IPOs and the S'pore company brand

IPOs and the S'pore company brand

ASK any investor why he is willing to plonk down his money on the local stock market and a common theme is likely to emerge.

Whether it is the man in the street following a hunch or a sophisticated global fund manager managing many millions, almost all have faith in the strong regulatory framework here.

In other words, they feel their money is safe when they invest here and that the stock market offers a venue for considered investing and not a mere roll of the dice.

It is the strongest selling point of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) - a fact not lost on its boss, Mr Magnus Bocker. He is at pains to stress the importance of upholding these high listing standards to ensure investor confidence.

In that spirit, the SGX's recent move to attract better-quality companies to list here was widely applauded as it raised the bar for a mainboard listing - requiring companies to have a market value of at least $150 million if it was profitable in the last financial year or a minimum pre-tax profit of at least $30 million.

Equally well received was the bourse operator's bid to attract the investing public to become more active investors by suggesting that they should be given at least 5 per cent of initial public offering (IPO) shares.

Still, while the SGX's plan for a makeover looks good on paper, some teething problems need to be dealt with.

Take the move to raise the profitability hurdle for a mainboard listing. This will put a mainboard listing even further out of reach of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hoping to go public here.

And this means that in future, overseas businesses are likely to form the bulk of SGX mainboard IPOs. As it is, they already account for about 60 per cent of IPO hopefuls queueing to list.

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