Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bahrain BFX delays launch of conventional trading May 17, 2011

Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX), which started operations this year, has delayed the launch of its conventional trading platform and is relocating some of its staff to other parts of the group, its chief executive said.

BFX, owned by India's Financial Technologies Ltd , was launched in February this year as a multi-asset exchange aiming to offer trading in both conventional and Islamic products in equities, derivatives, commodities and currencies.

Arshad Khan, the exchange's chief executive, told Reuters the bourse plans to start trading for conventional products, including derivatives, after the slow summer period in the Gulf region when business activity remains subdued.

"On the conventional side, we have postponed the launch. We will wait for business conditions to improve," Khan said.

It is currently trading Islamic products, the CEO said.

The bourse is relocating around 10 employees to other parts of the group due to the delay in launch of conventional platform, the executive added. BFX currently employees around 35 people.

Its parent Financial Technologies runs a network of 10 exchanges in Africa, Middle East, India and South East Asia.

BFX launched its Islamic platform on Feb. 7 and was planning to begin trading of conventional assets a month later, but had to scale back on the plans as violence erupted in the tiny non-OPEC oil-producing country.

It aimed to compete with the Bahrain Stock Exchange and other bourses in the region such as Nasdaq Dubai create a pan Arab exchange to trade in stocks, derivatives and other Islamic products.

BFX had planned to begin operations in the first quarter of 2010 but delayed its launch last year citing sluggish market sentiment.

Bahrain's waning status as a financial hub took another blow this year when sweeping political unrest in the Gulf Arab region spread to the Gulf nation.

The tiny kingdom declared martial law and invited troops from Gulf neighbours into the country to help quell the unrest in a crackdown on a protester camp near Manama's financial district on March 16.