Can a financial centre afford not to have a healthy stock market?
All big financial centres will have a full complement of financial institutions and a stock market. In fact a thriving stock market is the cornerstone of a vibrant financial centre. The absence of a stock market, or a fictitious stock market that is dysfunctional just would not do and will lead to the demise of the whole finance and banking industry.
Could there be govts that are growth biased but blindly allowing their stock markets to wind down into a farce, or crippled through neglect or unwise systems or structures? A stock market has to function like a stock market and anything that is only a make belief and unreal cannot do. The industries, the companies, need a vibrant and healthy stock market with all the fund managers, big and small investors, brokerages, banks etc etc participating actively so that fund raising can be conducted efficiently to lubricate the economy. There is no such thing as a fictitious stock market, a sick stock market, a make belief stock market that is dysfunctional and thinking that the whole financial system will not be affected. It just would not work.
Can anyone imagine a stock market where trading is done by a few computers or a handful of funds, or a handful of investors? I know that it is a foolish thought. You either have a stock market or you don’t. Doing away with the brokerages, doing away with investors, big or small, are simply nonsensical unless the intent is to close down the stock market and lead to a highly strung banking industry that is going no where.
The stock market is really the core of the finance and banking industry. Only small and undeveloped countries do not operate a stock market. And companies will have difficulties raising funds from the public for growth and expansion, and have to rely on individual investors in small circles of contacts. The room for economic growth is thus limited.
Can a financial centre like Singapore afford to have a fictitious stock market or a dysfunctional one? Hither is the stock market? Is the stock market thriving or is it dying?
There are many ways to kill a stock market.
1. When companies find it meaningless to list in the stock market.
2. When there is no critical mass of investors, retail or institutions, to provide the liquidity.
3. Believing that a small market, without contra trading, can thrive as a financial centre.
4. Believing in fictitious trades generated by computers with no real tradings done to replace real trades.
5. Believing that with low or minimal commissions, the brokerages can continue to exist.
6. Believing that a stock market can exist without brokerages and their clients.
7. Believing and allowing unfair trading practices by computers and big funds to take advantage of small traders/investors.
8. Believing that a few computers can generate enough trades to keep a stock market viable.
9. Believing in derivatives trades to replace real stocks.
The signs that a stock market is rotting from within is for main board companies to be trading as penny stocks at 10c. Oops, some are trading at less than that, at 1c. When the true value of a company is more than the listed share value, the company will be scrambling to delist in fear of a hostile takeover in the cheap. When the true value of a main board company is really 1c or worthless, there is no fear of anything, no takeover, and continued listing could still allow the company to raise fund from the gullible public.
How healthy is the stock market? Is it in the pink of health, or just a mirage?