The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC) on Monday awarded a Fund Management Licence to locally-registered venture capital firm and fund manager OBOR Management Co Ltd.
The licence will enable OBOR Management to provide the Kingdom’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with funding that is regulated by the SECC and position it at the forefront of the start-up and innovation scene.
The SECC in June 2018 unveiled a series of new licences related to collective investment schemes (CISs), such as the Fund Management Licence, which enables individuals or entities to act as fund managers.
CISs are a type of business model that allow fund managers to mobilise capital from a group of investors and/or the public to invest in a specified project. Funds can be channelled into real estate, stocks, bonds, the agricultural sector, technology and other generally lower-risk projects.
These investment portfolios are managed by fund managers, and returns and profits are shared proportionally based on the amount of investment from each investor.
OBOR Management chairman Christophe Forsinetti said the company has invested in several Cambodian companies over the past 10 years.
He said: “Our investment strategies will thrive even more in a strongly regulated environment, as has been the experience of our management team in markets around the world.
“The licence will give investors confidence and allow us to mobilise significantly more investment to Cambodian SMEs.
“In addition, investment vehicles allowed under the licence will expand financing strategies for SMEs and start-ups beyond bank and microfinance institution [MFI] loans, while allowing local investors to diversify investments into new asset classes previously limited to real estate purchases and bank deposits.
“We are looking forward to establishing our first Cambodian SME fund.”
SECC director-general Sou Socheat said all licence applicants are carefully vetted and must show proof of solid capital, strong human resources, reliable digital infrastructure, a willingness to be transparent and a track record of scaling local businesses toward greater profitability and sustainability.
He said: “It’s great to see more companies working with the SECC and contributing to the establishment of a solid, regulated environment for investors and Cambodian companies.
“Cambodia has proven that it has a lot of potential, and with better regulation, we will now achieve scale.
“We will work closely with fund management companies such as OBOR Management to facilitate more investment in Cambodia.”
SECC has warned the public against unsanctioned CISs that promise high dividends and has asked victims of scams to file complaints with local authorities.
Socheat previously said that fund managers operate under the law and that all of their activities would be conducted under SECC supervision.
“To those with a little extra money and that don’t know where to invest, I recommend using fund management companies,” he said.