The Securities Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC) is actively seeking collaboration with relevant ministries and institutions to combat the illicit collection of public funds by unauthorised investors offering high returns. 

SERC director-general Sou Socheat told The Post on December 8 that numerous individuals have been deceived by unprofessional groups, which gather funds through social media platforms by promising higher returns. 

He noted that such activities contribute to unprofessional practices and adversely affect ordinary people, who sometimes borrow money for such schemes.

"We are collaborating with the Ministry of Justice and other pertinent institutions to combat these fund-collecting activities. We have already alerted the public to these scams via our social media platforms and have conducted workshops to raise awareness about them. We have undertaken extensive work in this area, but now it is essential to cooperate with other relevant institutions," Socheat said.

"Obviously, the issue extends beyond just SERC, as it pertains to various sectors. This is why we are seeking to expand our collaboration with other stakeholders, so we can issue a joint announcement. Currently, we are focusing on informing investors to be cautious about any [scam]," he added.

In July of 2023, the Non-Banking Financial Services Authority (NBFSA) issued a prakas that formally authorised the issuance of Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) fund units. 

Socheat described the formal CIS market as long overdue, reiterating that issuers must register projects with his agency. 

The CIS categories include public and private equity funds along with real estate investment trusts (REITs). He indicated that at least some projects will be eligible for listing on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) for trading.

"The market is a resource that can supply capital for any project with the potential to be successful and rewarding for individuals who purchase these fund units," he said.

CSX market operations director Kim Sopha Nita previously told The Post that CISs are a viable option for investors in the local bourse. 

"Despite the numerous challenges facing regional and global economies, I am optimistic that fund management firms will take an interest in launching CISs," she said.