It is not the way Magnus Bocker wanted to start his sixth year running Southeast Asia's biggest bourse. Singapore Exchange opened its securities market 3½ hours late on Wednesday because of a software error, less than a month after halting trading for more than two hours on November 5 due to a power supply failure. Bocker, who marked his fifth anniversary at the helm of the exchange on Monday, apologised publicly on Wednesday for the foul-ups amid broker anger and criticism from the city state's financial regulator. "This will give Bocker's critics more ammunition to press for leadership change," said Ryan Huang, a market strategist at IG in Singapore. "It's difficult to restore investor confidence with these disruptions happening in such a short period of time." Bocker is grappling with a slump in stock trading volume that spurred a 16 per cent drop in profit last quarter, and competition from Hong Kong to be the gateway for investors into mainland China. The former president of Nasdaq OMX Group has focused on new products to bolster the exchange's revenue after his most ambitious plan - the A$8.3 billion (HK$54.2 billion) takeover bid for ASX - was blocked by Australia's government in 2011 on the grounds of national interest. "I'm not giving up," Bocker told a media briefing late on Wednesday, appearing relaxed and greeting journalists with a smile. "I've been working in exchanges for nearly 30 years. This is not the first time I'm sitting through these kinds of challenges. We've done it before. We will come through as a stronger organisation." While the exchange could have started trading as scheduled at 9am on Wednesday, it wanted to give affected brokers enough time to fix any issues, Bocker said. The bourse operator had been humbled by the disruptions and would work to regain trust, he said. The Monetary Authority of Singapore criticised the exchange on Wednesday and pledged to take supervisory action if needed. "The lapse is unacceptable," the regulator said. Manoj Kumar, a broker at CIMB in Singapore, said brokers had lost confidence in the system and clients were upset. "The mood hasn't been good the whole year, and this has just ruined things again," he said. "It's one screw-up after another." Bocker earned S$3.78 million (HK$22.3 million) in the financial year to June, including fixed pay of S$1.01 million and a S$2 million bonus for achieving "specific quantitative and qualitative targets and objectives". The daily value of stocks traded in Singapore has averaged S$1.05 billion this year, a 25 per cent drop from last year. A penny-stock rout wiped US$6.9 billion off the market value of three commodity companies over three days in October last year, denting investor confidence and prompting the city state to strengthen securities rules.