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NEWS UPDATES 8 July 2010

Options opening for Thai companies

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Thai companies are expected to improve funding options as the local capital market continues to develop.

Securities regulators and financiers discuss capital market development trends on the second day of the Euromoney conference, eported by the Bangkok Post.

But financial experts say a number of issues still need improvement, including the legal framework, investor education and the relatively small size of the market. Tipsuda Thavaramara, an assistant secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said one major aim of the Capital Market Development Master Plan was to facilitate the growth of small companies, both those listed and non-listed firms. She told participants at the Euromoney forum yesterday that by the end of the year, new financial instruments, including interest rate futures, exchange traded funds, infrastructure funds and Islamic bonds, would enter the Thai market.

But basic financial infrastructure to help support the master plan remain needed, such as a trust law that will facilitate the issuance of Islamic bonds.

''The SEC is also in talks with the Revenue Department right now about other tax incentives that could be offered to small and medium-sized enterprises, such as upfront deductions that will be a greater benefit than tax incentives on say dividends,'' Mrs. Tipsuda said.

Regulators are also developing a framework for the launch of private equity funds to help support fund-raising from other sources besides the stock exchange. Mrs. Tipsuda said this would help non-listed companies raise money more efficiently and at lower cost.

''The Thai investor base remains quite small, and the options available in the stock market are not necessarily suitable for all investor groups, but are rather tailored towards investors with a certain level of financial acumen and sophistication,'' she said.

Mrs. Tipsuda said Thailand should have a national plan to help educate the public about investment, finance and the capital markets, adding that under the master plan, a new agency would be created to oversee this task directly.

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