YSX companies free to decide level of foreign ownership

The Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) will allow listed companies to decide the number of shares available to foreigners, according to senior officers of YSX and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM).

“It is up to the listed companies to decide on the percentage of shares they want to sell to foreigners. Trading by foreigners will capped as soon as that percentage is fulfilled,” YSX senior executive manager U Thet Tun Oo told The Myanmar Times.

U Htay Choon, a member of the SECM, said the companies can decide on whether they want to be run as a Myanmar citizen-owned or foreign owned company.

Under the Myanmar Companies Law, foreign investors are allowed to a hold a maximum stake of 35 percent in Myanmar citizen-owned companies.

To trade on the YSX, resident foreigners must open a Myanmar kyat-denominated current account, namely a Resident Kyat Account for Securities (RKAS) account. Non-resident foreigners should open an RKAS account and a second current account denominated in foreign currency, namely the Non-Resident Kyat Account for Securities (N-KAS), they said.

Foreign traders must pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) test before they can open a trading account. Moreover, they have to adhere to Myanmar’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorism laws.

The entire process will be supervised by the Myanmar Financial Intelligent Unit and is part of efforts to combat money laundering and illegal cash.

“Foreigners will be able to start buying and selling stocks after completing the process. All the steps will be thoroughly checked, so it won’t be easy for them to complete the process in one day. Under normal circumstances, they will be allowed to buy and sell the shares within a week after opening the relevant accounts,” said U Htay Chun.

The SECM announced on March 6 that foreigners can open accounts to trade shares of YSX listed companies starting from March 20.

The YSC was first launched on December 9, 2015. There are currently six companies listed on the bourse.

Permitting foreign investors to get involved in the local stock market will help the country deepen its capital market, said U Theim Wai, chair of First Myanmar Investment Public Co – the first company to list on the YSX. – Translated

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Souce: Myanmar Times

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