SINGAPORE (June 7): Tan Cheng Han, chairman of Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), kicked off the SGX Regulatory Symposium 2019 on May 31 with a retelling of the fairy tale of Goldilocks, the little girl who enters the forest home of a family of bears and sits on their chairs, eats their porridge and finally sleeps in their beds.

“Goldilocks had three choices, and on each occasion she only came to what was right for her on the third attempt. It underscores how the right choice is never obvious and requires experimentation, the willingness to try again and the ultimate search for the right balance,” Tan says.

Panelist speakers at the SGX Regulatory Symposium 2019: Associate professor Umakanth Varottil, National University of Singapore law school (top main); (clockwise from top left): Pearly Yap, senior portfolio manager at Eastspring Investments (Singapore); Stephen Chen, an investor who manages his family money; Lock Yin Mei, a partner at law firm Allen & Overy; Ismail Gafoor, executive chairman and CEO of real estate agency Propnex

Indeed, Goldilocks had it much easier than market regulators such as SGX RegCo which operates in a much more complex environment than the home of the three bears. Consequently, it has to act carefully and only after sufficient engagement with the market participants.

While regulators may have the best intentions, they are usually working with imperfect information in an evolving situation. “We should be mindful of imposing regulations in haste only to regret at leisure,” Tan says.

As part of the ongoing effort to find the right regulatory approach, the theme of the symposium was “The Market You Want”, and its centrepiece was a round-table discussion featuring key stakeholders from a cross-section of the public market ecosystem, moderated by The Edge Singapore’s editor-at-large Ben Paul.

Login to read the full coverage at Striking the right regulatory balance, building a market that everybody wants in this week’s issue of The Edge Singapore (Issue 885, week of June 10), which is available at newsstands today.

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