Thai bourse to take on overseas listings

Thai bourse to take on overseas listings

Becoming regional financial hub the goal

The Thai capital market will move further towards its mission of becoming a regional hub by letting foreign-listed companies mobilise funds through the bourse starting next week.

Vorapol Socatiyanurak, secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, says the move is part of the SEC's near-term strategy to turn itself into a financial services centre for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

"As our capital market is the strongest and most advanced compared with others in this area, we're confident the mission can be accomplished soon," he said yesterday.

The SEC will disclose the fund-raising rules next week. The accountants, auditors and financial advisers that the listing firms use must be qualified and employ widely accepted practices.

"We also require the listing firm to be supervised by the financial adviser for the first three years after listing," Mr Vorapol said.

At the moment there is heavy demand to list on the Thai stock exchange among firms from China, Laos and Vietnam.

"We welcome all foreign firms if they measure up to our listing requirements," Mr Vorapol said.

The main difficulties for GMS companies are accounting standards and information disclosures, as many firms have been set up by families or the government and lack transparency.

The SEC has a five-step development plan for the Thai capital market, starting with investment integration through the Asean linkage.

Another step is the collective investment scheme, letting countries in the region issue bonds in the Thai bond market. Laos issued its first bonds here last year, followed by Myanmar this year.

The SEC has collaborated with China, South Korea and Japan on securities and mutual funds trading, with plans to partner with Australia, New Zealand, India and Europe in the second half of 2015.

Mr Vorapol said the 26 audit firms endorsed by the SEC had passed the test of standard practices, and their work would be accepted by international markets.

Assistant secretary-general Tipsuda Thavarama said the SEC is considering letting Thai firms raise funds in the Thai capital market to invest in infrastructure projects in foreign countries.

The firms would have to give up the tax deduction for mutual funds, and only accredited investors could invest in such funds.

The SEC will support GMS countries in setting up their own mutual funds, providing an investment alternative for foreign and local investors.

SET executive vice-president Pakorn Peetathawatchai said the outlook for the Thai stock exchange remained positive, with healthy listed firms and a market capitalisation of 13 trillion baht, up from 3 trillion in 1997.

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