SINGAPORE--The Singapore Exchange (SGX), Asia’s second-largest listed bourse, is seeking PR advice to help it raise its global profile.

The Holmes Report understands that SGX called for agency proposals last month but has yet to commence a formal pitch process.

According to one agency source, SGX is hoping to better compete against Hong Kong's stock exchange, its larger rival.

While Singapore ranks second among listed bourses, it remains dwarfed in market capitalization by regional heavyweights in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

SGX's current market capitalization of around US$500 billion (as of January 2010) puts it in the mid-range of Asian exchanges, according to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).

Singapore did secure the major Hutchison Ports business trust IPO earlier this year, but has since lost out on high-profile listings from Prada and the PCCW business trust.

In addition, expected listings from Fitness First and Manchester United, the latter seen as a potential coup for SGX, have yet to materialise. Global economic conditions have also contributed to a “fairly quiet market” added the source.

The review also comes amid speculation that SGX is to partner with the London Stock Exchange in a £1bn bid for the London Metal Exchange. Earlier this year, SGX failed in an effort to buy the Australian Securities Exchange.

“It’s on a consultation basis at the moment,” said the source of the SGX PR review. “They are looking at an opportunity to grow beyond the region.”

More than 40 percent of companies listed on SGX originate outside Singapore, giving the exchange a particularly international focus.