The sale of Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) last week could lead to lay-offs as its purchaser, the IntercontinentalExchange Group (ICE), re-tools the business.
An overhaul of the business would see the SMX being transformed into a regional vehicle that ICE sees as a potentially highly profitable operation.
Many industry professionals believe ICE wants the business for its licenses, rather than its staff. SMX retains licences to operate as both an approved exchange and approved clearing house, and ICE said it will give it an exchange and clearing infrastructure in Asia for the first time. We asked ICE to confirm whether this acquisition would result in job losses, but by the time of publication, they had not responded.
ICE announced last week that it will buy the SMX in an all-cash transaction, to add to its current network of markets and clearing houses in Europe and the Americas.
SMX was sold by its India-based owner Financial Technologies (India) Ltd. It currently operates futures markets in Singapore, across metals, currencies, energy and agricultural commodities.
SMX will continue to be based in Singapore and operate as a separate body regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, with its own board of directors, including Ang Swee Tian, the former president of the Singapore Exchange.
Job prospects for the SMX staff are muted by the fact that the job market in Asia is currently saturated by former staff from the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEX), which shut down earlier this year.
However, as the Hong Kong Exchange is understood to be declining to interview ex-staff from the ill-fated HKMEX, because of the problems surrounding the implosion of that business, this may benefit future SMX applicants.