Is SGX its Achilles Heel?
Amid all talk about how Singapore is set to become the world’s first smart nation, its stock exchange suffered yet another breakdown this morning putting investors on the edge.
Singapore is not a country that is all talk and no action, something that is common where populism sells — like India, for instance.
On Target: It is one country that plans well ahead and goes about executing them without any distraction or fear about the next elections. It has been on target with every one of its initiatives, including that of making Singapore a metropolis within the first decade after Independence in 1965 and transforming it into an Intelligent Island by year 2000.
Just this Monday (December 1), Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that “Ten years from now, we will be a smart nation!”
Perhaps come 2025 we will have the opportunity to say bingo and sing paeans to Singapore for its success in integrating technology, networks and data seamlessly and “changing the way people live, learn, work and play”, to borrow what used to be Cisco’s catchline.
Hopefully by then the Singapore Stock Exchange will have stopped being the country’s Achilles’ heel, as it appears to be now going by the occasional system hiccups and resulting market interruptions.
SGX Down Again: System breakdowns are not uncommon at SGX. Just last month (on Nov. 5), it was struck by an outage – it was a day when there were lightning strikes in the city and that took its toll on the SGX.
Lightnings are common in Singapore but they generally do not affect power supply. Even that day, as Singapore Power pointed out, the lightning caused no interruption to the power grid.
It came under heavy fire then, prompting an investigation into it, and one hoped the SGX may be able to avoid another big breakdown.
Software Glitch: But it happened this morning as well and at the time of writing the SGX system remains down. An SGX site check led to the note that markets will open at 12.30pm today. The note pointed out that the delay was due to a software issue that has since been fixed.
But the way the note has been crafted made me initially think that it was a routine December halt – “to enable member firms to complete client position reconciliations, and rectify any errors in the end-of-day processing for 1st December 2014 on the securities client-accounting system hosted by SGX on behalf of member firms.”
Singapore is often positioned as a financial hub. In fact, Singapore and Shanghai are considered to be the region’s biggest financial centres.
Well, a lot hinges on SGX for the country to protect that reputation!
G Joslin Vethakumar