Singapore is seizing an opportunity measured in milliseconds to win a bigger slice of the world's foreign exchange market, worth $5.1 trillion (¥570 trillion) daily.

The Southeast Asian nation is encouraging major foreign exchange operators to build systems in the country to remove the sub-second delay caused by routing trades via Tokyo or London. The move is part of a plan to expand the island's overall currency trading industry, said Benny Chey of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. have already set up pricing engines on the island, and MAS hopes to bring in six to eight more big players, including nonbanks and multidealer platforms.

"We are positioning ourselves to be plugged in to growing Asian wealth," said Chey, assistant managing director of development and international at MAS. "As this large macro shift in Asian economic growth and rising Asian wealth takes place over the medium term, we are trying to build out the efficiency of our ecosystem" to close the gaps with other trading hubs, he said.