SINGAPORE: The local stockbroking industry received a boost on Monday (Feb 1), as the Singapore Exchange (SGX) rolled out a set of new training modules to help trading representatives keep up to date with the latest industry developments.
However, the response to the new initiatives has been mixed, particularly among remisiers.
The SGX Academy is now offering nine new training modules for trading representatives. The education arm of SGX primarily serves the retail investor, but it has also been offering courses for professional traders since 2012.
It said that the new modules aim to bring trading representatives up to speed with market and technology developments. They will include topics such as social media and client management skills.
With investors becoming more informed and financially savvy, SGX said it is important to help trading representatives upgrade and offer better service.
"What seemed to be missing was a set of modules that lets them continually be informed or be kept up to date on what's going on in the marketplace,” said Ms Lynn Gaspar, head of retail investors at SGX. “Today we get Twitter, Facebook, we get alerts on company information. There are even research houses and brokerages which are sending out a lot of information."
“So we get information on what's happening in the marketplace from so many sources, and we want to make sure that the trading community understands these different sources of information and how they can apply it in their conversation with their clients," she added.
SGX said it is working with the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) to bring the new modules in line with IBF's set of competency standards - the IBF Standards for Sales and Trading/Execution (Retail) - and eventually offer Level 1 accreditation later this year.
Response to the new training initiatives among trading representatives, who comprise dealers and remisiers, has been uneven. While dealers are generally receptive to training, among remisiers, it appeared more mixed. The Society of Remisiers pointed out that in this period of volatility, navigating the market is a higher priority than self-improvement.
Mr Jimmy Ho, president of the Society of Remisiers (Singapore), said: "Many remisiers welcome the efforts to improve themselves, but on the ground itself, the feeling is a bit mixed, especially in a period where we have a global stock market slump as well as the case of some internal factors in Singapore's stock market that are still yet to be resolved.
"Interpersonal skills do come into play, but usually during a period of good market conditions, not when the market is dry and everybody stays away. It is during good periods, when the client chooses between remisier A and remisier B, that's when human skills come in."
On Jan 28, SGX held a closed-door dialogue with remisiers, where it sought feedback on how to best tackle issues amid the market downturn.
SGX said there are 3,581 licensed trading representatives as of December 2015, down from the peak of 4,200 between 2011 and 2012.