Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 08 May 2024

Written reply to Parliamentary Question on the adequacy and effectiveness of existing measures to increase the attractiveness of the Singapore equities market

Date: For Parliament Sitting on 8 May 2024 

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis, MP, Sengkang GRC


To ask the Prime Minister (a) what the Government’s assessment of the adequacy and effectiveness of existing measures is to increase the attractiveness of the Singapore equities market; and (b) whether the Government will take the lead in promoting our equities market by encouraging the privately-owned companies in which it holds equity through its investment vehicles to list in Singapore.

Answer by Mr Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and Chairman of MAS:

1. We have shared in past sittings the initiatives that the Government and SGX have implemented. These include a range of funds to support high-growth enterprises, and to prepare them for IPO when the opportunity arises. These funding schemes complement a broader suite of initiatives which includes MAS’ grant schemes to defray listing costs and increase research coverage of Singapore-listed stocks.

2. SGX has also made further progress in Depository Receipt (DR) listings, fostering cross-border partnerships to broaden market access and improve market liquidity. SGX and the Stock Exchange of Thailand have launched the first exchange-level DR collaboration in ASEAN. The first three Singapore DRs on Thai stocks (SDRs) commenced trading on SGX in May 2023, and there are now eightThere is a total of 8 SDRs launched as of April 2024, on SGX. The first 3 SDRs are Airports of Thailand, CP All and PTT Exploration and Production. The 5 new SDRs are Advanced Info Service, Delta Electronics, Gulf Energy, Kasikorn Bank and Siam Cement were listed on 1 April 2024. SDRs. In Thailand, a Singtel DR was the latest to be traded on the SET in April, bringing the total number of DRs on Singapore stocks traded on the Thai exchange to fourThere is a total of 4 DR on SET. The DR on Singapore Airlines was listed in Sept 2023, while the DRs on defence company ST Engineering and tech firm Venture Corp were both listed in Feb 2024. Singtel DR was listed on SET on 1 April 2024. . MAS and SGX are working to broaden the DR linkages with other like-minded regional partners.

3. Notwithstanding these efforts, the conditions remain challenging for the Singapore equities market, as they are for stock exchanges in many other countries, including developed markets like the UK and Hong KongAccording to EY Global IPO Trends 2023, Hong Kong’s IPO market experienced a 20-year low in proceeds this year, due to a lack of liquidity, muted investor sentiment, interest rate hikes, and challenging China-US relations.. In 2023, global IPO proceeds, continued to decline, falling by 33%, while Asia-Pacific IPO proceeds were down by 44%. Strong growth companies backed by private equity and venture capital have the option to remain private for longer in the high-for-longer interest rate environment. Those that choose to go public tend to gravitate to the US due to its deep and liquid capital market and investor base. 

4. These are global trends, and we have to be realistic about what we can do to change them. While the Government will continue to encourage Singapore-incubated companies to list in Singapore, our investment entities, GIC and Temasek, operate on a commercial basis and have a mandate to deliver good long-term returns for the benefit of Singapore and Singaporeans. They regularly engage their portfolio companies on options to create shareholder value, which may include a listing in Singapore. However, the final listing decisions will have to be made by the companies themselves, based on their commercial objectives and growth plans. This will preserve Singapore’s attractiveness to the founders of these companies and the global investors who invest in them.