Last updated May 8th, 2022.

 

Thailand is one of the world’s most visited countries. In fact, during a typical year, 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 might have seen in their entire lives.

This naturally makes them want to take part in the growth by investing in Thailand. Granted, I still think there are better places to invest in Asia. But the country’s appeal and accessibility is hard to deny.

One way to invest in Thailand is through purchasing real estate. We already covered that route extensively in our ultimate guide.

You’re probably here to learn how to buy stocks in Thailand though, so read onward!

 

Step 1: Open a Thai Brokerage Account

The very basics of buying stocks in Thailand are similar to anywhere else in the world. 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 are two good reasons for this.

First, international brokers will rarely let you buy stocks in Thailand. Firms based in the United States or Europe will usually let you trade on only the world’s top dozen or so stock exchanges. Thailand’s isn’t one of those.

But you aren’t completely out of luck if you cannot get a local account. A select few brokers like Boom Securities in Hong Kong will let you trade Thai stocks.

This brings us to our second reason: you’ll save a lot of money in brokerage fees by opening a local account. It’s something that’s true when purchasing foreign stocks anywhere in the world, not just in Thailand.

 

International trades often equal high fees. You can save money by using a brokerage based in the country you’re buying stocks in.

 

For example, Boom Securities will charge you a minimum of 1,500THB (~US$50) per trade. The same commission costs closer to 60THB (~$2) through a Thai brokerage account.

Large commissions might be fine if you’re making sizable trades. Otherwise, round trip transaction costs of US$100 are a deal-breaker for many people.

With all that said, you will probably need a long-term visa to open a stock brokerage account in Thailand.

Having a 30-day tourist stamp won’t cut it. There are several exceptions and it does depend on the specific bank. Yet I won’t ruin things by telling everyone where to go on a public article.

Buying stocks in Thailand is far easier if you’re already a resident with a long-term visa. Just go to Bangkok Bank’s head office on Silom Road and open a Bualuang Securities account. They’ll walk you through the process.

Nonresidents have two main options. First, you can deal with higher brokerage fees and open an account outside of Thailand. Second, you can buy mutual funds in Thailand using a normal bank account rather than a separate brokerage account.

A few Thai banks will let foreigners open a bank account with a tourist visa. But you must open an actual trading account, which requires long-term residency, in order to buy individual stocks and ETFs.

If you prefer managed funds or simply aren’t a resident, Bangkok Bank also boasts the largest selection of mutual funds and ETFs in Thailand. Whether they will let you open a bank account as a tourist seems to depend on the branch and the employees.

Aberdeen Asset Management enjoys some of Thailand’s best performing funds. Unfortunately, their current policy doesn’t allow non-resident foreigners to open accounts.

Besides that, Kasikornbank and SCB are solid banking options. The former is generally easier to open an account with as a foreigner compared to the latter.

 

Step 2: Trade Stocks in Thailand

With the hard part out of the way, you’re now ready to start buying Thai stocks with your new, shiny brokerage account.

We won’t cover trading strategies or recommendations here. This article is about setting yourself up with a brokerage in Thailand more than specific investment advice or the best stocks to buy in Thailand.

Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect though: the Stock Exchange of Thailand has about 600 listed companies. In fact, it’s Southeast Asia’s second biggest in terms of market capitalization after Singapore’s.

The SET’s current market cap is about US$600 billion – not a small equity exchange by any means.

A few of the biggest public companies in Thailand include PTT, Airports of Thailand, and Siam Cement, each of which is worth between US$15 billion and US$30 billion.

Concerning the exact mechanics of the stock exchange, you should feel comfortable trading stocks in Thailand if you’ve traded anywhere else in the world.

Market orders, limit orders, stop loss orders, and other types of transactions that you’re likely familiar with in your home country are all supported in Thailand.

The stock exchange is open between 10AM and 4:30PM with a generous lunch break from 12:30PM until 2:30PM.

 

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About Reid Kirchenbauer

Reid Kirchenbauer is the Founder of InvestAsian. He's an international stock trader and property investor based in Southeast Asia. Reid manages the world's first frontier market real estate fund and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Property Report, South China Morning Post, and Seeking Alpha. You can learn more about him here.

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