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Investors association wants foreign execs to run Vietnam’s main stock exchange

By Dat Nguyen   March 10, 2021 | 07:41 pm PT
Investors association wants foreign execs to run Vietnam’s main stock exchange
Investors look at stock prices on a laptop at a brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam Association of Financial Investors has called for replacing the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange’s managers with foreigners to deal with its chronic overload.

The bourse (HoSE) has been unable to cope with the daily transaction volume for three months now, and the blame for this lies with the poor management, the association (VAFI) said in a letter to the Ministry of Finance.

A new system has been in the works since 2012 but has yet to be installed though it typically takes only a few years, it said.

The top management does not understand the stock market or business management, VAFI alleged. "Their incompetence has meant investors are unable to get correct demand-supply data or place orders."

VAFI called for hiring experienced foreign executives for key positions on HoSE, pointing out it has been done before in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Officials from the ministry and the State Securities Commission of Vietnam should not be hired for these positions since there is a difference between managing government agencies and businesses, it said.

Authorities should in fact privatize the Vietnam Stock Exchange and take a stock exchange in a developed market on board as a strategic shareholder who could provide management, technology and training, it said.

The Vietnam Exchange (VNX), the parent of HoSE and the Hanoi Stock Exchange, should be listed and become independent of the ministry and securities regulator, it added.

HoSE’s trading system, which has remained mostly unchanged for the last 20 years, has been overwhelmed after a huge number of new investors began trading in recent months.

Many complain about the trouble they have placing orders, especially in the afternoon when trading value rises to VND15 trillion ($652 million).

The finance ministry recently commissioned IT giant FPT to provide solutions to deal with the overload. The process could take three or four months.

There were 2.88 million stock trading accounts at the end of February, 21 percent up from a year earlier and equivalent to 2.96 percent of the country’s population. Last year the ratio of HoSE’s total market cap to GDP was 67.59 percent.

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