The BAMC Asia Equity Fund (BAEF) has been officially launched, becoming Cambodia’s first retail fund that allows public investors to diversify their investments across various sectors, both locally and internationally. The move introduces a new unit with an investment of $200 million, established on November 14.

Banjaran Asset Management (Cambodia) Plc (BAMC) has recently obtained approval from the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC) to launch the initiative. The unit trust fund invests in a diversified portfolio of companies listed on major stock exchanges across the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan. 

According to a November 15 press release, the trust aims to provide investment benefits in Asia, a region widely regarded by economists as the leading area for growth in the forthcoming years.

Established in 2022, BAMC holds a fund management licence issued by SERC. It is structured to establish and manage public capital pools as part of a collective investment scheme (CIS). BAMC is a joint venture, combining the expertise of Banjaran Holdings Pte Ltd from Singapore, Best Magnet Capital Co Ltd and Primo Plus Co Ltd, as per the press release.

Chan Theany, chairwoman of BAMC, stated that with a wealth of expertise in fund management, BAEF will play a significant role in assisting traders to diversify their investments.

“We are happy to be the first fund management company in Cambodia to successfully launch a SERC-approved public collective investment fund. In the process of obtaining the various licenses and approvals, we have trained a team of local Cambodians to take on various roles in the areas of asset management,” she said.

“For the launch of BAEF, we have brought in international fund management expertise and its best governance practices. We hope this will set a high standard for the asset management industry going forward,” she added.

Sou Socheat, director-general of SERC, stated that BAMC was licensed by SERC in March as a fund manager and distributor, and for fund repurchases or repayments, making it the first entity to receive such a license

He noted that as of November, the capital market has a total of 20 companies listed on the CSX. This includes 11 companies that have issued securities, with nine on the Main Board and two on the Growth Board and nine companies that have listed bonds. Additionally, other companies are preparing and in the process of applying to issue securities.

"These two products [securities and bonds] are not yet sufficient for the development of the capital market. Therefore, to promote trading activities, meet market needs and enhance the diversity of investment options, launching new products that align with the actual context of both regional and global securities markets is a necessary factor in the development of the securities market in Cambodia," he said.

According to Socheat, the SERC has introduced another financial instrument, named the Fund of Collective Investment Scheme. This was officially implemented through the Prakas on the Issuance of Fund Units of CIS, which took effect on July 20.

"The issuance of fund units of investment projects enables managers to establish a project to gather capital from financiers for investing in specific projects aimed at generating profit. Subsequently, the manager will allocate the profits or benefits back to the financier holding the fund unit, in accordance with the terms of the joint venture contract," he explained.

"The CIS plays a crucial role in supporting equity and bond markets by facilitating investments from fund management companies in products within those markets," he added.

He noted that BAMC also intends to allocate 10% of the raised capital for investment in securities listed on the CSX, in addition to investing in fixed deposits at Cambodian financial institutions and monetary market funds within the Kingdom.