SGX CEO: Crypto Listings Not Viable Yet in Singapore

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Loh Boon Chye, the CEO of Singapore Exchange (SGX), has provided insights into the potential for cryptocurrency listings on Singapore’s largest stock exchange. Speaking at the Reuters NEXT conference, Loh emphasized the necessity of a sustainable ecosystem to support such listings, highlighting the importance of demand, governance, and structure. Despite global trends and mounting institutional pressure, he asserted that the current conditions in Singapore are not yet favorable for these listings.

“Not at the moment,” Loh responded when questioned about the potential for crypto listings. He elaborated, “The ecosystem, I feel, at this point in time, is not ready for such products in Singapore.” He further explained that any new product launches must be backed by a sustainable ecosystem, which encompasses demand, governance, and structure.

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This caution comes in contrast to recent developments in other regions. Earlier this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved U.S.-listed spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), marking a significant milestone for the crypto industry and setting off similar advancements globally. In April, Asia saw its first spot cryptocurrency ETFs with bitcoin and ether ETFs listed in Hong Kong. The SEC is also in the process of approving spot ether ETFs, having approved Form 14B-4 for eight issuers in May. The regulator is currently collaborating with issuers on registration statements required before these funds can be launched.

SGX itself has faced pressures from institutional investors and industry groups to attract listings of high-growth companies. Challenges such as low liquidity and valuations due to a limited base of retail investors have been significant. Nevertheless, SGX has cultivated a robust Asian derivatives business and continues to be a global listing venue for real estate investment trusts. In the first half of its 2024 financial year, SGX reported a net profit of S$281.6 million ($208.70 million), a 1% decrease from the previous year. As of the end of June, SGX had 623 listed securities with a combined market value of S$792.93 billion.

Despite the current limitations, SGX remains open to the future prospect of crypto listings. Loh remarked that the situation could change as the ecosystem evolves, noting, “You never say never, as time evolves, and as the ecosystem comes together, we are always known to be the most innovative exchange or platform in the world.”

Statements like these suggest a cautious yet optimistic approach toward integrating cryptocurrency into Singapore’s financial landscape, reflecting SGX’s readiness to adapt as the market matures.