Burma

SECM Warns Against Illegal Trade as Stock Exchange Readies for Business

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 13 January 2016

RANGOON — The Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) issued a warning on Wednesday against illegal trading through unofficial channels.

An announcement published in state-run daily The Global New Light of Myanmar cautioned that action will be taken against those caught selling stocks through illegal or “non-transparent means,” including over social media sites.

The Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) launched in December with six listed companies, but shares are not yet for sale. Trading is expected to begin in March, pending settlement of outstanding issues with the bourse’s underwriters.

A number of unsanctioned trading outlets, particularly on the social media site Facebook, have cropped up in anticipation of the full opening, some presenting themselves as official channels linked to the exchange.

“If the government does not take action and give a warning, illegal trading will interfere with the market and people will be harmed by that,” said Thet Htun Oo, director of the Myanmar Securities Exchange Center, which is one of about 10 underwriting firms licensed by the government.

“If people want to buy or sell shares, they will have to go directly to securities companies such as MSEC and KBZ,” he said.

When YSX officially begins trade in March, shares will become available for First Myanmar Investment (FMI); Myanmar Citizens Bank; Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Limited; Myanmar Agribusiness Public Company Limited [Mapco]; First Private Bank; and Great Hor Kham, according to Maung Maung Thein, deputy finance minister.

The stock exchange—developed by the state-owned and US-blacklisted Myanmar Economic Bank with two Japanese partners—is expected to be a major advancement in Burma’s financial field, offering a greater degree of stability to what has long been a poorly regulated and volatile investment landscape.

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