Interview with Kesara Manchusree, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

By: The WFE Focus Team Oct 2017

We are delighted to feature an interview with Kesara Manchusree, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), following the recent WFE General Assembly & Annual Meeting in Bangkok.

SET recently hosted the 57th WFE General Assembly & Annual Meeting in Bangkok. Please tell us about the importance of this annual forum to the global market infrastructure industry, and in particular, how it impacted the Thai market?

SET was honoured to host the WFE General Assembly and Annual Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, for the second time, followed our first hosting in Bangkok 18 years ago in 1999. We hope that WFE members could experience and explore the growth opportunities as fast-growing businesses are now centred among emerging-market exchanges in this part of Asia. This also emphasises the WFE vision in broadening the diversity and role of its members from mature to growing markets. The forum also helped facilitate our growing Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) neighbours to network with international peers.

Hosting the WFE forum was a chance to share the growth stories of emerging economies in this part of Asia to the world, and to collaborate with all our neighbouring exchanges on knowledge and capacity building as well as promoting business opportunities for our region’s capital markets.

SET has an important three-part strategy: promote corporate governance; improve fundraising channels for SMEs; and encourage long-term savings. Could you tell us more about each of these three strands?

SET’s vision is to make capital market work for everyone. Thus, we aim to enhance both economic and social values for the progress of Thailand’s economy and beyond. Indeed, over the past 42 years of establishment, our exchange firmly believes that the non-financial aspect is just as important as the financial aspect. We would like to share you the details of our important strategy in three-parts:

The first part is to promote corporate governance (CG) & sustainability with innovation. Our exchange has been one of the major supporters in raising the corporate governance quality for businesses in Thailand, as we truly believe in CG as a good foundation for sustainable growth. SET has been promoting CG among listed companies for over two decades by benchmarking with best practice in the international levels. To grow stronger with stability, SET focuses not only on market value, but also on quality and innovation. SET is the first exchange in ASEAN to join the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative as we believe that stock exchanges have a central role to play as ‘sustainability champions’.

The second part is to improve fundraising channels for SMEs. One of our priorities is to cultivate SMEs, start-ups and social enterprises. We will set up an enterprise learning centre, underlining SET's key strategic plan to support these entrepreneurs in becoming the country's economic drivers. Focusing on SMEs, SET encourages listed firms to support SMEs involved in their supply chains. SET also enhances knowledge for the firms to operate successfully and sustainably.

For start-ups, SET's latest platform ‘LIVE’ was launched as the first trading market place for start-ups in Thailand to create a complete start-up ecosystem. The 'LIVE' platform has been developed to give start-up entrepreneurs access to working capital via fundraising and boost trading liquidity, while strengthening business growth. In 2016, SET initiated ‘SET Social’, an online platform for collaborative synergy for social enterprises, becoming a hub to exchange resources, knowledge and experiences on how to run a sustainable business, as such contributing a positive social impact in the long run.

The last important part is to encourage long term saving. The SET group’s core business also embraces financial literacy development via our education arm, Thailand Securities Institute (TSI), which promotes financial literacy to all levels: professionals, investors and entrepreneurs to deeply understanding savings, personal finance and investment. TSI’s strategies are to customise learning activities to match target groups through training courses, workshops, conferences or forums, knowledge centres, award-winning projects, and publications including online and offline programmes for all walks of life.

‘INVESTORY’, the first investment discovery museum in Thailand, is part of our efforts to promote financial literacy. It was built with the concept ‘Inspire to invest’, to motivate the audience to realise the importance of financial planning and investment through the self-directed learning activities via interactive tools and various cutting-edge multimedia.

What’s your long-term vision for the exchange?

As the stock exchange is one of the main pillars for capital formation in economic development, my intention is to create an ecosystem of the capital markets focused on sustainable growth with innovation. To emphasise SET’s vision - “to make capital market work for everyone” - SET focuses on supporting quality listed companies to meet international criteria; expanding investor coverage in both retail and institutional levels; and deepening the market with varieties of products and efficient services with world-class standards for all types of investors and stakeholders.

Moreover, one of the key ingredients to drive the above vision is our employees’ competency and efficiency. Thus, we focus on equipping them with in-depth knowledge, and also making them ready to adapt to rapidly global market change.