The Nation



SET to slash red tape as it outlines 2014 goals

Bourse aims to become regional hub, industry's energiser for sustainable growth

The Stock Exchange of Thailand sees two roles for itself in the future - the hub of the Greater Mekong Subregion and the energiser of the industry for sustainable growth starting next year. But to attain them, it needs to reduce red tape.

"We have to negotiate with the Revenue Department of the Finance Ministry and the Public Debt Management Office to revise the tax structure to support investors expanding in the region," chairman Sathit Limpongpan told a press conference yesterday on the SET's goals and targets for next year.

"Especially the withholding tax on dividends, which is paid by Thailand's corporations when their overseas units generate income and repatriate dividends to their parent company - this needs to be revised to compete with other countries in this region," he said.

If the country changes this rule, that will allow Thai conglomerates to expand abroad and remit their dividends back to Thailand for expansion in this country.

"We also have to [bring in] other rules by dealing with other parties to drive the SET to achieve our objective" of becoming the market leader in this region, he said.

The bourse plans to develop all secondary markets by such methods as providing more information and knowledge to investors in the SET.

It has set a target to increase equity investors from 590,000 this year to 678,000 and bond investors, both corporate and retail, from 86,893 accounts to 102,000.

The SET plans to develop the gold and commodities markets in terms of new investors and trade value by joining with the Bank of Thailand and Commerce Ministry respectively.

The exchange targets Bt210 billion in market capitalisation from initial public offerings, down from Bt288.33 billion as of yesterday and Bt346.33 billion as of this coming Friday, when the Bt58-billion True Telecommunications Growth Infrastructure Fund will start trading, SET president Charamporn Jotikasthira said.

"Our growth target for 2014 is lower than the market capitalisation from IPOs in 2013 because this year was beyond expectations. The early target was only Bt120 billion, but some infrastructure funds expanded and raised capital," he said.

Listed companies are targeted to raise Bt180 billion in capital from the market, up 18 per cent from Bt152.02 billion as of last Friday.

Trading on the futures market is targeted to rise 10 per cent to an average 75,000 contracts a day from 67,862 contracts a day this year.

However, the SET cannot forecast turnover at this time because the country's political uncertainty affects the investment climate.

"We will release the estimated trade value for the stock market in February, when the country's political picture will be clearer," he said. An election is planned for early that month.

Trade this year to last Friday averaged Bt50.84 billion a day, up 57.04 per cent from the same period of last year.

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