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UPDATE 1-Struggling Singapore Exchange picks former banker as CEO
June 8, 2015 / 11:42 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Struggling Singapore Exchange picks former banker as CEO

(Adds quotes from shareholder, SGX statement)

By Anshuman Daga

SINGAPORE, June 8 (Reuters) - Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) appointed veteran banker Loh Boon Chye as its chief executive to lead a revival after it was hit by falling trading volume and technical glitches.

Loh, 51, quit as head of Asia-Pacific global markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in March. He succeeds outgoing CEO Magnus Bocker, who is leaving after five and a half years at SGX.

Loh was a director of SGX from 2004 to 2012 and had been widely tipped by local media to get the job. He will start in the role on July 14.

“He’s a very impressive individual. It’s obviously a challenge for all the reasons we know but if anyone can do it, he can,” Hugh Young, managing director of Aberdeen Asset Management Asia, which owns SGX shares, said on Monday.

While Singapore is the leading venue in Asia for foreign exchange trading and has seen strong growth as a derivatives centre, the average value of shares traded on its stock exchange each day is less than that of Thailand’s bourse and trails far behind rivals in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Hong Kong, in particular, is attracting interest from global funds after it launched a landmark trading link with Shanghai in November.

“Boon Chye is no stranger to SGX and his knowledge and extensive experience in capital markets equip him well to take SGX forward,” Chew Choon Seng, SGX’s chairman said in a statement. More than 40 percent of listed companies in Singapore and 90 percent of listed bonds originate outside of Singapore.

Known for his close ties with the financial institutions of his home country, Singapore, Loh began his career as an investment officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 1989. He also worked at Deutsche Bank in Singapore for 17 years.

Share trading in Singapore was hit by a penny stock crash in late 2013, prompting a slew of initiatives to boost liquidity. SGX then suffered two technical glitches late last year that halted stock trading and drew criticism from the central bank.

“I think it’s good that the appointment is of a local who is in touch with the Singapore scene and will be able to design what is needed by the Singapore stock market,” said Jimmy Ho, president of the Society of Remisiers (Singapore), representing stock dealers and brokers.

Bocker, who came to SGX with the experience of merging seven Nordic bourses, launched an audacious $8.3 billion takeover bid for Australian exchange operator ASX Ltd in 2010. But this was blocked by the Australian government. (Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Keith Weir)

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