Friday, July 29, 2011

Competition Fueled Global Stock Exchange Automation

Transition to electronic trading in global stock exchanges only gained traction after the derivatives exchanges gave them a challenge

Professor Michael Gorham of the Illinois Institute of Technology narrates (World Federation of Stock Exchanges) [bold emphasis mine]

As we have seen, the early pioneers of electronic derivatives trading created brand new exchanges starting in the mid 1980s. It took almost another decade before existing floor-based exchanges began fully converting to screens. Aside from the fact that conversions from floors to screens met stiff resistance from member-owners whose livelihoods were threatened, derivatives trading, especially in financial products, was still in its infancy and many countries did not yet have derivatives exchanges. New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, South Africa and China all had no derivatives exchanges. So during the mid 1980s and early 1990s, all these countries created new derivatives exchanges, and they were all electronic right out of the box.

Stock exchanges, on the other hand, were relatively mature institutions, and most countries of any size already had one or more stock exchanges and were not generally building new ones. And given the natural resistance of member-owners, the existing stock exchanges, just like the existing derivatives exchanges, were not likely to quickly convert to screens. Consequently, early electronic activity on the securities side was carried out on an experimental basis, typically only for stocks that were relatively inactive. So in figure 6.2, we see that except for the isolated event of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange becoming electronic in 1980, it was not until 1989 that stock exchanges began to start converting to electronic trading in earnest


Some observations;

Most stock exchanges being monopolies or oligopolies have been slow to adapt to changes.

It took the introduction of derivative markets which threatened to compete with these traditional exchanges to prompt the latter to automate.

Nevertheless automation revolutionized trading. It facilitated increases in transparency, enabled outsourcing of traditional functions such as trading floor operations, product development, marketing, legal, regulatory and often clearing and settlement, which has contributed to the precipitous decline in the cost of trading, promoted direct access to exchange matching engines, introduced new order types, and fuelled a leap in merger and acquisitions activities.

Automation has been a significant part of financial globalization which means that the trend for stock exchanges here (in the Philippines) and abroad will likely incorporate new trading platforms/services.

For instance, the Philippine Stock Exchange has derivatives on the pipeline (via Red Hat) and has seen participation in new Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) traded offshore, e.g. for ASEAN, the FTSE ASEAN Index Series and iShares MSCI Philippines Investable Market Index Fund (EPHE)

Deep and sophisticated capital markets are prerequisites to progressing market economies.

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