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SGX power outage: Is Singapore’s financial hub reputation at stake?

Following the power outage of over three hours, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has drawn in criticism by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam. According to the Straits Times,securities and derivatives markets were halted as the hardware which enables connectivity was disrupted by power supply issues.

According to local media, Shanmugaratnam said that the incident puts into jeopardy Singapore’s reputation as a financial hub. He  recognised that similar situations have taken place overseas, but said that keeping Singapore’ reputation was vital. “It doesn’t matter what happens overseas. We’ve got to get it right here, and make sure our reputation is kept intact,” he reportedly said in an article on Channel News Asia.

“Sometimes you need a setback like this to look at all your processes very thoroughly, because crises don’t happen often, but you have got to have a tight system of SOPs so that you can make decisions quickly and understand the risks and make a judgment quickly in that circumstance,” Shanmugaratnam was quoted saying.

Local media reports also said that preliminary investigations have shown that SGX’s backup power supply did not kick in.

An independent board of four directors chaired by Quah Wee Ghee, the chairman of SGX’s Risk Management Committee will be looking into the matter. Also within the next two weeks, SGX has been asked to submit a preliminary investigation report to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

SGX also told The Straits Times that it views the breakdown “as a very serious incident and recognises the urgent need to find out what caused it” to prevent any such future incidents.

On a separate note, a small group has even set up an online petition to push for CEO Magnus Bocker’s resignation over the power outage. “The breakdown of the SGX trading system yesterday for almost three hours is almost similar to the massive train disruption we experienced just a while ago. Given that hundreds of millions have been spent on the system since Bocker became CEO, such a breakdown should not happen,” said its creator. However, the petition only has 10 signatures at this point.

Marketing has reached out to the SGX for a statement, and will be updating the story.

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