The Malaysia and Singapore bourses recognise they are lagging peers in North Asia in respect of exchange-traded funds – and are keen to catch up.
Philip York, CEO of trading firm Alt 224, points to a number of changes that need to happen in Hong Kong, for example, to help the buy-side.
New capital requirements, sustained low interest rates and falling commissions from derivatives trading have compelled the agency brokerage to readjust.
Exchanges and governments are largely to blame, with Hong Kong a particular culprit and a profit margin that leaves Apple in the dust.
Stock exchanges in China, Korea and Taiwan are out in front in terms of formatting and disseminating company filings quickly to investors, says Wendy De Cruz of Dow Jones.
The CEO of the Philippine Stock Exchange says the bourse is working closely with the securities regulator and seeing significant progress on various market developments.
Brokers and exchange officials see market structure and services as relatively more important than latency, suggesting post-trade arrangements are increasingly important to profitability.
The buy-side trading platform expects to agree at least one alliance with a traditional exchange in Asia in 2012. Singapore's bourse is a likely contender, say traders.
Bourses such as those in Australia and Singapore need big, recognisable brands to compete these days, says Philip York of Empyreal Investments.
Asia-Pacific exchanges – particularly Hong Kong's – need to do more to boost volumes than simply open earlier and shorten their lunch breaks, stresses agency broker Instinet.
Proposed capital-market rule changes should reduce trading costs, but they will also make life tougher for domestic brokers, says the Thailand CEO at DBS Vickers Securities.
Nyenburgh CEO Alan Donohue explains why flash trading is expanding more slowly than anticipated, despite efforts by stock exchanges to attract such players.