Finance Forum – The ASX-SGX Proposal – in the national interest?

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Date(s) - 10/12/10
12:15pm - 2:00pm


Austock Group Ltd
Level 12, 15 William Street

The proposed merger of the Australian Securities Exchange with the Singapore Stock Exchange raises many key questions. .

  • Can the compliance regime of both markets be reconciled? .
  • What will be the ability of the merged exchange to attract new listings? .
  • How will Australian concerns about governance and control be overcome? .
  • Critically, would it be an end to, or the next stage of, Australia’s aspirations as a global financial centre? .
  • Is it perhaps a stepping stone for a Pan Asian Exchange?

This proposal follows a trend with series of prior mergers in other markets so there may be lessons in what has happened in the markets absorbed by the Euronext and OMX platforms. For instance: .

  • What has the loss of control of securities exchanges meant for markets in which consolidation has previously occurred.
  • Have jobs in financial services increased or fallen in the years after these mergers?
  • Who benefits from the greater liquidity of the bigger listed firms on the trading platforms of the merged exchanges?
  • Is it local market participants or offshore investors?
  • How effective are the merged exchanges for initial public offerings / new capital raisings?

A number of these questions would be amenable to academic study yet research to date is sparse. (Refer Ulf Nielsson of Columbia University soon to be published paper in Journal of Financial Markets for some thought starters.)

In considering the competition and national interest arguments, there are inherent in any large merger a range of trade-offs, particularly where it is cross-border. Inevitably there are political versus economic issues to be weighted. There are trade-offs in efficiency as against governance and equity considerations. Here commercial and shareholder considerations have to be balanced versus the market utility role of the exchange. Risk considerations are paramount; is sovereign risk increased or reduced?

ACFS has put together a panel with deep market knowledge, experience of prior exchange mergers and representing multiple sides of the debate and including the ASX itself.

Come and join the discussion and contribute to an important national debate.

Moderator: Prof Deborah Ralston, Director, ACFS

Panelists include:

  • Edna Carew, Author and Corporate Biographer;
  • Matthew Gibbs, Manager Corporate Relations, ASX Group;
  • Les Hosking, former CEO Sydney Futures Exchange and AXISS Australia;
  • Martin Ryan, Director – Investments, Mutual Ltd and founder Austock Ltd and Australia Pacific Exchange Ltd; and
  • Anthony Sweetman, Managing Director – Head of Corporate Advisory, Investment Banking, UBS.


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