The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SERC) last week formally rolled out an online program simultaneously allowing interested individuals to open investor accounts with the government agency and set up trading accounts with the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), according to CSX market operations director Kim Sopha Nita.

The program, said to be linked to the CSX’s current Investor ID registration platform, intends to promote more domestic and international investment in the Kingdom’s budding stock market, which, according to its CEO, aspires to bring the average daily trading volume from the current $0.3 million to over $100 million by 2030.

However, securities brokerage firms “that intend to use the online platform must apply for approval in advance to the SERC”, the regulator said in a statement.

The CSX’s Nita highlighted the program’s convenience, claiming that it and the associated systems set an example of the standards and procedures needed in the creation of such portals and ensuring clarity therein. “Investor confidence in our market will increase as a result,” she said.

She reiterated the CSX’s commitment to making things quicker and more convenient to instil investor confidence and increase the number of trading accounts with the local bourse.

Ten companies have issued shares on the CSX, eight of which are listed on the Main Board and the remaining two on the secondary Growth Board. The bourse expects at least one corporate bond offering in the second half of 2023.

CSX CEO Hong Sok Hour on June 27 reported that in May, 100,000 shares worth $300,000 exchanged hands each day on average, and that the number of trading accounts stands at "about 400,000".

Active investors totalled 6,000 in May, up from 5,000 a month earlier, according to Sok Hour. “This suggest that members of the general public are beginning to comprehend and balance their investments, particularly when it comes to raising passive income.

“In keeping with the government’s goal of having an ‘upper-middle income’ economy by 2030, we have big ambitions to boost the market and achieve an average daily trading volume of over $100 million by 2030,” he said.

For reference, the World Bank (WB) recognises Cambodia as a “lower-middle income” country – one rank below the “upper-middle income” designation – with gross national income (GNI) per capita of $1,700 for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) – the 12-month period ended June 30, 2022 – in nominal terms as calculated by the bank’s Atlas method.

In the current fiscal year 2024, group classifications are based on these calculations of FY22 GNI per capita, as follows: “low income” $1,135 or less; “lower-middle income” $1,136-4,465; “upper-middle income” $4,466-13,845; and “high income” $13,846 or more. The WB updates these thresholds each year on July 1.