The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has published its financial results for the first half of the year. The results showed AU$230.5 million in after-tax profit and an increase of AU$11.1 million over the year.
The exchange also reported an increase in revenue of AU$11.1 million over the first half of the year to AU$409 million, whilst also raising AU$44.8 million in capital during this period.
In their report, they highlighted the growing importance of the multi-dimensional ecosystem. Also, it is aiming at making businesses easier for ASX-listed companies, as well as for its own internal processes.
Also, it cited global drivers of change as part of its plan to build-out a new technology ecosystem. These were listed by the exchange as the increase in computing power/speed; the costs of storage and processing; the rise of big data and cloud; AI and machine learning; and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Dominic Stevens, CEO & MD at ASX said, "We see these opportunities as complementary to our traditional areas of focus and requiring ongoing investment in new technology."
"ASX's goal is to make business easier for our customers. To do that, we must be technologically out in front", he added.
ASX said that the tech-based drivers have led to demand for information. This information is real-time, data-rich, easily accessible, seamlessly delivered and has an on-scale production.
To cope up, it announced plans to upgrade a secondary datacenter, its ASX Net communications strategy, and develop a cloud strategy. The upgrading of datacenter takes about 2-3 years. It costs around AU$20 million to AU$25 million to do so.
The ASX announced a US-based blockchain firm Digital Asset in Dec 2017. This blockchain would be responsible for replacing its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) with a distributed ledger solution.
The ASX said that, previously the decision to choose Digital Asset follows the successful build of enterprise-grade DLT software for core equity clearance and settlement functions, and the completion of testing it over the past 2 years by both parties.
Stevens said, â??The organization's decision to replace CHESS with a post-trade platform using DLT is an example of being technologically sound."
"After extensive testing and stakeholder consultation, we are confident that DLT will meet the needs of Australia's financial marketplace for improved functionality and efficiency, and maintain the highest regulatory and operational standards," he added.
The ASX also went live with its new futures trading platform last year. This platform helps for better risk management, as well as a better and faster response to customer problems.
The exchange also noted that it had realized current development opportunities during the half-year in building a big data analytical environment as well as producing a broader range of ASX datasets, in addition to its DLT capabilities.
It revealed that it was in the early stages of an exciting opportunity to determine whether AI can provide efficiencies to internal ASX processes. Similarly, analytics to sit on top of the big data platform and give greater insight to Austraclear data is also analyzed.
Another growth initiative Stevens highlighted was electronic property settlement. The ASX is working with InfoTrack, an Australian provider of electronic conveyancing technology and services, to investigate creating an Electronic Lodgement Network Operator (ELNO) and whether it can use its existing infrastructure to build such a solution.
The company said it also attracted new technology and foreign company listings, with public tech companies growing 140 percent since 2014. In the period of six months till Dec 2017, 77 new companies joined the exchange. Among them, 11 of those were tech firms and 18 were international businesses.
Lastly, for the FY 2017, the exchange reported AU$ 34.1 million in after-tax profit.