How to Invest in Vietnam’s Stock Market

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Vietnam has been a target for many frontier market investors for a long time, especially as a proxy for an early development China. Both the equity and currency market have been very volatile, but Vietnam has been one of the best performing equity markets across the world this year.

Vietnam has also moved towards opening up its stock market and making them more foreigner friendly. The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange has planned to scrap foreign holding restrictions by the end of this year. The government is also in the midst of privatizing many state owned enterprises. English on brokerage and official government websites is available, but remains poor with a lot of Vietnamese only information making it hard for foreign investors to get information. However, it is a big step-up from even 5 years ago, so we took a look at how to invest in Vietnam’s stock market.

Market Information

Vietnam has two main stock exchanges: the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HSX).

Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE)

  • Largest stock exchange in Vietnam, and the main target for foreign investors
  • Established in 2000
  • Market capitalization of 1,183,525 bio VND (just under $56 bio USD) as of 17 July 2015
  • Total listed stocks: 305 (as of 17 July 2015)
  • Average monthly turnover, first 6 months of 2015: 34,660 bio VND (around $1.63bio USD) a month
  • Trading hours: 09:00 to 15:00 with a break from 11:30 to 13:00

Hanoi Stock Exchange (HSX)

  • Secondary stock exchange in Vietnam
  • Established in 2005
  • Market Capitalization of 145,366 bio VND (just under $7 bio USD) as of 17 July 2015
  • Total listed stocks: 361 (as of 17 July 2015)
  • Average monthly turnover, first 6 months of 2015: 11,520 bio VND (around $0.543 bio USD) a month
  • Trading hours: 09:00 to 15:00 with a break from 11:30 to 13:00 (same as HOSE)

There is also an Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) operated by the Hanoi Stock Exchange, which trades unlisted stocks and convertible bonds not listed on the two other exchanges.

How to Invest in Vietnam’s Stock Market

Foreigners are allowed to invest in both HOSE and HSX, although there remain more restrictions with HSX in terms of majority holdings. This should not come into play for retail investors though.

1. Find a Vietnamese Stock Brokerage Firm

Finding a brokerage firm is essential in order to navigate the forms and documents required to begin investing in Vietnam’s stock markets. With language barriers a big issue, it is usually safest to go with one of the bigger firms in Vietnam. This is a list of brokerage firms by market share on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, for all of 2014:

Code Member Mkt Share (%)
SSI Saigon Securities Incorporation 12.53
HSC Hochiminh City Securities Corporation 11.74
VCSC Viet Capital Securities Joint Stock Company 6.52
VNDS Vndirect Securities Corporation 5.81
ACBS ACB Securities Company Ltd. 5.6
MBS MB Securities Joint Stock Company 4.55
FPTS FPT Securities Joint Stock Company 4.19
BVSC Baoviet Securities Joint Stock Company 3.87
MBKE MayBank Kim Eng Securities Limited 3.75
VCBS Vietcombank Securities Company Ltd. 3.57

 

We recommend inquiring with one of the top 5 brokerage firms and going with the most responsive and English friendly out of those. From our personal look at those sites, Hochiminh City Securities and ACB Securities had the easiest to use websites, although Saigon Securities has been cited as foreigner friendly due to its size.

2. Open a Securities Brokerage Account

Once you have selected a brokerage firm, they will request a number of documents to be filled out:

  • Brokerage account opening form
  • Power of attorney
  • Application for Securities Trading Code (tied to step 4)
  • Copy of passport
  • Other supporting documents
  • For US Citizens, additional forms to comply with US Tax law and FATCA compliance purposes will be required

With this information they can open a stock brokerage account with their firm.

3. Open a Bank Account

The brokerage firm will also assist in opening a bank account to hold funds for settling transactions. Different brokerage firms will use different banks (eg. HSC uses BIDV Bank while ACBS uses their own ACB Bank). This will require filling out another form to open this bank account, but they can use supporting documents from Step 2.

4. Apply for a Securities Trading Code

With everything else completed, the brokerage will then apply to the Securities Depository Center for your authorized Securities Trading Code, basically an investor ID for Vietnam. This will require a notarized passport copy as well but you will have submitted this in Step 2.

5. Begin Trading

After completing these steps, just transfer funds to your account to begin trading. Good luck!

21 COMMENTS

  1. so they did drop their ridiculous requirement of criminal record or are they still asking for it ? I can’t find the “opening account ” link in SSI website anymore.

    • Hi Gaurav Singhal, to invest in Vietnam securities, you need to open an IICA bank account, apply for Securities Trading Code, and then open trading securities account. I work at Vndirect Securities Corporation. Pls email me then I can send you some docs for your references and support you to open those accounts. My email: huyen.lethu2@vndirect.com.vn

      • Hey Huyen Le,

        My name is Kevin Kimble I’m the managing member of Strategic Global Investments LLC I just sent you an email concerning opening a brokerage account so that I will be able to trade stocks in Vietnam. I’m from the United States, any assistance you can provide me in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi every one who find the way to invest in Vietnam Stock Market.
    I’m Hong. I am from Vietnam. I work as a investment broker at Viet Capital Securities. I can guide you how to invest in Vietnam Stock market.
    ———————–
    Let talk some point of View of Vietnam. Our country is a developing country. We ‘re back from many long wars. The economic has been opened since 1989. So our country, our Vietnamese had studied and worked hardly to follow the world. Every things are growth so fast. We learn English to communicate with the people whole the world. We learned many things from you. Thank you so much.
    Vietnam is beautiful country, if you had visited. And we really want to save and develop our country to be cleaner, fresher, and mỏre beautiful. And we need you – investor from whole the world. Come to us and help us, you’ll see your interest (of your VN investment budget) comes so fast.
    We are young, we want to build our country to be the great place for all people in the world can visit and live here for long time. I mean that.
    ————————–
    Let me guide you how to invest in Viet Nam Stock market.
    Step1: contact to me via email: Hong.nguyen@vcsc.com.vn (for more details)
    Step 2: Visit Vietnam to take the feeling about Vietnam. If you see our potential investment, you do the next step.
    Step 3: Open a bank account.
    Step 4: Open a Securities Trading Code and Securities trading account.
    –> Process will be complete. Don’t forget take the Passport -notarized copy.
    —————-
    I hope to be your partner if you are interested in Vietnam stock market and would like to invest in Vietnam stock market.
    If you have any questions please contact to my email: Hong.nguyen@vcsc.com.vn

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