On 3 March 2015, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the “MAS”) and Singapore Exchange Limited (the “SGX”) jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Securities Commission Malaysia and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand to establish a Streamlined Review Framework for the ASEAN Common Prospectus (the “Framework”). The Framework, which is an initiative under the ASEAN Capital Market Forum (“ACMF”) Implementation Plan endorsed by the ASEAN Finance Ministers, will facilitate cross-border offerings of equity securities and plain debt securities in ASEAN and represents another step towards regional capital markets integration.
The Framework streamlines the review process for a prospectus (which must be prepared in accordance with the ASEAN Disclosure Standards) for a multi-jurisdiction offering of equity securities or plain debt securities, and requires both the Home and Host Authorities to complete the review process at the same time, within three to four months from the date of submission. In this way, the time taken for the issuer to obtain approval to offer its securities in multiple jurisdictions will be shortened, thereby enhancing market efficiency and providing more certainty to the issuer in terms of the time-to-market. ASEAN issuers will find it easier to raise capital across ASEAN countries and more efficiently raise funds for their investment and expansion. At the same time, investors will have easier access to investment opportunities.
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are the first three jurisdictions to sign the MOU. Other ASEAN jurisdictions will participate when they are ready.
The Framework is targeted for implementation by the third quarter of 2015.
The signatories to the MOU will jointly issue a handbook providing guidance on the various administrative and procedural matters including the criteria for issuers, the application procedures and the review timeline.