PSE readies strategy for Asean Link

The Philippine Stock Exchange is broadening its product offerings as a part of preparations before joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Link, which aims to connect seven bourses in the region.

PSE president Hans Sicat said a new three-year strategic plan, which focuses on introducing more products and services to the market to boost liquidity, aimed to improve the the chances of local bourses in competing with other bigger Asean exchanges.

In 2012, PSE decided to postpone its participation in the Asean Link, which aims to connect the bourses in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The collaboration aims to promote the growth of the Asean capital market by driving cross-border collaboration, streamlining access to Asean, creating Asean centric products and implementing targeted promotional initiatives.

The goal of the collaboration is to bring more Asean investment opportunities to more people as well as enhance liquidity among members of the collaboration.

While PSE has expressed interest in joining the link, the local bourse did not provide a timetable for the planned participation.

PSE’s major objectives right now before joining the link are to have more exchange traded funds, get more companies listed with the exchange and unify the country’s equity and fixed-income trading platforms.

Last year, PSE successfully listed the first ETF in market, through First Metro Investment Corp.

Sicat said two more ETFs might be launched sometime next year.

PSE is also close to acquiring a 67-percent interest in Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp., which operates the country’s lone bond exchange.

Once finalized by early next year, PSE will be able to finally integrate both exchanges.

Meawhile, PSE, due to the strong domestic economic outlook, managed to lure more companies to raise funds through the stock market, adding to the existing 260 publicly- listed firms.

This year, two firms were listed in the stock market, namely DoubleDragon Properties Inc. and Century Pacific Food Inc.

Four more listings are in the pipeline, namely Phoenix Semiconductor Philippines Inc., SSI Group Inc., Profriends Group Inc. and Xurpas Holdings Inc.

While these programs are still being implemented, PSE said it would continue to be part of other initiatives of the Asean exchanges, such as the Asean Stars and the formation of an Asean index series.

Asean Stars is a list of the 30 most exciting stocks of the stock exchanges in Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Manila, Singapore and Bangkok.

First stage of Asean Link involves the linking of the Singapore Exchange and Bursa Malaysia in June 2012 and the Stock Exchange of Thailand joined in August 2012, after its new trading engine went live.

The three bourses represent nearly 70 percent of the market capitalization of the seven-member collaboration, thus offering substantial investment opportunities for investors.

The seven Asean exchanges have a combined market capitalization of around $2.9 trillion, with more than 3,600 companies listed on the exchanges. These companies include some of the largest and most dynamic companies in the world, encompassing various sectors such as banking and finance, energy, telecommunications, commodities and manufacturing.

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