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13 August 2009

Singapore bourse to launch Asia's first dark pool

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The first exchange-backed dark pool in Asia will be launched by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in a joint venture with Chi-X Global, a global provider of market infrastructure technologies and trading venues, reported local TV broadcaster Channel News Asia on Wednesday.

SGX and Chi-X will each take a 50 percent share in the venture, expected to be operational in the first half of next year. They declined to reveal the cost of their investments, according to a Reuters report.

The joint venture, which will be equally owned by the two sponsors, intends to implement specific strategies to equip its dark pool with ample liquidity and attract new capital flows to the region.

The move aims to initially offer block crossing facilities for equities listed on SGX, and on an offshore basis for the Australia, China's Hong Kong and Japan exchanges.

SGX-listed stocks will be cleared and settled through The Central Depository, the exchange's securities clearing house and depository, via SGX's securities clearing members. The joint venture intends to appoint a pan-Asian central counterpart to clear other trades executed on the dark pool.

Dark pools are trading platforms where buyers and sellers can anonymously match large blocks of stock, away from central exchanges, keeping details of the deals and prices concealed to prevent distorting prices in the broader market.

Such platforms already account for more than 10 percent of trading in the United States, and dark pools have begun to set up operations in Asia to make inroads into the region's more liquid markets of Japan and Hong Kong.

Dark pools already in Asia include those run by Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Liquidnet, CLSA, Investment Technology Group and Nomura Holdings's Instinet unit, which is Chi-X's parent company.


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