Q&A with Dr Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, SET

Published by: The WFE Focus Team Sep 2018

Dr Pakorn took the position of President of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) on 1 June 2018, becoming the 13th SET President.

Dr Pakorn, you’ve been in the role since 1 June. Please tell us about your first 100 days.

Having been with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) for the past eight years, I have witnessed continuous developments in many dimensions. Our long-term planning and effective execution have placed SET as one of the leading capital markets in Asia in a number of quantitative and qualitative measures, including average daily trading value, the amount of capital raised through initial public offering, and the number of companies included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. In addition, with the ongoing effort to cultivate local investors, the number of investors has doubled over the past five years.

To build on those achievements, my team and I are working on our plan for the exchange in a time of rapid changes in the capital markets.  Technology will definitely drive the evolution of both business model and infrastructure.  It was clear to me that technology could be both a disruptor to our business as well as a set of tools to innovate our products and services.

Please could you tell us more about how you plan to put digital at the heart of SET’s strategic agenda? 

We are building and integrating digital solutions through four key agendas to accelerate digital transformation. 

Firstly, we will digitise the ‘processes’ from end-to-end for all stakeholders: investor experience will be enhanced, listing and disclosure will be paperless, duplicate work will be eliminated, and SET will deploy digital technology to improve our market supervision and risk management capabilities.

Secondly, we will transform our ‘infrastructure’ into an open platform to facilitate system interoperability and to make it more accessible.  This will create opportunities for us to partner with incumbents and innovators to offer innovative products and services. We hope that, with this open architecture, the currently underserved and specialised segments will be able to access improved capital market services through technological development.

Thirdly, we are further developing our data strategy to facilitate the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create investment ‘services and tools’. Investors and intermediaries will leverage on this data to build better investment tools.

Lastly, we are exploring building a ‘digital asset’ platform that gives startups and SMEs to opportunity to fund their innovation projects, and investors access to alternative investments. Innovations will support the growth of the real economy, transforming Thailand into a value-based economy.

And can you share any more detail about your strategic vision for the exchange?

We have laid out four key integrated agendas to lead SET going forward.

Firstly, SET aims to be a catalyst to ‘transform’ the capital market especially in response to technology evolution.  Specifically, we are currently expanding our business to operate critical shared infrastructures for the entire capital market that address the common needs of our participants to achieve economy of scale.

Secondly, we will continue to ‘strengthen’ professionals so that they are able to cope with customers’ needs in a more complex business environment.  We plan to grow and recruit digital talent to build the investment solutions enabled by technology. In addition, regulatory reform will take place to remove unnecessary regulations and duplicate work to increase the ease of doing business.

Thirdly, we will ‘enhance’ our positioning in the global capital market by reaffirming the country and the capital market’s competitiveness. We will leverage our strengths, ranging from having many listed companies going global, to those who are registering consistently strong performance with high growth prospects - especially in the well-being businesses, including tourism, hospitality, health care and infrastructure development. SET is well connected with the country’s real economy and also offers exposure to economic growth outside Thailand, through our Thai companies that have expanded abroad. 

My mission is to make the Thai capital market a better fundraising venue for much-needed infrastructure projects in the region, and as a bridge that connects investors worldwide to the wide ranging opportunities in Thailand and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).

Lastly, and most importantly, we are committed to ‘growing’ the capital market towards sustainable growth. We will continue to invest significantly in the long-term development of our stakeholders. We have done this for many years and the outcomes are clearly positive. In addition, we will contribute to the country’s sustainable economic growth by building a conducive ecosystem to facilitate the growth of SMEs and start-ups so that they will have an alternative funding source to leapfrog their growth.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

An ex-chairman of our exchange, Professor Sangvian Indaravijaya, used to say that “Right is always right even when no one does it. Wrong is always wrong even when everyone does it.”

I believe that honesty, integrity and fairness are a must for sustainable success. These qualities can create exceptional values, trust, customers’ confidence and ensure sustainable growth for individuals and organisations.