Today’s schedule was a flipped around with a site visit in the morning and class in the afternoon. We visited Vinacapital, one of the largest asset management groups in Vietnam. Fun Fact: a lot of brands begin with the prefix “Vina” i.e. Vinamilk, Vinataxi, Vinaoptical, and I did at one point believe that Vinacapital owned all of these brands and was some kind of megacorporation. Actually, the prefix actually comes from the name Vietnam, and the government actually no longer allows businesses to use that prefix. Vinacapital works to invest for their clients in diverse industries. They are traded on the main London Stock Exchange, as opposed to the stock market in Vietnam for a better valuation as well as to attract investors.
Working in asset management can be difficult in Vietnam, as the government restricts how much foreigners can have ownership in companies. Vinacapital is attempting to work with the government to change some of the restrictions on foreign ownership. Another difficulty about working in Vietnam is attempting to encourage individuals to invest and save. In Vietnam, many people don’t have bank accounts and use cash for everything including buying a house. Vinacapital is attempting to educate the public and encourage them to save by allowing them to invest as little as $5 USD.
An interesting part of Vinacapital is their charity The Vinacapital foundation. The Vinacapital Foundation is an organization related to the company that helps to raise money for health and education programs for children. They fundraise both within and outside of the company.
After the company visit we resumed our normal class schedule. In Vietnamese language class we learned numbers and how to barter, which will be helpful when we visit the Ben Tanh market tomorrow. I’m excited to practice my skills and get some good deals!