SEC seeks to enhance capital market

SEC seeks to enhance capital market

Ministry says plan to support fintech firms needed as part of market development effort

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been assigned to focus on capital market development in five areas during 2022-2027, says Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

One area is supporting easier access to the capital market for companies, especially those targeted by the government, such as those under the bio-, circular, and green economic model, which are positioned as the new engine of the economy.

Other areas include enhancing the market's competitiveness, leveraging digital technology to foster market development, making the market more sustainable and promoting financial health among Thais.

The SEC will have to include a plan to support fintech companies in this market development plan, Mr Arkhom said yesterday at a seminar on capital market development hosted by the SEC.

He said the SEC should also look to blockchain technology to enhance capital market development.

Mr Arkhom said the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), like other global markets, suffered a blow from the pandemic but can make a quick recovery, as the SET Index surged 50% in 2021 from its low point in March 2020.

Last year the market welcomed more than 40 initial public offerings of securities, the highest level in four years, with a value of 137 billion baht, the biggest tally in Asean.

Daily trading value on the SET last year surged 31% year-on-year to 84.4 billion baht.

Last year the private sector issued long-term bonds worth more than 1 trillion baht, up 50% from 2020, while the value of short-term bonds stood at more than 600 billion baht.

Last year the Finance Ministry offered savings bonds worth more than 30 billion baht.

Last year the foreign fund flow into Thailand's bond market was 140 billion baht.

As of 2021, foreign investors owned local bonds worth more than 1 trillion baht, accounting for 6.8% of total outstanding bonds.

SEC secretary-general Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol said the commission is aligning its 2022-2024 work plan in accordance with an international strategic direction emphasising enhanced competitiveness, inclusiveness, as well as trust and confidence.

Ms Ruenvadee said the SEC aims to achieve five goals under the plan.

The first goal is to maintain and enhance the capital market's role in restructuring and strengthening the Thai economy by serving as a fundraising platform for targeted business groups such as new S-curve businesses, small businesses and startups.

The second goal is to bring technology and innovation to promote and regulate the capital market and develop ecosystems and leverage innovation to improve the governance of digital asset businesses and enhance investor protection.

The third goal is to enhance the SEC's commitment to achieve sustainable development goals and comply with international environmental, social and governance criteria.

The fourth goal is to improve the Thai bourse's connection with international markets, such as through the promotion of cross-border products, she said.

Finally, the fifth goal is to increase the public's financial literacy and encourage more people to participate and accumulate wealth though investment in the Thai capital market.

Moreover, deputy secretary-general Sakkarin Ruamrangsri said the SEC is considering intensifying penalties for insider trading offences, with civil penalties and more criminal penalties planned to deter crime.

In addition, the SEC introduced an artificial intelligence system to detect and investigate stock manipulation.

The system enhances the efficiency of the prosecution process, he said.

The SEC will always revise and modernise the law to ensure compliance as circumstances change, Mr Sakkarin said.

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