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Singapore Exchange, Chi-X To Shut Dark Pool JV Due To Weak Volumes

05/10/2012 | 07:55am US/Eastern
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-- Dark pool venture setback comes one year after Singapore Exchange's failed bid for ASX Ltd.

-- Chi-East to close trading operations on May 24

-- SGX seeking to grow business through new product offerings

(Recasts introduction, adds background and details throughout)

By Sam Holmes

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Singapore Exchange Ltd. (S68.SG) and Chi-X Global Inc. Thursday said they will close their dark pool joint venture, Chi-East, due to weak volumes, less than two-years after its launch.

The closure is the latest setback for the city-state bourse's efforts to boost trading volumes and its profile as a global listing platform and comes just more than a year since its A$8.2 billion attempt to buy ASX Ltd. (>> ASX Ltd.), the operator of the Australian stock exchange, was blocked by Australia's foreign investment regulator.

"We weren't able to get to a point today where we were able to be commercial," Chi-East Chief Executive Ned Phillips told Dow Jones Newswires.

"In Asia, dark pool volumes are always a small part of the larger market as a whole but like anything in a market with lower volumes, it does make it harder."

Phillips said the 50-50 joint venture's last day of trading will be May 24.

Chi-East was launched in 2010 as part of the Singapore Exchange's bid to boost liquidity through trading of selected Singaporean, Hong Kong, Japanese and Australian securities on a dark pool platform - an electronic trading venue where money managers trade large blocks of shares anonymously. The platform reported a trading value of US$71.06 million for the three months ended Oct. 31.

Since his appointment in late 2009, Singapore Exchange Chief Executive Magnus Bocker has sought to grow the bourse's business both inorganically through the failed ASX acquisition bid and through new product offerings.

In 2010, SGX launched a S$250 million investment in its trading network technology to increase transaction speeds and in August it removed the lunch-time trading break to increase daily trading volumes.

Additionally, the exchange has sought to lure higher profile international listings with mixed results. Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing's Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (NS8U.SG) raised US$5.5 billion in Singapore's largest initial public offer early last year but Singapore has otherwise struggled to compete with Hong Kong as the key listing venue in Asia for global corporates.

According to data provider Dealogic, Singapore saw a total of US$7.6 billion in fund-raising via IPOs in 2011. By comparison, Hong Kong saw US$36.1 billion in fund raising last year including a US$10 billion IPO by Glencore International Plc. (0805.HK) in May and a US$2.1 billion offering by Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. (1929.HK) in December.

Chi-East was also part of Chi-X Global's efforts to grow its business throughout Asia Pacific. It operates trading platforms around the world and owns Chi-X Canada, Chi-X Japan, Chi-X Australia and the Chi-Tech technology product and services unit.

-By Sam Holmes, Dow Jones Newswires; +65-6415-4157; samuel.holmes@dowjones.com

Stocks mentioned in the article : ASX Ltd.
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