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Friday, Dec 13, 2013

Business

Start-up reduces forex risk in trading foreign shares

Friday, Dec 13, 2013
Start-up reduces forex risk in trading foreign shares

A local tech start-up that almost went under a year ago is poised to strike deals with major financial institutions around the world.

M-Daq has a compelling story beyond its funding near-miss: It has developed software that allows shares to be traded in an investor's local currency at a fraction of the usual cost.

Chief executive Richard Koh told The Straits Times: "Investors can trade foreign stocks in their own currency without worrying about profits affected by swings in exchange rates."

And those trades will be cheap, he added, noting that an investor could pay as little as two basis points - known as bps in the financial industry - in foreign currency conversion costs for a transaction that could be as high as 200 bps.

The technology, for which it has received two patents, lets investors see the prices of the overseas stocks in the currency they trade in.

For example, an investor here keen on American tech giant Google would see the company's shares in Singapore dollars, which means he can better judge when to buy and sell.

M-Daq has secured a 15-year contract with a large Asia-Pacific securities exchange, which will incorporate the technology into its own infrastructure by the second half of next year.

M-Daq chairman Wong Joo Seng said: "Earlier this year, this exchange paid us about US$600,000 (S$750,000) to test our technology before it found it suitable to sign the contract with us."

The firm is also working with a major stock brokerage in Asia but Mr Koh declined to name it. It is in talks with exchanges in Hong Kong, London, Tokyo and New York as well, said the former investment banker.

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