Quality the priority over timing for Yangon Exchange

The Yangon Stock Exchange may not arrive in October, as preparations are focused on providing a quality market rather than solely on timing, according to deputy finance minister Dr Maung Maung Thein.

“The target we have set is October this year, but it’s just a target. Our intention is just to deliver the quality goods, not [only] the timing. It might be earlier than October, it might be later than October – no problem,” he told The Myanmar Times on the sidelines of an insurance press event on May 30.

There is still much to do before the Yangon Stock Exchange, Myanmar’s first modern bourse, opens. While KBZ has been selected as the settlement bank and Japan Exchange Group, Daiwa Securities’ information-gathering arm and state-owned Myanma Economic Bank have signed a joint venture agreement to establish the exchange, some critics say the pace of progress has been slow.

The underwriters, brokers, dealers and advisers for the exchange have not yet been selected. A total of 57 applications were received in April, though the winners will not be announced until June.

The winners will be required to meet a number of conditions, including a paid-up capital requirement of K15 billion (US$13.7 million) for underwriters, K10 billion for brokers, K7 billion for dealers and K30 million for advisers.

Dr Maung Maung Thein, who is also chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar, said the full list of 57 companies will not be disclosed. “Only [the names of those] who pass the exam will be released,” he said.

Dr Maung Maung Thein also said he is hopeful that the criteria that companies must meet to list will be released as early as this week. He said the criteria is finished and is now being finalised, after careful consideration from experts on ensuring it strikes the right balance between encouraging companies to list and maintaining strong corporate standards.

“If it is too rigid, there will be no listed companies. If it is too lax, there will be a lot of listing companies and it might confuse the public,” he said.

While Myanmar can take some international best-practices, it cannot simply copy another country’s standards, as it has a difference culture and economic situation.

“We cannot make a carbon copy of the foreign model. So we have to think about foreign models in our context. We have to be very careful about this thing and repeatedly review it again and again.”

So far, First Myanmar Investment, Myanmar Agribusiness Public Company and Asia Green Development Bank have declared their intention to list, though not all of them are likely to be ready this year.

Source: Myanmar Times

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