The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint envisions a region with interlinked capital markets that facilitate greater trade and investment flows. A deeper and more liquid capital market helps channel funds to where it is needed, expands the investment choices for savers, provides more fundraising alternatives to firms, and strengthens the economy’s capacity to withstand shocks to stability. Towards this end, ASEAN Member States (AMS) are building the infrastructure for the development of capital markets.
For capital market integration to be achieved, some consistency in standards and better connectivity of infrastructure need to be in place. Significant headway has been made by ASEAN in these areas. The ASEAN Disclosure Standards have enabled issuers to adopt a single set of disclosure standards for prospectuses when offering equity and plain debt securities in multiple participating AMS. The Framework for the ASEAN Common Prospectus synchronises the review of offer/listing applications and the registration of prospectuses. For secondary listings of corporations in the participating AMS, the Expedited Review Framework for Secondary Listings reduces the review time for such applications from approximately 16 weeks to 35 business days through the. The ASEAN Framework for Cross-border Offering of Collective Investment Schemes (CIS, or more popularly known as mutual funds) speeds up the process of authorising CIS managers to offer these products to retail investors in the participating AMS. The ASEAN Trading Link, which was launched by the ASEAN Exchanges in 2012, currently electronically links the stock exchanges of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The ASEAN Capital Markets Infrastructure Blueprint was developed to intensify the connectivity of the region’s capital markets. These and other initiatives streamline and reduce the costs of cross-border trade of financial instruments, thereby fostering savings and investment in ASEAN.
In furthering the growth of bond markets, AMS are guided by the ASEAN Bond Market Development Scorecard, among other tools. The Scorecard contains indicators measuring the state of bond market development, openness and liquidity, and provides benchmarks/targets that AMS can use in prioritising measures to address existing gaps.