Singapore Exchange Ltd. (SGX) signage is displayed inside the bourse’s headquarters in Singapore. (Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg)

Singapore Nifty Contract Trading to Continue Pending Arbitration

(Bloomberg) -- Singapore Exchange Ltd. and National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. will have to remain partners for a little longer than both anticipated.

An arbitrator deciding on a quarrel between the exchanges over Indian stock futures contracts ordered them to extend their licensing agreement beyond August, and for at least two months after the end of arbitration. SGX was ordered to refrain from offering new India equity derivatives products such as those announced on April 11. Hearings on evidence in the case are expected to start in early 2019, SGX said in a statement Saturday.

The fight has unraveled an 18-year partnership between two of Asia’s largest exchanges and places international investors at risk of having no easy way to hedge their exposure to India’s $2.2 trillion equity market. The Indian exchange dragged its Singapore counterpart to court last month to stop SGX launching what it viewed as copycat contracts to the licensed Nifty futures. The dispute moved to arbitration.

Read more -- Why investors are irked by India’s offshore clampdown

The disagreement erupted earlier this year when SGX decided to launch single-stock futures on some of India’s biggest companies. Days later, India’s three national exchanges announced they would stop all overseas licensing and data deals related to their equities. In April, the Singapore bourse announced it was launching the SGX India Futures to help investors transition after the end of the Nifty pact in August, even as the two discussed collaborating on a trading link. Talks on the link connected to a tax-free trading hub in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state have since collapsed.

An NSE spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

MSCI, Regulator

Index giant MSCI Inc., Singapore’s regulator and international investors have weighed in on the fight between the exchanges. MSCI has blasted the move to cut off licensing ties as anti-competitive and is reviewing whether countries including India that restrict investor access should have their values in its indexes capped. The Monetary Authority of Singapore urged all parties to find an “amicable solution” and warned that a prolonged dispute would hurt international investors.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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