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No more trading floor at new stock exchange HQ in Taguig?

Monday, June 15, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

STOCK MARKET investors and traders may have to do all transactions over the Internet soon as the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is considering removing the traditional trading floor in its planned headquarters at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

"We are observing the developments in other exchanges. In Shanghai for instance, they have four trading floors, all empty because everyone was switching to trading online," PSE director and building committee head Ismael G. Cruz said in an interview.

Mr. Cruz said there are still no plans for the long-delayed transfer to a new headquarters, which will rise on 2014, pointing out that the only requirement set by the government is to have a unified exchange. "There is an option not to build [the trading floor] and if that pushes through, it will save brokerages additional expenses," he said.

Three firms have offered a joint venture to build the new building, he said.

Sought for comment, Astro C. del Castillo of First Grade Holdings, Inc. said: "We have already gone online. We have to accept the reality that the trading floors will soon become a figment of our imagination and that technology has [replaced them]."

There are nine online brokers and 121 non-online brokerage firms.

The stock trading floor has become a symbol of the equities markets for most exchanges around the globe. The advent of technology however has eliminated the need for trading floors in most major exchanges like the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris, and Wall Street’s National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations or the NASDAQ, among others.

Plans to put up the PSE headquarters at Fort Bonifacio have been on the table as early as 2001. The bourse operates two trading floors, one on Ayala Avenue, Makati and another at the Ortigas Center in Pasig.

The plan for the new headquarters, however was delayed after Ayala Land, Inc., which was supposed to construct the building, decided to postpone because of market conditions, offering the exchange a new proposal. Under the new plan, the PSE itself may have to build the new headquarters, at a new site across the old one on 5th Avenue.

The new headquarters, to be called the Philippine Stock Exchange Square, will be phase one of the project and will cover almost half of the total lot area of 5,700 square meters. The 12- to 15-storey high tower however will be connected by a bridge to phase two, which will house Ayala offices.

The PSE earlier said the advantage of the new site is that it allows the bourse to proceed with the plan without waiting for "market conditions" to improve. Officials had said that if they push through with the plan, the building could be ready for occupancy in three and a half years or before 2014. — Kristine Jane R. Liu


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