Getting started with securities lending in Singapore

Securities lending is a consequential segment of Singapore’s financial market that provides potential opportunities for investors to enhance their portfolio returns. The practice involves temporarily transferring securities from an owner to a borrower in return for cash collateral. With Singapore’s robust regulatory framework and transparent market operations, it has become an attractive hub for securities lending. This can be done by working with a broker like Saxo Bank.

Securities lending in Singapore is an integral part of the country’s financial ecosystem. It aids in market efficiency, facilitates short selling, and offers potential opportunities for generating additional revenue. The process involves a lender (often a prominent institutional investor) temporarily transferring securities to a borrower. The borrower, typically a hedge fund or a similar entity, provides collateral in cash or other securities. The borrower pays a specific, agreed-upon fee to the lender for borrowing the securities, and at the end of the agreement, the securities are returned.

Regulatory framework

Singapore, known for its stringent regulatory framework, has laid out precise trading and securities lending guidelines. The Monetary Authority of Singapore looks after the industry and ensures the financial infrastructure’s stability, safety, and efficiency.

The Securities and Futures Act (SFA) governs trading and securities lending, while the Code on Collective Investment Schemes regulates collective investment schemes’ involvement in these transactions. The Central Depository Act and Central Depository (Amendment) Act also provide legal certainty for securities lending through central depositories.

Benefits of securities lending

Here are some key benefits that make securities lending an attractive option for investors in Singapore:

Revenue generation

Securities lending is a valuable practice that empowers investors to maximise their returns by generating additional revenue from idle assets. This innovative solution allows lenders to temporarily transfer securities, thereby unlocking the potential to earn income through fees and interest on collateral. Investors can optimise their investment strategies and enhance their financial performance using securities lending.

Market efficiency

Securities lending also contributes to market efficiency by facilitating short selling. Short selling involves borrowing a security and selling it in the open market, hoping to repurchase it at a lower price. This practice adds liquidity to the market and allows investors to benefit from rising and falling prices. With securities lending, borrowing securities for short-selling becomes more straightforward, leading to smoother functioning of financial markets.

Cost-effective hedging

Securities lending also offers a cost-effective way for investors to hedge their positions. Investors can borrow securities and sell them in the market, generating cash collateral that can be used to offset any potential losses in their existing investments. This hedging strategy is beneficial during volatile market conditions, providing a cushion against potential losses and minimising risk.

Market operations

Singapore’s securities lending market operates through three central depositories: the Singapore Exchange (SGX), the Central Depository (CDP), and the Asia Pacific Exchange (APEX). These depositories facilitate efficient trading, clearing, and settlement of securities lending transactions. The market has a transparent pricing mechanism, with fees determined through competitive bidding in an electronic platform.

Investors can participate in securities lending by becoming lender or borrower members of one of the central depositories. Lender members can loan out their securities to borrower members for a fee, while borrowers can borrow securities for short-selling or hedging purposes.

Getting started with securities lending in Singapore

For investors looking to get started with securities lending in Singapore, here are some essential steps:

Understand the regulations

Before venturing into the market, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the regulatory framework and guidelines set by MAS. It will ensure that you comply with all requirements and operate within the legal boundaries.

Select a central depository

Investors have the option to become a member of either the SGX (Singapore Exchange), CDP (Central Depository), or APEX (Asia Pacific Exchanges) central depositories. Each depository has its own set of requirements and fees that must be considered. It is vital to carefully evaluate and analyse which option supports your investment strategy and goals.

Decide on lending or borrowing

Investors need to carefully consider and evaluate their investment goals and risk appetite to decide whether they want to participate as lender or borrower members. By understanding their financial objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance, investors can align their investment strategy with their desired outcome.

Understand the fees

Fees in securities lending are determined through a competitive bidding process, where market participants submit their offers to borrow securities. This dynamic pricing mechanism ensures fair market value and allows borrowers and lenders in Singapore to negotiate terms based on supply and demand.

Understanding the pricing mechanism and associated costs is crucial for investors in Singapore to make better decisions when participating in the securities lending market. By evaluating the prevailing rates, potential risks, and the impact on investment returns, investors can optimise their lending strategies and maximise their earnings while managing potential costs effectively.

Choose a reputable counterparty

When participating in securities lending, it is of utmost importance to carefully select a trustworthy and reputable counterparty with a proven track record in maintaining the safety and security of your investments for the long term.

The bottom line

Securities lending is vital to Singapore’s financial ecosystem, providing numerous benefits for investors looking to enhance their portfolio returns. With its robust regulatory framework, transparent market operations, and efficient infrastructure, Singapore has become an attractive hub for securities lending. For investors looking to get started with securities lending in Singapore, understanding the regulations, selecting a central depository, and choosing a reputable counterparty are crucial steps to consider. This innovative solution allows investors to optimise their investment strategies and generate additional revenue from idle assets.