Vietnam is supposed to be opening its banking sector thanks to entry into the World Trade Organisation in January û but some bankers say this latest move isnÆt quite up to speed. ôWe thought they would increase the stake for an individual investor to 20% (from the current 10%), but they didnÆt,ö says one banker doing business in Ho Chi Minh City, adding that while banks would like to see their stakes increase, "this will clearly take more timeö.
Foreign banks with stakes in Vietnamese banks include ANZ, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Standard Chartered, and United Overseas Bank.
The decree, issued in an online statement on Saturday, says that Vietnam will permit the "stake of a strategic foreign investor to increase from 10% to 15% of the legal capital of a Vietnamese commercial bank".
It did not define who it considers a strategic investor.
The new regulation also doubles the registered capital requirement for a Vietnamese bank to 1 trillion dong ($62 million) if it wants to be qualified to sell shares to foreign investors. At the same time, it requires that foreign credit organisations have $20 billion for at least five years before they register to purchase Vietnamese bank shares.