What is wrong with this picture?
Asia's "growth markets" are in the midst of a serious hiccup. Equities trading in the first half of 2012 was down or at best flat in nearly all Asian markets--making the region look a lot like Europe by this measure--as this chart from WFE shows in gruesome detail:
Clearly there is a need to take the measure of the markets in Asia--and understand what changes are still needed to ensure continued and stable growth. I've put together a checklist of some of the issues that market participants and regulators should be thinking about: 1. Market structure maturity: how do Asia’s equities markets compare to Europe and the US in terms of advanced execution, cross-border trading and other hallmarks of a mature market structure? 2. Regulation in various Asian markets is habitually cited as a barrier to market growth. What regulatory changes does Asia need to realize its full potential? Or (as regulators claim) is regulation a needed buffer to keep the markets orderly? 3. Does Asia need a MIFID? does Asia need a pan-Asian equities/ETD exchange? 4. Is fragmented clearing in Asia a positive (transaction banks enjoy high clearing fees) or a negative (a barrier to trading growth)? 5. What do mature markets such as Japan and Australia need to do to return to growth? 6. What is driving the growth at 2012’s few success stories in Asia—India and the Philippines? 7. What and where are the new growth products? – ETFs (including synthetic ETFs)? Exchange traded derivatives? FX? OTC products? 8. What is the role of exchanges and infrastructure as OTC products become standardized? 9. What are the roles for CCPs and the opportunities for custodians? 10. How and where will people trade them? What are the opportunities for exchanges? Of course it's easy to ask the questions--see Celent's ongoing series of reports on Asian capital markets for answers, discussion and insight.