HO CHI MINH CITY -- FiinPro Platform, jointly developed by StoxPlus and QUICK, was officially launched for investors in Vietnam at the end of July.
FiinPro Platform, available in Vietnamese and English, is the first ever comprehensive financial database in Vietnam. The service aims to assist local and international fund managers, researchers, securities analysts, banks, insurance companies, brokerage consultants and professional traders in their investment ideas and strategies. Users can access financial and operational data for about 2,000 Vietnamese companies including some 800 listed ones, according to StoxPlus.
"This is a useful gateway for financial information in Vietnam, especially to foreign investors" said StoxPlus CEO Nguyen Quang Thuan at the launch event.
The tool was introduced to investors from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore at the "Opportunities and Challenges of Investing in Vietnam securities market" Conference held by the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange and StoxPlus last Friday.
Established in 2009 and becoming an associate company of Nikkei and QUICK last year, StoxPlus aims to become an essential tool for international businesses operating in Vietnam. It provides comprehensive, ready-to-use financial and business information products, analytic tools and market research for Vietnam via its three core products: Financial Information, Business Information and Research Services.
Vietnam's stock market capitalization is valued at $60 billion, 15 years after the bourse was established. Foreign investors currently hold about 17% of the market, equivalent to $10.7 billion, compared with some 34% held by Vietnam's government.
The foreign shareholding ratio, however, is expected to increase when the foreign-owned ceiling is removed next month when laws change, according to stock exchange board member Nguyen Thi Viet Ha. Furthermore, the Vietnamese government's plan to lower ownership on these companies is also likely to attract foreign investment. "The government has set several measures to attract more foreign capital in the near future," Viet Ha said.
According to Koichi Takeuchi at Japan Securities, Vietnam is categorized as a marginal market, but is expected be promoted to an emerging market in the near future. However, Vietnam's market capitalization is small as a ratio of the nation's gross domestic product, at 21.1%. Neighboring countries such as Thailand (104.7%) and Indonesia (45.3%) have much higher ratios. "Vietnam's market can be an alternative for foreign investors, especially those who moved from China to India recently. However, its market capitalization must be bigger to attract them," he said.
So far, Vietnam's government has not found the right recipe for attracting foreign investment to its market, according to local experts. Initial public offerings of a Vietnam textile and garment company and the Vietnamese flag carrier last year did not attract as much foreign investment as expected, because the stake sold to the public was too small. Moreover, foreign investors have pointed out barriers preventing them from investing in this market, such as a lack of transparency, a lack of high-quality state-owned enterprises, foreign ownership limitation and government corruption.
Consumer-based businesses, benefiting from the nation's population of more than 90 million, including health care, insurance, food and veverages, technology and oil and gas -- these are among the most attractive companies for foreign investors, according to a StoxPlus survey.
But foreign investors are mainly keen on the companies that have charter capital of at least $50 million, or market capital of $100 million, as well as double-digit growth rates. Less than a third of listed and unlisted companies meet those conditions.