How-To: Invest in Cambodia

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Upon hearing about Cambodia’s first IPO, we have had many people ask us how they can get into the market. In response, we have compiled this guide to aid people in opening their own Cambodian investment account in in order to participate in the local stock market.

Step 1: Selecting a Brokerage Firm

The first step is to select a brokerage firm in Cambodia from the list of licensed firms on the SECC website found here. As of April 2012, there are seven designated “Securities Underwriters” and four three “Securities Brokers” approved by the SECC to engage in securities brokerage activity.  Many of them are Cambodian subsidiaries of financial companies in Asia, and we have identified the parent company and home countries of each here:

  • Tong Yang Securities (Cambodia) Plc. – Tong Yang Securities Inc. (Korea)
  • OSK Indochina Securities Limited – OSK Group (Malaysia)
  • Cana Securities Ltd. – (Cambodia)
  • Campu Securities Plc. – Cambodian Public Bank, owned by Public Bank Group (Malaysia)
  • Cambodia-Vietnam Securities Plc. – joint venture between Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia (BIDC) and Vietnam (BIDV)
  • SBI Royal Securities Plc. – SBI Holdings (Japan) & Royal Group (Cambodia)
  • Phnom Penh Securities Plc. – (Cambodia, but expertise from Taiwan)
  • Acleda Securities Plc. – ACLEDA Bank Plc. (Cambodia)
  • Cambodian Capital Securities Co. – Royal Group, acquired by SBI and merged into SBI Royal
  • Sonatra Securities Plc. – (Cambodia)
  • CAB Securities Ltd. – Cambodia Asia Bank Ltd. (Cambodia)

As a foreign investor we looked for the following:

  • Working website: usually taken for granted, many of the firms did not have websites for just their brokerage business, but we linked to the websites that did
  • Foreigner friendly: website and contact details in English were a must
  • Foreign bank account friendly: some of the firms that are subsidiaries of local banks cater only to those with Cambodian/KHR bank accounts, and sometimes only with their parent bank
  • Foreign expertise: we looked for firms that had experience in brokering. Given that the CSX just opened, this meant experience operating in foreign markets
  • Market information and research

Step 2: Obtain an Investor ID from the SECC

Every investor needs to register with the regulatory body, the SECC, in order to participate in the securities market. For foreign investors unable to go to Cambodia in person, this will require mailing your broker the following:

  1. A completed Investor ID application form (Form A for Individuals, Form B for Institutions). Brokerage firms should have a copy to send, or it can currently be found here
  2. The Investor ID processing fee of 20,000 KHR (or $5 USD)
  3. A passport photo for the form (4 x 6)
  4. Copy of your passport with signature and right thumb print to confirm identity

The forms should take at most 5 days to process by the SECC, but if submitting forms during extremely busy periods (such as days before an IPO), there could be delays.

Step 3: Open a Securities Trading Account with the Brokerage Firm

This step should be done concurrently with Step 2 in order to speed up the process and save on postage fees. While the process may differ depending on the firm, you will need to mail your broker the following:

  1. Completed trading account application form
  2. A standardized curriculum vitae (this will be part of the application and your broker should have a copy of this form as it will also be used when subscribing to IPOs)
  3. Bank statement and full bank details to facilitate bank transfers
  4. Another passport photo
  5. Another copy of your passport with signature and right thumb print to confirm identity

We recommend keeping electronic copies of all documents for personal records. After everything has been submitted and confirmed, investment capital can be wired in (using USD) and the account should be ready. Happy Investing!

Questions? Observations from personal experience? Please drop us an e-mail or leave a comment below!

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