Burmese Govt Warns Public about Dodgy Investments

By Tha Lun Zaung Htet 18 October 2012

Certain domestic companies with foreign ties have been advertising themselves to the public as investment banks, however they do not have licenses to operate and therefore their activities are illegal,  Burma’s Ministry of Finance and Revenue (MFR) has warned.

Dr. Maung Maung Thein, the MFR deputy minister, did not mention by name the companies he was referring to, but said that they had been guilty of advertising via the media and the Internet to act as investment banks and had falsely claimed that they had government permission to conduct financial affairs in Burma.

“A couple of companies with foreign connections have been advertising in the media and stating that they have already obtained permits to conduct investment banking [in Burma],” he said. “There have also been reports that those companies have been sending out emails inviting the public to invest through them.

“No foreign institution has yet been given license to operate inside Burma. They are not even allowed to open offices in this country,” he said.

According to the Myanmar Monetary Organizations Law, anyone involved in financial activities without official permission shall be subject to a 50,000 kyat [US $60] fine, a five-year imprisonment or both.

The MFR deputy minister added that the general public must be wary of monetary organizations such as the cooperative credit societies which deceived people in the past and left behind many bitter memories.

“Some monetary and financial organizations can be very deceitful,” he continued. “They promise substantial interest and dividends to those who invest with them. Many people do. Then, the firms take all the money and run away.”

Thet Htun Oo, the senior manager at Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre, suggested that people should invest money or buy shares only after they have made proper inquiries, and be especially vigilant as to the background of the company they are dealing with.

According to Dr. Aung Ko Ko, a Burmese economist living inside Burma, the government’s monetary policy and the Central Bank’s monitoring of financial organizations are important for the economic development of Burma and the stability of the currency.