Myanmar prepares to let foreigners trade local stocks from March

Photo by Harish Shivaraman on Unsplash

Myanmar plans to let some foreigners trade local stocks from March, in an initial step toward expanding the country’s small bourse.

Expatriates residing in the nation will be the first allowed to trade on the Yangon Stock Exchange, with permission for other foreigners coming later in stages, Htay Chun, a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar, said in an interview Tuesday in Yangon.

Allowing foreigners to buy stocks is one of the ways Myanmar hopes to bolster its otherwise moribund Myanpix equity index, which is almost four years old but has only five stocks. Critics say the long-delayed step is an example of the slow pace of regulatory change in the Southeast Asian nation.

Myanmar also plans to establish a second board with looser listing rules than the main market. Htay Chun said foreigners would be allowed to trade on the second board, and that it may be set up by the third quarter of the year.

“We’re aiming to have as many as 10 companies on the second board when it launches,” he said.

Foreigners could make up 15% of Myanmar stock trading initially, rising to as much as 40% eventually, Ryota Sugishita, chief consultant at Japan’s Daiwa Institute of Research, said last year.

Corporate Bonds

Existing rules allow overseas investors to own a maximum 35% of a local company. Firms must meet 17 criteria to be eligible for listing on the main board, such as being profitable for at least two years and having a minimum of 100 shareholders.

In the bond market, the securities regulator is working toward a framework that would allow companies to issue bonds potentially as early as the second half of 2020, Htay Chun said.

Public backing from senior politicians like de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi would help Myanmar to deepen its capital markets, he said.

“If they stressed the importance of the capital markets, more people would be interested in investing here,” Htay Chun added.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.