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SGX hires bond veteran Mark Leahy to head fixed income

THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) has hired bond veteran Mark Leahy as head of fixed income as it rolls out changes to its over-the-counter electronic bond trading platform.

Mr Leahy will take charge of the market operator's SGX Bond Pro bond trading platform, including its strategy of driving institutional participation. He will also oversee bond listings, and keep the SGX on track to exceed the record bond listings volume achieved in fiscal 2017.

Mr Leahy will assume the role left vacant with the departure of Michael Luk, who was appointed head of fixed income origination and sales at the SGX at the start of 2017. Mr Luk was named as CLSA's new head of global debt capital markets in February this year.

Mr Leahy's 27 years of experience in fixed income trading, syndication and capital markets include tours of duty as head of debt capital markets and syndication for the Asia-Pacific at Nomura International, as Asian regional head of global risk syndicate at Deutsche Bank, and as Asian regional head of fixed income syndicate at UBS.

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The new appointment came as the SGX said that it will assume the general counterparty role for SGX Bond Pro from mid-2018. It will replace UBS, which was appointed to the role when the platform launched in 2015. As the in-between facilitator for buyers and sellers, the general counterparty allows full pre and post-trade anonymity. By taking the role in-house, the SGX can offer users a neutral general counterparty that does not also have its own trading arm.

Standard Chartered Bank was also appointed as the sole settlement agent bank for the general counterparty to provide transaction securities services support and to ensure a seamless post trade process.

The SGX does not disclose numbers on the amount of trading that takes place on the SGX Bond Pro platform. But the SGX has said that it has active institutional participants in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Speaking on Mr Leahy's hiring, SGX head of equities and fixed income Chew Sutat said: "We are delighted to welcome Mark to SGX and I am confident that his market experience and domain expertise will be invaluable to the growth of SGX's fixed income business and the continued development of SGX Bond Pro."