For foreigners looking how to invest directly in the Vietnam stock market, the steps involved that you come across on your online searches can seem vague at times. Here I shall examine in more detail, a guide to the steps involved for foreigners to own stocks directly in Vietnam.
can i buy vietnamese stocks?
Before we get into the “how to” of investing directly in Vietnam stocks, let’s clear up the first important point, are we sure foreign investors are allowed to do this? You will be pleased to know that there are no major barriers in preventing the typical global investor to buy Vietnamese stocks directly. As long as you are clear about the amounts you are sending to the relevant Vietnam bank account to be used for securities purchases, foreign investment is welcomed and can also be remitted back to your own country when this is needed at a later date. Key steps, as you shall read further down, is first being approved for a securities trading code, and having an Indirect Investment Capital Account (IICA) set up.
Even my last blog post only briefly touched on the steps involved for foreigners to buy Vietnam stocks. That is because I wanted to first take a more general look at the options foreigners have in the Vietnam stock market. For those that want to also consider different ways of getting exposure aside from owning the stocks directly in Vietnam, you can checkout that blog post here HOW CAN FOREIGNERS INVEST IN THE VIETNAM STOCK MARKET? – A GUIDE TO ALL OPTIONS – VIETNAM STOCK MARKET (vietnamesestockmarket.com).
An important consideration in whether to own stocks directly in Vietnam is how comfortable you are with rules around global capital flows. For instance the CEFs trading on the LSE probably give many greater comfort on the ease of getting any sales proceeds back into cash in your home country’s bank account when selling.
For those foreigners that want more information on how to invest directly in the Vietnam stock market including setting up an account with a stockbroker in Vietnam, I shall recap the basic steps briefly again. Then I shall explore in a bit more detail what this involves.
HERE ARE THE 5 STEPS FOR FOREIGNERS TO INVEST DIRECTLY IN THE VIETNAM STOCK MARKET
- Find a stockbroker in Vietnam to get the account opening forms / procedures.
- Photocopy of passport notarised / legalised at embassy and letter of good standing. Power of Attorney and FATCA compliance for US citizens where applicable.
- Apply for a securities trading code with the Vietnam Securities Depository Centre (VSD), which is the central body that regulates the buying and selling of securities.
- Open a foreign indirect investment capital account at bank will be required for settling share transactions in VND. Another bank account will be opened for where you transfer your initial investment money into Vietnam from your home country.
- Sign agreement with broker, authorisation letter for potentially transferring money from the stock account to back to your home country.
How to find a stockbroker in Vietnam
To get the account opening forms / procedures etc. There are many different stockbroker choices in Vietnam and one can search online. In most cases it is relatively simple to navigate to the account opening sections of their sites in English. This will give you a good perspective on the number of forms and their questions. It is important to make sure you are looking for the forms that relate to foreign individuals as they will be quite different to what details locals are required to give.
Below is a list of some prominent names in stockbroking in Vietnam.
These may well be the top 10 stockbrokers in Vietnam.
List of Vietnam stockbrokers
- Saigon Securities Incorporation
- Hochiminh City Securities Incorporation
- Viet Capital Securities Joint Stock Company
- Vndirect Securities Corporation
- MB Securities Joint Stock Company
- Saigon-Hanoi Securities Joint Stock Company
- ACB Securities Company Ltd
- FPT Securities Joint Stock Company
- BIDV Joint Stock Company
- VPBANK SECURITIES
Photocopy of passport notarised
Then also legalised at embassy and letter of good standing. Power of Attorney and FATCA compliance for US citizens where applicable. Stockbrokers will guide you with requirements in regard to this. The notarisation / legalisation process whilst not difficult, must follow strict instructions as to what is accepted, so it pays to have attention to detail and keep your patience.
The notarisation takes place in your home country and the documents can be legalised by the relevant Vietnam embassy or consulate there. If these are in languages aside from English, they need to be translated to Vietnamese and such translation must be done by certain approved translation services in Vietnam.
How to apply for a securities trading code in Vietnam
This is applied for with the Vietnam Securities Depository Centre (VSD), which is the central body that regulates the buying and selling of securities.
The stockbroker who has arrangements for the custody aspects of your holdings will apply on behalf of you the investor. The Vietnam Securities Depository Centre will issue electronic confirmation of securities trading codes to foreign investors. This is usually within a day and within 10 days there will be a certificate of the trading code issued.
Once this step of the securities trading code is established it paves the way for the rest of the account opening steps to be executed.
How to open a foreign indirect investment capital account in Vietnam
This is done at a bank that will be required for settling share transactions in VND. This must be done with an appropriately listed authorised bank (commercial bank or branch of foreign bank licensed for FX trading and FX services). This is known as an Indirect Investment Capital Account (IICA).
Another bank account will be opened for where you transfer your initial investment money into Vietnam from your home country. You can expect the stockbroker to suggest certain banks for you to deal with. Such banks will have specialised relationships in regard to Vietnam Securities Depository and custodial services for foreign investors. Amongst the common bank suggestions to expect for this purpose would include BIDV, Citibank, HSBC, Shinhan Bank. Most common foreign currency cash account is in USD.
Sign agreement with broker
This will cover an authorisation letter for potentially transferring money from the stock account to back to your home country. To get through this step and basically consider your stockbroking account open and ready to trade, will require all the steps just described fully completed. That is the broker will need your legalised passport details, proof of securities trading code, bank accounts to use details and all the stockbroking account opening forms filled out.
CAN FOREGINERS BUY STOCK IN VIETNAM?
As I outlined above, this is certainly possible by following the 5 key steps explained earlier. Some stocks may have limits of foreign ownership on them, but that is something that usually only really large investors have to worry about. Like with most things to do with opening new banking / broking accounts these days in the 2020s, one just needs a bit of patience dealing with the form filling etc and be an individual of good standing.
For full disclosure I should point out that at the time of writing I do not own any Vietnam stocks directly. I do however look forward to being “on the ground” in Vietnam in 2022 (yes maybe I am an optimist in regard to international travel opening up!) My intention is to go through these procedures with Vietnam stockbrokers, so if you wish to follow my journey on how I go with the various stockbrokers please subscribe to be alerted of future blog posts of mine. It will also explore which Vietnam stocks might pop up on my radar to potentially own directly.
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