presume that we will adopt a primary dual-class share listing framework." He said the exchange is continuing to evaluate feedback on that topic, and will look to "update the market" by the end of 2017.

Corporate governance veterans say a move by Singapore to allow primary listings, to attract more listings of technology companies coming to market from countries such as China, would prompt other exchanges in the region to follow suit, accelerating the growth of companies offering investors less than the "one share, one vote" corporate governance standard.