IN THE bid to enhance its presence and links with its Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has sealed a memorandum of understanding with the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (Hose) last week.

The MOU was signed last Friday in Ho Chi Minh City by lawyer Francis Lim and Dr. Tan Dac Singh, president and chief executive officer of PSE and Hose, respectively.

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The chairmen of the two stock exchanges, Hans Sicat and Nguyen Doan Hung, witnessed the signing of the MOU.

"We have been watching the significant developments in Vietnam over the past few years and the role that Hose has been playing," Sicat said.

"Despite being a relatively new stock market in Asia, the tremendous growth of HOSE can only be admired. Hose has managed to capture the interest of investors locally and globally. As such, it is expected to become one of the more viable markets in Asia. The MOU signifies an important step in enhancing financial services co-operation between the Hose and PSE. This should enable both exchanges to capture emerging opportunities in Asia," he added.

In the agreement, PSE and Hose agreed to mutually collaborate and communicate information and experiences to facilitate the development and efficient operations of their securities markets.

"This MOU responds to the need for stronger global ties at a time of fragile global economies and vulnerable financial markets. It also provides a new opportunity for PSE and Hose to promote international cooperation to enhance both our securities markets," Lim said.

"We find more reasons to cement our partnership after HOSE has recently joined Asean bourses to establish cross border trading, a project which the PSE is deeply involved with. The entry of Hose to the Asean Exchanges alliance is a big step towards achieving capital market development in the Asean. With the recent accession of Hose, which is one of the fastest growing markets in Asia, the benefits that each exchange is hoping to reap from the Asean trading linkage have been truly enhanced," he added.

Lim also noted that "during our visit, Chairman Sicat and I were informed that HOSE has about 200 listed companies; US$ 100 million in average value turnover and; US$ 37 billion in market capitalization. Their brokers are veering away from floor trading and Hose will remove floor trading in about two years."

"More than 95 percent of their brokers do online trading. When first introduced, online trading significantly boosted their market's value turnover. Hose is definitely overtaking our more than 80-year-old Exchange. Hose has only been operational in less than 10 years, but its growth is exponential and enviable. There is political will on the part of both Government and Hose to change old ways and look at the bigger picture in the governance of the market. We can definitely learn much from them," he added.

The move is part of PSE's program to create a trading linkage among Asean countries that will allow investors to buy or sell Asean-listed securities through their local brokers.

Apart from Hose, PSE has existing MOU with Bursa Malaysia (BM), Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), Singapore Exchange (SGX), and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

Hose was the latest addition to the regional pact which aims to explore cross-border trading amongst Asean capital markets.

This Asean electronic link is expected to be launched this year, beginning with Bursa Malaysia and the Stock Exchange of Thailand, followed by the Singapore Exchange and the PSE.

The PSE also recently signed an MOU with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Euronext to establish a strategic alliance to jointly develop new exchange-traded products, explore new opportunities in trading system architecture and technology and enhance market participant connectivity and data management. (MSN/Sunnex)