A new multi-asset exchange The Global Board of Trade Ltd. (www.gbot.mu) started trading operations in Mauritius on 18 October. It is owned by Financial Technologies (www.ftindia.com) an Indian company which operates exchanges.
GBOT is an international multi-asset exchange based in Mauritius, offering an electronic exchange platform with efficient clearing and settlement systems to ensure counterparty guarantee for all trades. It trades commodity and currency derivative products including precious and base metals, energy, “soft” agricultural commodities, as well as currency derivatives starting with six currencies on its electronic exchange platform.
It hopes to expand to more African currencies and other products. GBOT chairman, Mr Venkat Chary, was reported as saying: “We are going to begin small and then expand the array of commodities.” Local media says GBOT cost $50 million to establish.
GBOT is regulated by Financial Services Commission (FSC). Mauritius is a strategic location at the crossroads of Africa and Asia and offers a way for global investors to access many of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The new exchange is in Ebène, 25 km south of the capital Port-Louis.
The Financial Technologies Group describes itself as a global leader in setting up and operating tech-centric next-generation exchanges in emerging but fast-growing economies from Africa to Asia and Middle East to South-East Asia. The Group operates one of the largest exchange networks comprising 10 exchanges and 6 ecosystem ventures which address upstream and downstream opportunities around exchanges, including clearing, depository, information vending, and payment gateway among others.
FT on 31 August opened trading on its Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX –www.smx.com.sg) and it aims to launch the Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX) shortly. According to the Financial Times newspaper, the SMX cost US$55 million to open.
Navin Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius, launched GBOT on 15 Oct and said it established in the country as a strategic business and financial gateway between Asia and Africa, according to local news reports. He added that it would add depth to the domestic financial markets and bring new dimensions to financial services systems by providing knowledge, technology and business know-how.
Media reports cited Jignesh Shah, the vice chairman GBOT and chairman of the Financial Technologies Group: “The launch of GBOT will be a landmark development in redefining Africa’s commodity and currency derivatives landscape. Our new exchange will be instrumental in unifying the fragmented African financial markets and in bringing the world to Africa and the African potential to the world and to its own people.” The exchange will help commodity dealers and investors and could fit into regional arrangements such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
According to reports, GBOT’s managing director and CEO, Mr Joseph Bosco, said the exchange would start with 12 brokers, and would also be looking at opportunities in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Egypt. It lists “members and partners” including State Bank of India (Mauritius) Ltd., Bank One, Arab Global, One Financial, Afrasia Bank, Mauritius Commercial Bank, Banque des Mascareignes, Barclays Bank and Bramer Banking Corporation and global media corporations Bloomberg and Thompson Reuters.
Singapore also has Singapore Exchange Ltd (www.sgx.com) in expansionary mood with ambitions in Australia and Europe, and Singapore Commodity Exchange (www.sicom.net). Singapore is battling Hong Kong to be trading centre for Asia. Bloomberg newsagency reported on 15 Oct that the Asia-Pacific (with 38% share of the world total in the half year to June) has overtaken North America (33%) as the world’s biggest derivatives market amid increasing demand for futures and options contracts in the region’s fast-growing economies.
The new SMX, owned by GBOT parent FT, initially offers trading in 4 products: a gold futures contract with physical delivery, West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil contracts, and a euro-US dollar futures contract. SMX Chief Executive Thomas McMahon was reported as saying the SMX was also planning for a big shift in trading of over-the-counter derivatives products.