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Regulations for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups in raising funds through capital market mechanisms are expected this quarter, says the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SEC secretary-general Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol said the effort to support SMEs and startups accessing funding resources in the capital market is in the public hearing process.

The fundraising regulations for the primary market should be announced during this quarter, said Ms Ruenvadee.

In the initial stage of fundraising for SMEs and startups, the SEC will limit the types of investors to minimise risks. Investors allowed to invest in public offering shares of SMEs and startups are expected to be private equity, venture capital, angel investors and experienced investors.

Once the primary market regulations for SMES and startups are rolled out, regulations for raising funds in the secondary market will follow, she said.

The SEC will also continue to support crowdfunding to bring investors and issuers together through a fundraising platform via digital technology mechanisms.

One of the main obstacles for SMEs to access capital market funds is complicated regulations, according to the SEC.

Based on data gathered by the SEC, the aggregated GDP of SMEs has expanded by an average of 4.2% per year.

In 2018, the combined business value of Thai SMEs was over 7 trillion baht, accounting for 43% of GDP and indicating the significance of these firms in furthering national development.

SMEs employ 14.0 million employees in various business segments in Thailand, making up 85% of the country's total workforce, the SEC said.

Yesterday the SEC held a seminar titled "SEC Fintech for SMEs and Startups" to foster engagement with investors and SME and startup market participants.

The event also provided business matching services to connect SMEs with investors and offered fintech solutions to resolve business-related problems and enhance work efficiency.

Market for Alternative Investment president Prapan Charoenprawatt said the Stock Exchange of Thailand is studying setting up a new exchange for SMEs and startups, starting with establishing an education platform to provide market information. Scaling up the platform is the second step, while the final step is launching a fundraising and trading platform, said Mr Prapan.

Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1867259/sec-readies-sme-funding-support-law