New SET chief on mission to restore confidence in Thai stock market

MONDAY, MAY 27, 2024

Kitipong Urapeepattanaphong says swift law enforcement along with development of the sustainability market are key to revival.

Kitipong Urapeepattanaphong has outlined his challenges and targets after being elected as the 19th chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) last week. Kitipong replaces Pichai Chunhavajira, who resigned to take up the post of finance minister.

Kitipong said his urgent mission was to restore confidence in the Thai capital market after the SET suffered 68.9 billion baht of foreign outflows in the first quarter of this year.

The outflows continued a trend that saw the Thai bourse lose 15.2% of its value in 2023, becoming one of Asia’s worst-performing exchanges.

A legal expert, Kitipong said his first step in boosting investors’ trust would be to tackle fraudulent activities including stock manipulation and accounting irregularities. He vowed tighter coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and Attorney General, adding that swift law enforcement was crucial to boosting confidence in the SET.

"One urgent task is to seize assets promptly and expedite case investigations,” said Kitipong. 

He also pledged to focus on developing the securities market to keep pace with global capital market developments and digital technologies, while boosting the sustainability market through ESG (environmental, social, governance) funds and carbon credits. 

On small and medium-sized businesses, Kitipong said it was vital to find new opportunities for SMEs to raise funds. He pointed to difficulties SMEs experience in sourcing credit from financial institutions, resulting in missed opportunities for business growth. 

Kitipong said new products are being developed to make the Thai capital market more attractive and broaden the investor base. These include tax-deductible mutual funds; youth mutual funds, where

parents invest for their children; and mutual funds for the elderly.
Development of artificial intelligence (AI) mechanisms would also be expedited to promote fairness and develop market infrastructure, he said. AI will be used to check the balance sheets of registered companies with suspicious activity, alerting authorities to abnormal occurrences and also providing investors with decision-making data. 

Kitipong also envisions the creation of guides to the stock market for teaching at school and university levels. This initiative would boost knowledge and understanding of investment among students and provide younger generations with increased access to the stock market, he said.