Since the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) listed its first company, Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, in 2012, only four others have been listed. In response to the lack of interest, CSX launched its Growth Board in late 2015, aimed at making it easier for small and medium enterprises (SME) to list on the fledgling exchange. But this also failed to attract them.
Jong Weon-ha, the recently appointed chief operating officer (COO) at the CSX, became the third South Korean to occupy the position. The Post’s Hor Kimsay met with him to talk about his responsibilities and the outlook of Cambodia’s security markets.
Since beginning operations, the CSX has struggled to attract companies to list, with only five deciding to do so. What is your view about this progress?
The securities market in Cambodia is still at the early stages of growth, so it is normal that the market isn’t that active yet. Even developed securities markets in the region, such as the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) and the stock exchange in Vietnam, needed some time to grow before they became the active exchanges they are today.
Actually, we have great potential to grow. Cambodia’s economy is developing, but overseas investors do not realise this. Only a few big companies know this. Not many people know about the potential of this market. I will try to explain what is going on in Cambodia to individual and overseas investors.
What are some new strategies to make the market more active?
Spending more time to boost awareness of the market among young Cambodians should be a focus. I will try to share my knowledge and experience with young people and students. I will find the time to communicate with them and hope that they will develop a greater interest in the securities market.
We will try to attract more foreign investors too. And in the future, when more overseas investors like Koreans and Chinese enter the market, the exchange will see major changes. However, we should consider that local investors need to understand the advantages of the exchange and also invest in the market.
How long have you been working as COO at CSX? What are your major tasks?
I came here on April 7, and I am not sure yet how long I will work here. I hope that I will work here for a long time and make the market more active. In my position, I handle many tasks in managing the CSX’s operations. We have five departments here and I manage all of them.
What can you say about your working experience in the securities market or your contribution to the development of the market before joining the CSX?
I graduated in economics in 1992. Since then I have invested most of my time in securities-related work. I used to work for South Korean stock exchanges. Korean Composite Stock Price Indexes (KOSPI) is the exchange for bigger companies to be listed.
I also have experience at the Korean Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (KOSDAQ), which is another trading platform in South Korea, and the market for SMEs to be listed. Before 2014, KOSDAQ was quiet. There were only a small number of listed companies, and the trading volume was also very low. I am happy to say that I contributed to the development of KOSDAQ.
During my time there, I held discussions with many SME owners. I conducted many seminars and presentations. I tried to find investors in South Korea and overseas. Many things have since changed. Before 2014, less than 20 companies listed on KOSDAQ, but now there are more than 100.
Cambodia’s CSX also launched an exchange for SMEs to be listed, but until now not a single SME has done so. How will you help improve this situation?
I will use similar tried-and-tested methods as I used in South Korea. I will explain to investors about the importance of the Growth Board. I hope to show good results in the future, and am confident that more SMEs will list on CSX’s Growth Board.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.