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Case study: How SET promotes financial literacy

SET (the Stock Exchange of Thailand) is a one-stop centre for the purchase and sales, clearing and settlement, depository and registration of securities, governed by an effective and transparent governance system. It is also Thailand’s knowledge centre for finance and investments, and the central entity that works on the quality development of listed companies. SET encourages Thai people to learn personal financial planning and to invest their savings to generate returns  Tweet This!, and is further committed to disseminating financial knowledge in a way that is easy to understand, applicable in real life, and appropriate for the behaviours of each generation.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by SET published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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In 2018, SET continued its efforts to promote financial literacy for the public by developing content appropriate for each target group, for dissemination through online and offline channels. In order to promote financial literacy SET took action to:

  • establish the Investment Discovery Museum
  • create the Maruey Library
  • promote financial literacy for youth
  • promote financial literacy for retirement

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report SET identified a range of material issues, such as good corporate and capital market governance, sustainability risk management, developing the quality of listed companies, developing products, services and innovations for sustainability. Among these, promoting financial literacy stands out as a key material issue for SET.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards                        

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups SET engages with: 

To identify and prioritise material topics SET engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Listed companies and Entrepreneurs

 

·      Develop an e-Listing (digital registration) system to reduce the steps, time, and costs of the registration process

·      Offer a variety of fundraising tools to match for business needs

·      Provide startups with fundraising channel, LiVE Platform

·      Develop listed company personnel through training courses, including CEO Networking, Strategic CFO in Capital Market, and investor relations development activities

·      Promote learning among entrepreneurs who are interested in listing on the Exchange through training activities, including the IPO Roadmap course

·      Enhance the quality of businesses by offering training and coaching activities and seminars to enhance their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance

·      Implement the Regulatory Reform project to increase governance efficiency for listed companies

·      Promote communication between listed firms and investors through the quarterly “Opportunity Day” activity, through both online and offline channels

·      Build trust and communicate investment information through annual investment activities, including Thailand Focus and SET in The City

Intermediaries

 

 

·      Offer a modern trading system and post-trading services that cover all investment products

·      Develop a payment system for the capital market, FinNet, to reduce operating costs for intermediaries

·      Increase efficiency and reduce the process required for securities trading, such as through the T+2 Project, which shortens the securities clearing and settlement cycle to two instead of three working days

·      Develop a diverse range of products, including the CLMV Index, SETTHSI Index, Vietnam ETF, and TFEX Gold Online Futures

·      Implement the Regulatory Reform project to increase efficiency in the trading surveillance

·      Build trust and communicate investment information through annual investment activities, including Thailand Focus and SET in The City

·      Expand the base of quality investors through the INVESTNOW project

·      Develop knowledge standards and regularly assess the examination of securities professionals

·      Develop tools for securities professionals to access information on license renewals, such as the Prof. Link application

Investors

 

 

·      Develop convenient, timely, and efficient securities trading channels, including Settrade Streaming

·      Increase efficiency and reduce the processes required for securities trading, such as through the T+2 Project, which helps to reduce transaction costs for investors

·      Promote communication between listed companies and investors through the quarterly “Opportunity Day” activity, through both online and offline channels

·      Build trust and communicate investment information through annual investment activities, including Thailand Focus and SET in The City

·      Foster a regular investment culture (Dollar-Cost Averaging: DCA) through the INVESTNOW project

·      Promote investor knowledge through online and offline channels using the Investor Classroom project

·      Manage investment and capital market data using the SET Market Analysis and Reporting Tool (SETSMART)

Employees

 

 

·      Establish a Welfare Committee that includes employee representatives who participate in deliberations on employee welfare and benefits

·      Create an employee development plan for all employee levels by conducting onsite and offsite training activities

·      Promote health and well-being for employees, such as providing an exercise facility, a sports field, and other activities organized by clubs, run by employees

·      Support SET’s Employee Club to promote engagement between employees and management

·      Organize Town Hall activities on a quarterly basis to serve as a communication channel between management and employees

·      Conduct an employee engagement survey through the Little Voice, Great Value project

Regulators

 

·      Implement the Regulatory Reform project to increase efficiency in capital market governance

·      Promote engagement through meetings and hearing

Society

 

·      Organise monthly SET Talk activities to inform the press and media about the movements of the organisation and the capital market

·      Promote sources of learning on finance and investment through the Maruey Library and the INVESTORY museum

·      Set up the SET Social Impact Platform to serve as the centre for connecting the private sector, society, and social enterprises to collectively drive social change

·      Support and engage in social development through the SET Foundation

What actions were taken by SET to promote financial literacy?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report SET reports that it took the following actions for promoting financial literacy:

  • Establishing the Investment Discovery Museum
  • SET’s Investment Discovery Museum, which was developed with the concept of universal design, presents information on finance and investments in a ‘discovery museum’ format, which focuses on offering fun and engaging experiences for visitors through hands-on interactive exhibitions, such as games and stock simulation programmes. The Museum also tells the story of the historical development of the Thai capital market from past to present day. In 2018, the Museum welcomed over 48,000 visitors, a 19% increase from 2017, and carried out the following key activities:
    • Organised a special exhibition, “Saving through DCA”, to inspire and promote regular investments via Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA). The exhibition focused on applying multimedia communications formats to allow visitors to revel in their learning experiences and to try their hands at planning DCAs.
    • Organised a mobile exhibition, “INVESTORY Mobile Exhibition on School”, to disseminate knowledge on finance and saving to educational institutions, by bringing information, technology, and some portions of the INVESTORY exhibits to 15 schools in Bangkok and the surrounding areas. More than 44,000 students participated in the activities.
  • Creating the Maruey Library
  • The Maruey Library is a finance and investment knowledge centre for the Thai capital market. For the library, SET has focused on developing a digital work system to handle services efficiently, including by providing a self-service system for borrowing and returning library resources using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), digital bookshelves and digital content, and an online library service that facilitates the convenience for library users. More than 184,000 people used the library in 2018. SET has also developed the “Maruey eLibrary” application to allow users to easily access library resources including eBooks, eMagazines and multimedia anywhere, anytime.
  • Promoting financial literacy for youth
  • In 2018, to promote financial literacy for youth SET:
    • Organised the 10th Diamond Crown Economics Competition for school and university students to develop their basic skills and knowledge on economics, finance, insurance, and the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. To date, there have been more than 43,000 students who participated in the Competition, and in 2018 it was attended by 5,810 students from 1,169 schools and 55 universities.
    • Supported financial and investment knowledge-building for teachers in 101 educational institutions throughout Thailand through the SET University Networking Project, and supported the SET-eLearning online courses on finance and investment planning, to be used as accompanying materials for teaching and learning.
  • Promoting financial literacy for retirement
  • Promoting a better understanding of efficient financial planning for retirement among over 40 million working age individuals would help to mitigate the impacts of an ageing society, reduce their reliance on government services, reduce financial inequalities, and ultimately enhance Thailand’s qualities of life and economic prosperity. SET has found that the minimum amount of money that Thai people should save for their retirement is 4.36 million baht. However, up to 63% of the working population are not in the retirement savings system, and thus there is a possibility that they will not have enough money for use once they retire. In consideration of this problem, SET launched the Happy Money, Happy Retirement Project, to build financial planning disciplines for workers in formal and informal economies, including the underprivileged and elderly. The project, with a central concept of “Happy Retirement is Achievable”, disseminated financial planning information and related tools in an easy-to-understand manner through online and offline channels, to stimulate inspiration for real-life application. In 2018, SET partnered with various national organisations to expand the benefits of the Happy Money, Happy Retirement Project to working people across Thailand. Key achievements were as follows:
    • Spread knowledge on financial planning for the formal labour force through training seminars, including a seminar on saving through provident funds (PVD) and retirement mutual funds (RMF). A total of 327 organisations from the public and private sector as well as state-owned enterprises participated in the project. This increased by 131 organisations from 2017 and covered over 831,000 workers in the formal workforce, a 23% increase in participation from 2017. Overall, employees of these organisations were helped to reduce liability and increase their savings.
    • Spread knowledge to the informal labour force, the underprivileged, and elderly through financial planning training, which was attended by over 2,963 interested individuals. In addition, SET partnered with the Thai Health Promotion Foundation to develop a model “Happy Money” community at Phra Pradaeng district, Samut Prakan province. This involved developing the “Financial Satisfaction” Manual for the informal labour force and providing trainings to community leaders so that they can become “Happy Money Mentors” in their own communities. Moreover, SET collaborated with The Thai Bankers’ Association and The Thai Red Cross Society to launch the “Happy Money Trainer” project for disabled groups.
    • Communicated knowledge on financial planning through online and offline public communications channels; the Happy Money, Happy Retirement Project website had over 6.2 million views.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs

Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs does not correspond to any SDG.

 

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by SET, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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