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The Vietnam Stock Exchange: Quick Guide 2024

Stock trading in Vietnam is a relatively new phenomenon. As a result, there are only a few products, with trading on Vietnam’s key stock exchanges generally limited to the basic buying and selling of stocks and bonds. That said, reforms are being passed frequently and Vietnam’s key stock exchanges are slowly moving to be more in line with international stock market standards.

Furthermore, the frontier market status of Vietnam’s key exchanges has not been a deterrent for many foreign investors. At the end of September, The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange boasted 40,200 accounts for foreign individuals and 4,506 accounts belonging to foreign institutions. Whereas there are notable risks with investing in any developing market, these risks are generally countered with higher potential rewards.

That said, foreign investors looking to invest in Vietnam’s key financial markets may be able to mitigate some of the risks by understanding the framework within which they operate.

Vietnam Stock Exchange

The Vietnam Stock Exchange (VNX) is the umbrella organisation under which the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) and Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) operate. It was established by the Law on Securities 2019 and is overseen by the State Securities Commission (SSC) which is a branch of the Ministry of Finance.

The VSX is responsible for managing Vietnam’s two principal stock exchanges: the HNX and the HoSE.

Hanoi Stock Exchange

The HNX replaced the Hanoi Securities Trading Centre (HSTC) through Decision 01/2009/QD-TTg in 2009. Its core functions are to manage Vietnam’s bond market and Unlisted Public Companies Market (UPCoM).

The Vietnam bond market

The Vietnam bond market is a part of the HNX and handles both government and corporate bonds.

Bonds in Vietnam have become a popular means of raising capital in Vietnam, however, over the past year or so it has been revealed that corporate bonds in several instances have been misused. This has created some challenges selling bonds and has led to broad bond market reforms. It has also seen the size of the corporate bond market contract.

Composition of Vietnam’s bond market, Q3 2023

Q3 2022Q2 2023Q3 2023Growth Rate (%)
$%$%$%q-o-qy-o-y
Government661778197718.91.519
Central Bank10.30040.9208.6
Corporate318297276.7-3.1-9.4
Total9825.31082610926.63.912.5

% = percent of GDP; $ = US$ billions

Source: Asia Bond Monitor – November 2023

The Vietnam Unlisted Public Companies Market

Vietnam’s UPCoM handles smaller firms that wish to sell shares and raise capital but that do not qualify for listing on the HoSE.

In this light, Vietnam’s UPCom has become a pivotal stepping stone for businesses looking to list on the HoSE. It has also become a fall back for firms that fail to meet HoSE standards–Local English learning conglomerate APAX Holdings, for example, was delisted from the HoSE in 2023 for failing to meet HoSE information disclosure requirements and reverted back to the UPCoM (see: Well-known English language training centre chain, APAX Holdings, delisted). 

Generally, a company can list on the UPCoM as long as it is a public company. This distinction is based on the charter capital and the number of shareholders or whether or not it has undertaken an initial public offering through the State Securities Commision.

Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange

The Vietnam stock exchange that is most well-known and the most active is the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE). This stock exchange has just over 400 listed companies with the entire stock exchange having a market capitalisation of US$172 billion as of October of 2023.

The HoSE has been essential for many firms in Vietnam to raise capital to expand. It is, however, relatively undeveloped and trades are mostly limited to buying and selling stocks. 

Controversy

Vietnam’s main stock market has faced controversy this year with respect to market manipulation. Of note, allegations emerged that the former head of the real estate firm FLC, Trinh Van Quyet, used family and friends to jack up the price of FLC stock, netting the high-profile executive US$176.2 million.

Whereas this is the most high profile case, it is apparent that this is a widespread practice in Vietnam. The authorities in recent months have, however, committed to stamping it out (see: Stock market manipulation in Vietnam in crosshairs after high-profile arrests).

Vietnam stock market indexes

Like most stock markets, the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange has a number of different indices across different sectors. The two main indices, however, are the VN-Index and the VN30.

VN-Index

The VN-Index is a market capitalization-weighted index of all of the stocks listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. This is the main index used to measure the exchange. It is the Vietnamese equivalent, for news reporting purposes, of the Dow Jones in the USA, Australia’s All Ordinaries, or London’s FTSE100.

VN30

Less talked about than the VN-Index but by many measures just as important as the VN30. The VN30 is a basket of 30 of the most high-performing stocks on the HoSE.

List of stocks in the VN30, December 2023

CodeCompany name
ACBAsia Commercial Joint Stock Bank
BCMIndustrial Investment and Development Corporation – JSC
BIDJoint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam
BVHBao Viet Group
CTGVietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade
FPTFPT Joint Stock Company
GASVietnam Gas Corporation – Joint Stock Company
GVRVietnam Rubber Industry Group – Joint Stock Company
HDBHo Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank
HPGHoa Phat Group Joint Stock Company
MBBMilitary Commercial Joint Stock Bank
MSNMaSan Group Joint Stock Company
MWGMobile World Investment Joint Stock Company
PLXVietnam Petroleum Group
POWVietnam Petroleum Power Corporation – Joint Stock Company
SABSaigon Beer – Alcohol – Beverage Joint Stock Corporation
SHBSaigon – Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank
SSBSoutheast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank
SSISSI Securities Joint Stock Company
STBSaigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank
TCBVietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank
TPBTien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank
VCBJoint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam
VHMVinhomes Joint Stock Company
VIBVietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank
VICVingroup Corporation – Joint Stock Company
VJCVietJet Aviation Joint Stock Company
VNMVietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company
VPBVietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank
VREVincom Retail Joint Stock Company

Source: Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange | VN30 stock basket

Vietnam stock market trading hours

Whereas more developed stock exchanges tend to trade from 10 am to 4 pm. Vietnam’s major exchanges are slightly different. Trading on both exchanges is limited to about four hours and divided into two sessions.

HoSE

The HoSE is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 11:30 am and from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Trading, however, is only conducted in the morning between 9:15 am and 11:30 am, and in the afternoon between 1:00 pm and  2:30 pm local time. 

HNX

The HNX is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with trading conducted from 9:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm local time.

Vietnam’s biggest securities firms 2022

The top leading securities firms announced by the HoSE at the end of 2022 were:

VPS Securities

VPS Securities boasted a 14.81 percent market share at the end of 2022. In 2022, the firm had net revenue of US$348 million with a $33.2 million. VPS has been trading the HoSE since 2006. 

SSI Securities

SSI Securities had a market share at the end of 2022 of around 10 percent. In 2022, the firm clocked revenue of US$261.1 million with profit after tax of US$69.95 million. SSI was founded in 1999.

VNDirect 

VNDirects market share at the end of 2022 was estimated to be about 7.51 percent. The firm recorded net revenue in 2022 of VND 6,829,224 (US$) and a profit after tax of VND 1,220,280 (US$). The firm first started operating in 2006.

Foreign investment in securities firms

The ownership limit of foreign investors in securities trading firms in Vietnam depends on whether the investor is an organisation or an individual. An individual and their immediate family can own no more than a collective 49 percent of a securities firm, whereas an organisation can own 100 percent of a trading firm if it meets the following criteria:

  • It has been operating in the field of banking, securities, and/or insurance for at least two years;
  • The licensing authority in the organisation’s home country and the State Securities Commision in Vietnam have a mutual or multilateral agreement on information exchanges, management, inspection, and supervision of their respective securities markets and activity carried out on those markets;
  • The organisation has recorded a profit for the last two years; and 
  • The organisation’s latest annual financial statement has been audited and has received unqualified opinions.

Organisations that do not meet these criteria can still invest in securities trading firms but, like individual investors, cannot own more than 49 percent.

This is outlined in Article 77 of the Law on Securities.

Outlook for Vietnam’s stock exchanges

Market status

The HoSE is considered a frontier market by the world’s two major market index providers: the United Kingdom’s Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) Russell and The United States’ Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI). These two index providers each have their own reasons for Vietnam’s status as a ‘frontier market’ as opposed to an ‘emerging market’.

Note that the HoSE meets the quantitative metrics of both firms. It is the qualitative metrics (listed below) that are holding the local bourse back.

FTSE Russell

There are two main criteria preventing the HoSE from meeting FTSE Russell emerging market status. These are:

  • Foreign traders currently need to prove they have the funds to pay for a share purchase before a trade can be completed; and, 
  • Foreign ownership limits are too excessive.

There is currently no clear plan as to how these two criteria might be tackled, however, the HoSE aims to meet FTSE Russel’s emerging market criteria in 2025. That said, it has been reported that Vietnam may allow HOSE brokers to vouch for foreign investors to get around the current proof-of-funds requirement (see: HoSE could see ‘frontier’ to ‘emerging’ upgrade by 2025). 

Of note, it’s estimated that an upgrade of the market could generate in the vicinity of US$10 billion in additional investment for Vietnam’s main stock exchange.

MSCI

Whereas the FTSE Russel has only a few criteria left for Vietnam to fulfil. MSCI had at least nine criteria in June of 2023 that remained unscored. These were:

  • foreign ownership limits; 
  • remaining room for foreign investment;
  • equal rights for foreign investors;
  • degree of freedom in the foreign exchange market; 
  • ease of registration and account opening;
  • market regulations;
  • information flows;
  • clearing; and
  • transferability.

Whereas Vietnam believes it can meet FTSE Russell’s requirements by the end of 2025, there does not appear to be a plan for tackling the remaining MSCI criteria and as such there is no apparent timeline.

Korean Stock Exchange (KRX) System

The HoSE is currently in the process of installing the Korean Stock Exchange system which should make trading on the exchange faster and easier and allow for more products (short-selling and options, for example) to be bought and sold. It was reported in August that this system should be operational by the end of 2023.

International integration

In April of 2021, Vietnam officially became a part of the Asian and Oceanian Stock Exchanges Federation. 

In September of 2023, the Vietnam Stock Exchange officially ascended to the World Federation of Exchanges.

What’s next?

Vietnam’s stock exchanges are still in a state of flux but they are headed toward becoming more developed and accessible for foreign traders. Effective and profitable trading, however, can best be achieved with the right up-to-date and relevant information. In this respect, investors looking to trade on the Ho Chi Minh Stock exchange should make sure to subscribe to the-shiv.

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See also: Vietnam’s Financial Sector: An Overview 2023

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