The Difference Between the MAIN, ACE and LEAP Markets in Bursa Malaysia


The 3 major markets for share trading in Bursa Malaysia are intended for different reasons. In some ways, they can be seen as 3 different levels of markets meant for companies in different sizes and industries. In the past, Bursa Malaysia (then known as Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange or KLSE) had different names for different markets. To this end, the MAIN, ACE and LEAP Markets are now more specialized, offering investors a better and effective way of trading.

Companies and Industries

Investors who are familiar with the former KLSE will know about the Main and Second Board. The MAIN Market in Bursa Malaysia is now the combination of both the markets. This is where you will find major names of companies in prominent industries in Malaysia like oil & gas, airlines and manufacturing. This includes known companies like Top Glove, Air Asia, HSBC and others.

For listing in the MAIN Market, the company must issue at least 25% of its total shares to the public. It now has more than 800 companies listed there. Besides shares, REITS, Warrants and ETFs are being traded each day. At the end of the every trading day, the top 30 companies’ share performances will then contribute to the FBM-KLCI index.

Meanwhile, companies that are more industry-specific aiming to get listed in Bursa Malaysia will do so at the ACE Market. In some way, the ACE Market Is often regarded to be the post-MESDAQ market. However, there is a large difference between MESDAQ and ACE. The former was then intended to trade only companies in the technology sector. For ACE meanwhile, it is a lot more specific in various industries. While technology companies still dominate the ACE Market, there are other new players as well. This includes companies like IRIS Corp Bhd, Matang Bhd, XOX Bhd and many more.

As for the third and latest market, the LEAP Market is a new platform intended for SMEs. This is where the market is specifically designed for the smaller players that want to get listed to inject more funds but do not have the financial muscle like those in the two larger markets. SMEs will find this market extremely helpful where they can enjoy better exposure in the public platform while ensuring more investment in the company. To date, there are now almost 10 companies listed in the LEAP Market which are not entirely industry-specific. Among the names in this market include SL Information Bhd, Metro Healthcare Bhd and MyKRIS International Bhd, among others.

Stock Trading

In many ways, the 3 markets are similar where shares are issued and traded. For the MAIN Market, at least 25% of its shares must be issued to the public. For the LEAP Market, this is at 10%. While the MAIN and ACE Markets are traded in the floor every day by anyone with the funds to buy and anyone intending to sell, the LEAP Market operates differently. It adopts what is known as a ‘Sophisticated Investor’ who meet certain requirements before the shares of the SME can be traded.

Capital and Share Value

One thing for sure, where money is concerned, the MAIN Market will top this comparison. As the MAIN Market is all about profit and loss, companies listed here would have millions as their capital while share prices could range from a few sens per share to tens of ringgit per share. This situation is similar to the ACE Market. However, it can be expected that the ACE Market will not have high-priced shares. As the spectrum lowers, so will the value of shares with the LEAP Market.

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