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The Edge Singapore8/21/2020 07:00 AM GMT+08  • 7 min read
Quoteworthy: “This can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election. No matter what, vote.” –— Hilary Clinton, who is urging Americans to make their views count at the ballot box.
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THE EDGE SINGAPORE - Quoteworthy: “This can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election. No matter what, vote.” –— Hilary Clinton, who is urging Americans to make their views count at the ballot box. She was endorsing Joe Biden as the challenger to US president Donald Trump. She was beaten by Trump back in the November 2016 election.

After MSCI licence expiry, SGX to broaden derivatives offerings with FTSE Russell

About three months ago, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) announced that the MSCI licence to most of its derivatives products will expire and not be renewed. The unexpected announcement drew concern from investors who use these products for hedging purposes, and analysts turned cautious on SGX on the impending loss of revenue. But some of these concerns may now be put to rest, following a deeper and broadened partnership with another global index provider.

On Aug 20, SGX announced an agreement with FTSE Russell to deliver new Asian multi-asset solutions. Both parties will jointly develop and market an Asian and emerging markets (EM) focused, multi-asset index derivatives offering.

The core products will be anchored around FTSE Russell’s global benchmark indices for fixed income, listed real estate, global equities and currencies. SGX says the core products will meet institutional investors’ demand for solutions in multi-asset, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), dividend, sector and duration strategies.

“We are excited to bring our strategic partnership with FTSE Russell to a new level,” SGX CEO Loh Boon Chye told reporters on Aug 20. “FTSE Russell’s leadership in the world of investable multi-asset products and ESG, together with SGX’s leading position and unrivalled capabilities in Asian derivatives, will drive even greater impact and value creation for our customers.”

Waqas Samad, CEO of FTSE Russell and group director of information services, LSEG, called SGX a partner with strong local and regional presence. “Partnering with SGX on index derivatives is really important for us to help our investors continue to hedge their index exposure on a global basis.”

On May 27, SGX said that all its non-Singapore MSCI products will expire from February 2021 onwards. Only its MSCI Singapore futures and options will remain listed on SGX. At the same time, the Hong Kong Exchange — which is widely seen as a major rival to SGX — announced that it will offer 37 new products after signing an agreement with MSCI.

Asked if the broadened agreement with FTSE Russell is exclusive, Loh only offered a vague response. He said the agreement does have some “unique features”, even though the index provider collaborates with other exchanges. “SGX adopts an open architecture. This will take us in a direction in terms of offering where we can renew, expand, broaden and grow,” he added.

Samad also did not respond directly when asked how long SGX and FTSE Russell were in talks to develop Asian and EM-focused derivatives products. He pointed out that both parties have had a long history of collaboration. In 2006, SGX and FTSE Russell jointly introduced the popular FTSE China A50 Index Futures. Two years later, SGX, FTSE Russell and Singapore Press jointly relaunched the Straits Times Index.

More recently, SGX launched a futures contract on the FTSE Taiwan RIC Capped Index in July. This month, the bourse operator announced Asia’s first international REIT futures that will be based on the widely followed FTSE EPRA Nareit Asia ex-Japan Index.

Loh said the Asian and EM-focused derivatives products can be expected to be announced in the “sequential months to come”. — Jeffrey Tan

Five ex-remisiers face share manipulation charges involving 55 listcos

Five former remisiers from various brokerages were charged on Aug 20 for false trading of 55 SGX-listed securities:

• Alan Lee, who was with OCBC Securities, faces 80 charges of false trading in 55 securities on 80 occasions;

• Chew Wei Zhan, who was with DBS Vickers Securities, faces 79 charges of false trading in 53 securities on 79 occasions;

• Lee Wei Kai, who was with Phillip Securities, faces 61 charges of false trading in 44 securities on 61 occasions;

• Lim Ming Yi, who was with Maybank Kim Eng Securities, faces 55 charges of false trading in 41 securities on 55 occasions;

• Lim Ming Chit, who was with Phillip Securities, faces 22 charges of false trading in 19 securities on 22 occasions.

The offences took place mainly in 2015, with some transactions taking place in early 2016.

Of the 55 companies whose shares were allegedly manipulated by the five, many of them are in the beleaguered offshore and marine sector. A couple used to be high-flying investors’ darlings, such as contract manufacturer Huan Hsin Holdings.

There were quite a handful of S-chips — or Chinese companies listed on SGX — as well, which, as a sector, are not exactly a favourite among investors here after a long string of business failures and corporate governance breaches over the years. Several of the companies have since delisted. They include China Yongsheng, Huan Hsin, and Jaya Holdings.

Some of the companies are linked to notable figures. For example, Sunningdale is chaired by respected Singapore corporate leader Koh Boon Hwee; Secura counts former Remisier King Peter Lim as one of its significant shareholders. PACC Offshore, which was privatised recently, is controlled by the tycoon Robert Kuok’s family. Property developer SingHaiyi is controlled by the power Tang couple who are also substantial shareholders in other entities such as Suntec REIT.

In an ongoing case of a similar nature, John Soh and Quah Su-Ling, alleged masterminds of the October 2013 penny stock crash, are on trial for manipulating shares of three companies, although several more are believed to be the subject of their scheme.

If convicted, for each charge, the accused persons face imprisonment for a maximum of seven years, or a fine of up to $250,000, or both. The case will be heard again on Sept 17.

The investigation was done jointly by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD). — Jovi Ho

Singapore’s 50 richest see fortunes rise 28% amid pandemic; Sea cofounders make top 25

Singapore’s tycoons saw their collective wealth rise 28% y-o-y to US$167 billion ($228.73 billion) despite the economic downturn, according to the 2020 Forbes Singapore Rich List.

First-timers on the list include the three co-founders of gaming and e-commerce firm Sea, thanks to the stratospheric rise in the company’s shares, which have increased 283% since its fortunes were last evaluated.

Sea’s chairman and CEO Forrest Li came in seventh with a US$7.1 billion net worth. Li added US$5.53 billion to his wealth and entered the ranks of the top 10 for the first time, following a surge in the share price of his NYSE-listed company over the past year.

Similarly, the company’s COO Gang Ye stood at 11th place with US$4.1 billion after a 356% jump in his net worth. Sea’s third co-founder David Chen made his debut at 25th place with a net worth of US$1.37 billion. Sea’s market value has overtaken DBS as the most valuable Singapore-listed company.

Rounding up the top 10 are Haidilao co-founder and director Zhang Yong in first place (US$19 billion) and first-timer Li Xiting, cofounder and chairman of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics in second (US$17.8 billion).

Goh Cheng Liang of Nippon Paint was ranked third with US$14.8 billion, while Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who has set up a base in Singapore, made fourth (US$14 billion) due to the rise of Facebook’s shares.

In fifth place are brothers Robert and Phillip Ng of Far East Organization. They have a combined net worth of US$13.2 billion.

Executive chairman of the Hong Leong Group and City Developments (CDL) Kwek Leng Beng made sixth place (US$8.8 billion) while the Khoo family, the Kwee brothers, and United Overseas Bank (UOB) chairman Wee Cho Yaw are eighth, ninth, and 10th, with net worth of US$6.3 billion, US$5.5 billion, and US$5.3 billion respectively.

Due to the standstill in the tourism and hospitality industry this year, hoteliers such as Koh Wee Meng of the Fragrance Group and Michael Kum of M&L Hospitality saw their net worth fall to US$870 million and US$730 million respectively. Koh is at number 41, while Kum was ranked 43rd place.

Oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin — better known as OK Lim of Hin Leong Trading — which filed for bankruptcy in April, was off the list. The 78-year-old Lim is facing charges of abetting forgery. — Felicia Tan

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