Last updated September 12th, 2018.
Thailand is one of the world’s most visited countries. In fact, its capital of Bangkok sees more tourists than any other city on the planet.
Because of this, Thailand is often people’s first experience with emerging Asia. Visitors notice more construction, workers on the move, and economic activity than they’ve probably ever seen in their entire lives.
This naturally makes them want to take part in the growth by investing in Thailand. Granted, we still think there’s better places to invest in Asia. But the nation’s appeal and accessibility is hard to deny.
One way to invest in Thailand is through purchasing real estate. We’ve already covered that route extensively in our ultimate guide. You’re probably here to learn how to buy stocks in Thailand, so read on.
Open a Thai Brokerage Account
The basics of buying stocks in Thailand are similar to almost anywhere else. As such, a brokerage account is the first thing you’ll need.
We strongly recommend setting up a local brokerage account in Thailand instead of using one based in another country. There’s two reasons for this.
First off, international brokers will rarely let you buy stocks in Thailand. An account based in the United States or Europe will usually let you trade on the top dozen or so stock exchanges.
Thailand’s isn’t one of them. You aren’t completely out of luck if you can’t open a local account though. A select few firms like Boom Securities in Hong Kong will let you trade Thai stocks.
But that brings us to our second reason: you’ll save a lot of money in brokerage fees by opening a local account. That’s true for buying stocks anywhere in the world, not just in Thailand.
International trades often mean high fees.
For example, Boom Securities will charge you a minimum of 1,500THB (~US$50) per trade. The same trades through a Thai brokerage account cost closer to 60THB (~$2).
Large commissions might be fine if you’re making large trades. However, A round trip transaction cost of US$100 is a deal-breaker for many people.
With all that said, you’ll probably need a long-term visa to open a brokerage account in Thailand.
Having just a 30-day tourist stamp won’t cut it. There’s a few exceptions and it does depend on the bank. I won’t ruin things by telling everyone where to go on a public article though.
Buying stocks in Thailand is much easier if you’re already a resident with a long-term visa. Head over to Bangkok Bank’s main office on Silom Road and open a Bualuang Securities account. They should walk you through the process.
Nonresidents have two options. First, you can deal with higher brokerage fees and open an account outside of Thailand. Second, you can buy mutual funds in Thailand with just a normal bank account rather than a separate brokerage account.
A few Thai banks will let you open an account with only a tourist visa. But you must open an actual trading account, which requires long-term residency, to buy ETFs and individual stocks.
If you prefer managed funds or simply aren’t a resident, Bangkok Bank also has one of the largest selections of mutual funds and ETFs in Thailand. Whether they’ll let you open an account as a tourist seems to depend on the branch and the employees.
Aberdeen Asset Management boasts Thailand’s best performing funds. Unfortunately, their policy only allows residents to open accounts.
Trade Stocks in Thailand
With the hard part out of the way, you’re now ready to start buying Thai stocks. We’re not going to cover specific trading strategies or recommendations. Regardless, a brief overview of what you can expect.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand has around 600 listed companies and is Southeast Asia’s second largest after Singapore’s.
As for the mechanics, you should feel comfortable trading in Thailand if you’ve ever traded elsewhere. Market orders, limit orders, stop loss orders, and other types of transactions which you’re probably familiar with in your home country are all supported.
The exchange is open between 10AM and 4:30PM with a lunch break from 12:30PM until 2PM.
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