The Origins of Viet Nam’s Stock Market

Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia – Hanoi Stock Exchange The HSE is located across the street from the ironic Opera House and right around the corner from my old office.

Sometimes, I feel a little like Forrest Gump. Maybe it’s because I’ve been around so long. In another incarnation, I helped organize two study tour programs for Vietnamese business leaders in 1996 and 1997. They were the by-products of a summer 1996 study abroad program in Viet Nam that I helped organize for US students, possibly the first of its kind in the post-war era. (Here’s a link to a University at Buffalo article about the first program in 1996.) It was the second one a year later that included a VIP visit to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Some of the participants mentioned that they were planning to create a stock exchange (chứng khoán) in Viet Nam. The purpose of the visit to the NYSE was to see how it was done in the US. One of my memories from our discussion was of how much money one could make from buying and selling stocks – with a nod and a wink – referring, of course, to the use of insider information. That gave me additional insights into doing business in Viet Nam.

As it turned out, the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange was established in 2000 and the Hanoi Stock Exchange was launched five years later. After 2005, trading on the stock exchanges became one of the ways to make boatloads of money – fast. While these opportunities quickly shifted to the real estate market, the stock market remains a potentially profitable way to invest. In June, Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index had surged 34.51% in the first half of the year, the highest increase in the world.

Investing in Vietnamese stocks has also become popular among foreign investors as evidenced by this 27 July 2021 headline, VN-Index climbs as foreign investors net purchase.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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