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Thai Stock Exchange supports automated reports

According to a recent report, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) will initiate a dialogue with other capital market organisations this week.

It will also pursue ideas for boosting the number of analysts and increasing the overall quality of Thailand’s capital market.

In addition to helping to set up an academy that aims to nurture a new generation of analysts and increase stock coverage and generate a variety of reports that meet international standards, the SET will support automated reports delivered by an artificial intelligence (AI) tool.

The bourse also acknowledged the need for greater market research coverage as it would be useful for investors and issuers, according to the SET president.

Besides establishing an academy, automated reports provided by an AI tool as well as collaborations with other market participants, are also on the table. According to the SET president, all listed companies should have research coverage, be it from human analysts, AI tools or fintech apparatus.

The SET, Fetco and the Securities and Exchange Commission will meet this week to discuss a plan to support increased research coverage of several capital market products.

The analyst academy has been in the works for many years, the project is headed by Fetco. Varied analyst reports can help share prices move according to their fundamental value, rather than relying on technical analysis forecasting the direction of prices.

But price competition in the brokerage business has forced securities companies to cut operating cost, meaning fewer analyst reports and reduced headcount.

The SET handles trading of 2,478 securities, including preferred shares, warrants, derivative warrants, exchange-traded funds and the common shares of 759 companies listed on the SET and the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI).

Analyst reports, however, cover only 276 stocks, of which 243 are SET-listed companies and the rest trade on the MAI.

A lack of analysts contributes to existing low coverage: the number has declined to 280 from 340 a decade ago.

The MAI has attempted to remedy the issue for several years (for example, by providing funding to brokers to expand research coverage for small and medium-sized companies) to no avail.

Recently, the SET president initiated a “company snapshot”, a two-page summary report provided by a listed company to give investors information about non-covered companies on a voluntary basis.

Of the 154 MAI-listed companies, 114 have helped investors under the snapshot scheme, with 45 firms providing a snapshot in both Thai and English.

But the snapshot has no target price, recommendations or opinions from third-party analysts.

The SET is preparing a database as a machine-readable format, so that data can be used by either analysts or AI.

When asked whether a series of fintech applications is sufficient to serve investors’ needs, the bourse’s president stated that fintech has pros and cons.

Advantages include providing a variety of research topics with several sources and timely coverage information, along with diversity in terms of analytic angles.

Reliability and quality, however, are the main disadvantages of fintech applications.

The most commonly used tech in equity trading is AI; it is associated with trading programmes to help process activities that humans are able to perform but at reduced speeds. And, AI still needs human guidance to run.

Without data, AI cannot continue to ‘live’. Thus, the SET president noted the importance of creating and selecting good data for AI to learn. However, the issue is the lack of data analysis.

Around the world, robots are being employed in numerous industries, poised to replace some tasks performed by humans, including jobs in the financial realm.

However, the executive director of a major brokerage and trading services provider still believes humans can perform better than robots at certain tasks. He argues that FinTech and AI can help in terms of quantitative analysis, but they cannot walk and talk to clients and perform company visits.

The industry faces a shortage of analysts but there are limitations, including the need to have five years of experience to obtain a licence for media interviews, as well as job pressure stemming from investors’ profit expectations.

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