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Michael Shashoua, editor, Inside Reference Data
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The impetus for the Australian Securities Exchange's corporate actions improvements does not come completely from within, finds Inside Reference Data editor Michael Shashoua, reporting on Asia-Pacific developments from the region

The Australian Securities Exchange's (ASX) plans for a straight-through processing template for corporate actions to be launched next year, along with related discussions with interested parties about what fields to include in those templates, has been brought to you by ... Chi-X.

That may sound improbable, but the presence of a competing trading venue in the Australian securities market is pushing the primary exchange to be more responsive on data processing and management services.

Since Chi-X launched its Australian trading venue in October, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) took over a lot of market supervision that had previously been done by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), because the exchange could not practically regulate its competitor. As a result, the ASX had to begin working with ASIC to update its listing rules so market participants had to report electronically, not just by PDF or fax. This development is now reaching its logical extension in corporate actions with the ASX automated template effort.

The ASX corporate actions upgrade is being done not just with Chi-X in mind, however, says an executive at a global transaction data systems provider. The effort allows the ASX to show that it offers a world-class set of services when compared to other exchanges worldwide. "That fits with their strategy of internationalizing, raising the game and being an attractive venue," the executive says.

One question still remains, however. Will the Australian markets agree that there is a compelling business need for the greater corporate actions processing capability the ASX is developing? The exchange does have key players in the industry involved in its discussions through advisory groups, so chances are the buy-in will be there.

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