Stock Market Upgrade Journey: overcoming hurdles and reaching new heights

Thursday, Mar 14, 2024 11:08

Vũ Thị Chân Phương, Chairwoman of the State Securities Commission (SSC). — VNS Photo

The general upgrading of the Việt Nam Stock Market will bring about favourable outcomes and increase global integration, elevating the stature of the Vietnamese market and the country itself. The upgrading of the stock market contributes to Việt Nam's aspirations of establishing an international financial center. This plays a significant role in Việt Nam's national development strategy. Chairwoman of the State Securities Commission (SSC) Vũ Thị Chân Phương shares her insights with Việt Nam News.

The upgraded Việt Nam Stock Market will mean it will become more appealing to investors and attract substantial capital inflows from global investment funds. However, there are challenges to overcome in this process. Could you please elaborate on this?

According to evaluations by rating agencies and major international financial institutions, Việt Nam has made considerable improvements and achieved important criteria. However, there are currently two critical issues that require focused efforts to enhance and implement measures to facilitate the participation of foreign investors in the stock market in the near future. These issues include the requirement of pre-funding for trading and limitations on foreign ownership. Addressing these concerns necessitates practical co-ordination among relevant ministries and agencies.

The decision to upgrade the stock market is a collective objective that has received attention and guidance from the Government and the Prime Minister in recent times. This matter has been outlined in Government Resolution No 86/NQ-CP, issued on July 11, 2022, and has been incorporated into the approved Securities Market Development Strategy until 2030.

Furthermore, the stock market upgrade depends on the objective assessment of international rating agencies through the real experiences of foreign investors. Therefore, to achieve the desired outcomes, the participation and determination of relevant ministries and agencies are crucial, in addition to the guidance and attention provided by the Government and the Prime Minister.

The success of the upgrade also relies on the practical experiences of foreign investors when engaging in the Vietnamese stock market. Consequently, it requires united efforts from market participants in providing services, listed companies, particularly prominent listed organisations, in terms of transparent information disclosure, English-language information dissemination, and effective corporate governance practices.

What steps are the State Securities Commission taking to address these challenges?

In recent times, SSC has made efforts to implement various solutions aimed at improving the key criteria set by international rating organisations. To achieve this, SSC has organised multiple meetings with ministries, departments, and stakeholders. We have engaged in both domestic and international collaborations with international rating organisations, major financial institutions, and market participants. These collaborative efforts focus on studying and proposing solutions to overcome the remaining obstacles in Việt Nam's stock market upgrading process.

Regarding pre-funding issues, SSC has collaborated with relevant units and market participants to research and develop suitable solutions. Additionally, SSC has actively reviewed securities-related legislation to suggest necessary amendments and additions to meet the evolving needs promptly. In the medium term, the implementation of the Counterparty Clearing Center (CCP) model is considered vital for addressing pre-funding challenges effectively.

Concerning foreign ownership limits, the Ministry of Finance has recommended the Ministry of Planning and Investment review sectors with restrictions on foreign participation. Transparent disclosure of information about restricted sectors and specific ownership limits for each sector is essential to facilitate easy access to information for investors. The opinions of investment organisations regarding foreign ownership limits are also being considered, with a focus on implementing such limits only in strategic sectors that are crucial for national security.

Furthermore, SSC will report to the Ministry of Finance, suggesting amendments to Circular 96/TT-BTC, which provides guidelines for information disclosure in the stock market. The objective is to encourage companies to disclose information in English, enabling foreign investors to clearly understand the specific foreign ownership ratios in each sector. Additionally, SSC is reviewing and proposing amendments to Decree 155/2020/NĐ-CP to enhance foreign investors' market access by specifying the timing requirements for large-scale public companies to disclose their maximum foreign ownership ratios. Urgent reviews and proposals are also underway to revise information disclosure regulations, making it mandatory for large-scale listed companies to disclose information in both Vietnamese and English.

Moving into 2024, what solutions will the State Securities Commission implement to make the stock market an increasingly efficient channel for mobilising medium and long-term capital for the economy?

To ensure a stable, fair, transparent, and sustainable operation of the Vietnamese stock market, SSC will continue to execute the solutions outlined in the approved Strategic Development Plan for the Vietnamese Stock Market until 2030.

We will enhance the legal framework and policy system to support market development. This involves completing the implementation plan for the Strategic Development Plan of the stock market for the period 2023-2030.

Initial public offerings (IPOs) will be linked with listings to expedite the process from issuance to listing on the stock market, allowing issuing organisations to shorten the timeline.

Strengthening supervision, inspections, and examinations in the stock market is crucial, with a particular emphasis on monitoring securities companies, fund management companies, market participants, and issuing organisations. Strict measures will be taken against any violations found.

SSC will also focus on promoting the modernisation of technological infrastructure and leveraging scientific and technological advancements. We will collaborate with relevant entities to promptly deploy new information technology systems, enabling the introduction of new products and services in the market.

Additionally, training and workshops on non-traditional security measures will be conducted for market participants, company leaders, and managers of securities and fund management firms.

International co-operation will be strengthened through investment promotion programmes, engagement with foreign investors, and collaboration with rating agencies. The aim is to upgrade Việt Nam's stock market from a frontier market to an emerging market. SSC will also focus on preparations for the Conference of the Securities Commission of Asia-Pacific Countries, scheduled to take place in Việt Nam in 2025. — VNS

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