This morning was great because we got to sleep in! Our company visit was at 10, so we all got some well deserved rest. We visited VinaCapital today, one of the biggest asset management firms in Vietnam. A LOT of business terms were thrown at us today in the presentation, and I understood probably about 50% of it. So I’m going to do my best to summarize the presentation. They manage investments both domestic and international, and educate the citizens of Vietnam about handling their money. Basically, people give them money and they invest it in other companies or projects, and give return in capital back to their investors. They manage $1.8 billion dollars in capital! They trade on the London Stock Exchange and not in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City because they get a better value on that specific market. They originally traded on the London AIM market but switched over to the main market because certain businesses wouldn’t do trades on AIM. They aren’t sure how Brexit is going to affect their trading in London.
The economy in Vietnam is very regulated, as there are limitations on ownership of stock put forth by the government. For example, foreign ownership of companies is limited to 30%. There is a way to get around that rule and own 100%, but that comes with a lot of paperwork and extra effort so it’s pretty rare. VinaCapital invests mostly in real estate and infrastructure, but they’re a diversified company so they have their fingers in multiple pots. There is private ownership of stock in Vietnam, but it is rare because the government has so much power and control over the nation’s economy.
They also have VinaCapital Foundation, a non-profit organization part of VinaCapital that gives back to the community. They are really advocates for providing healthcare for children with congenital heart defects, but their mission is to provide education and health to the youth of Vietnam through scholarships and health clinics. It’s nice seeing a such a big company give back to the community, especially in a developing nation where health care isn’t readily available to everyone. One of the presenters told us that the average wage for workers was $135 a month, so VinaCapital makes such a big impact on families who can’t afford medical care. They’ve provided over 5,300 free surgeries for children with congenital heart defects. VinaCapital Group is the anchor donor to the foundation, so they donate a portion of the profits they make from the investment side of the company to the charity.
All in all, I learned a lot about investment managing today! Most of it flew over my head, but what stuck with me was really interesting. I plan to major in Finance, so today’s company visit really opened my eyes to all the opportunities I can have with this knowledge.