Singapore and Malaysia expect to link their stock exchanges in June

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(Reuters) – Singapore and Malaysia expect to link their stock exchanges in June this year to allow brokers in one country to buy shares in the other without having to go through an intermediary, the two countries’ bourse operators said on Friday.

“Bursa Malaysia and Singapore Exchange (SGX) will be connected first, with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) added in August 2012,” ASEAN Exchanges, a group of regional bourse operators, said in a statement.

Speaking on behalf of ASEAN Exchanges, SGX Chief Executive Magnus Bocker said the start of the Singapore-Malaysia electronic trading link will mark the first key milestone to facilitate cross-border stock trading in Southeast Asia.

“The three bourses that will participate in the first stage of the ASEAN Trading Link represent approximately two-thirds of the $2.1 trillion market capitalisation of the seven members of the ASEAN Exchanges,” he said.

ASEAN, which stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a regional grouping that comprises 10 countries – Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

The seven members of ASEAN Exchanges are SGX, Bursa, SET, the Jakarta Stock Exchange, the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Hochiminh Stock Exchange and the Hanoi Stock Exchange.

The idea to allow seamless trading among Southeast Asia’s bourses came up about four years ago as ASEAN sought to attract portfolio investors drawn to the larger Asian markets of China and India.