Pushing the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) towards becoming a major player in Southeast Asia in the run-up to the Asean Economic Community (AEC) was cited as a major challenge by Kesara Manchusree, who was appointed by the board yesterday to fill Charamporn Jotikasthira’s shoes as the new president.
Ms Kesara, 53, won the race, in which SET executive vice-president Chanitr Charnchainarong and Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn, chief executive of Tisco Securities and chairman of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations, also reportedly joined, to become the 12th president of the SET and the third woman to take the helm.
To become the leading exchange in the region, the SET must attract newly listed companies and expand its financial products to keep the Thai bourse on foreign investors’ radar screens and raise its global profile.
However, the vying of stock exchanges not only in Asean but also across the world for new listed companies, particularly those with large market capitalisation, has intensified due to the dwindling number of non-listed companies qualified for listing status.
The SET’s ambitious goal initiated under Mr Charamporn’s reign in setting up a new trading board for companies in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) will provide the impetus for the Thai bourse to become a key regional player if the plan is materialised. The GMS comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and southern China.
Even though the planned GMS trading board’s establishment is in very early stages, it is likely to become a reality as most of these bourses are in the early phase of operations, with those in Cambodia and Laos having very few listed companies, so they need a more active trading channel to promote their stocks. Myanmar has no stock exchange yet.The special board will allow investors to track the high-growth subregion.
“Ms Kesara has insight into capital and derivatives markets. She has vision of pushing the SET towards sustainable growth in the global market. Moreover, with her long experience and firm understanding of the SET’s system, we believe she is capable of pushing the organisation forward,” the SET statement said. A source who wished to remain anonymous said Ms Kesara won the majority of votes by the SET board. All five board members nominated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and some members who represent brokers backed Ms Kesara, the source said.
The SET’s board comprises 11 members. Mr Charamporn abstained from yesterday’s vote. The source said Ms Kesara was named as the new president due to the fact that she has a political background, necessary skills and a successful performance record in setting up and operating the Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX), plus she can work well with other staff.
Under Ms Kesara’s reign at the TFEX, trading volume surged at a rapid clip to 16.7 million contracts last year from 199,000 contracts in 2006, when the derivatives exchange was inaugurated. Meanwhile, Thai Bond Market Association’s board appointed a new chairman and president, whose terms end in May. Former deputy Finance Minister Pisit Leeahtam will replace Bandid Nijathaworn as chairman, while Tada Phutthitada, an executive at the Public Debt Management Office, will succeed Niwat Kanjanaphoomin as president.