Published On: Sun, Jan 2nd, 2011

2010 Top 10 Developments in Asia’s Electronic Trading Industry

2010 was the year that Asia’s electronic trading industry focused on competition and services in what have traditionally been anti-competitive market places. We recorded over 1000 separate news items this year in Asia alone. We recognize that some of the developments that made our list will not be relevant to everyone but as a neutral third party observer we have come up with a list that we feel are the Top 10 Developments in Asia’s Electronic Trading Industry in 2010.

We welcome your feedback and opinion on our selections and the industry developments you thought could be included. But for now here is the list of our Top 10.

10) The US CFTC now allows Malaysian futures brokers to deal directly with US customer. Perhaps individually not a Top 10 item as other brokers in Asia have been given the nod by the US regulator too. But when taken together with the recent Bursa Malaysia exchange technology upgrades in both the equity and futures segments, migration to the CME Globex platform and the record prices in the Crude Palm Oil contract Malaysia is now poised to take its place as a south-east Asian trading center. It will become a key anchor in the ASEAN link planned in the coming years.

9) China’s Index future launched April 16 after many years of delay was an important development not only for electronic trading but also for China’s budding algorithmic and hedge fund industry. The index has quickly become one of the largest index futures now traded in Asia. Though the back month doesn’t trade as much as it should it will only be a matter of time before that open interest picks up too. It shouldn’t be long before we see index options and an interest rate future for China as well.

8 ) Singapore Mercantile Exchange launched in late August this year. Asia is demanding more and more commodities as wealth and consumption grow around the zone. Generally, in Asia, commodity exchanges tend to offer just one product but the Singapore Merc is offering a basket of commodities to trade both physical and cash contracts. Trading is available in WTI crude, currency, gold and black pepper to name a few. Interestingly, though, is that the SMX is owned entirely by Financial Technologies Group (FTIL) an India based company that will see its exchange compete head on with SICOM, the SGXs commodities arm. Expect to hear more from the SMX this year.

7) The Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC) began clearing trades for Proprietary Trading Systems (PTS) in August substantially reducing the costs in the post trade for alternatives in Japan. While the playing field still isn’t level with the Primary exchanges, this development at the JSCC was a boost for Japanese PTSs. SBI Japannext, a consortium PTS, has regularly traded 1 percent of daily volume on its venue as a result of this change. We expect fragmentation to accelerate in 2011 in Japan which is already around 3 to 5%.

6) The launch of Chi-east. The joint venture between the Singapore Exchange and Chi-X called Chi-east made it to our list of top 10 developments in Asia electronic trading industry in 2010. The venture is a big step for Singapore in terms of spurring exchange competition and becoming a regional one-stop-shop for trading in Asia. Chi-East is a broker to broker alternative that will offer off-shore crossing using different clearing facilities around Asia.

5) China is now the largest agricultural commodity market in the world with the Dalian Commodity Exchange seeing record volumes in Corn and the Soybean complex. Coupled with the Shanghai Futures Exchange and its metal products the opportunities and future for the electronic trading industry vertical in China and the rest of the world are huge.

4) Exchange competition in Australia. On March 31 the Australian government announced its support for Exchange competition in Australia. While we are still waiting the promise of competition is compelling. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has long held a monopoly over the industry with poor service and high trading fees (explicit and implicit). The ASX passed its supervisory duties to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) August 1 and with the Market Integrity Rules being finalized it shouldn’t be long before trading in Australia is much cheaper and better served. The ASX SGX merger could put a spanner in the works, however.

3) Smart Order Routing in India – SEBI finally permitted Smart Order Routing in India in August of this year much to the National Stock Exchanges chagrin. The Bombay Stock Exchange promptly offered this service to its customers in a bid to take market share from its larger rival. India has the tightest spreads in Asia of around 6bps and with SORs on offer we can expect spreads to tighten even further and volumes to shoot up. This long overdue regulation puts India on the road to offering best execution far ahead of its BRIC peer China. Deutesche equities was the first FII to receive approval for using SORs to both the NSE and BSE.

2) SGX / ASX Merger – We have seen it in the US and Europe and it has finally come to Asia, exchange consolidation. While the news of this reverberated around the world like a tsunami the reality, in AsiaEtrading’s view, is that this is a merger of survival. Both exchanges are very small and in aggregate are still quite small but would command the largest futures market in Asia (not including China’s commodities of course). The announcement is further evidence that Asia is moving to a more competitive industry and should be a wake-up call to the rest of the region. Our webinar on the topic had the panelists agreeing that the merger won’t happen. We’ll wait and see if this merger does indeed take place.

1) We ranked the Tokyo Stock Exchange Arrowhead upgrade as the most important development in Asia’s Electronic Trading industry in 2010. This was a significant and crucial development for one of the top exchanges in the world. Previously, order round trips were around 4 seconds and orders per second were on par with a Starbucks barista. The improved matching engine performance has tightened spreads, increased trading volumes and reduced order sizes. This in turn has attracted more sophisticated traders, reduced implicit trading costs and has generally benefited the Japanese trading industry significantly. Not only that, having come out of 2009 and the aftermath of the GFC, the successful upgrade was the turning point for what was a very activity business in 2010. To us it was the catalyst for the entire industry in Asia.

What do you think should be included in the 2010 Top 10 Developments in Asia’s Electronic Trading Industry?

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  1. extweets says:

    Nice one, good reminder of what’s happened, and what’s to come.

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