Can IFAs Facilitate the Introduction of Vietnam to the UK? Dragon Capital's Chairman shares his Insights

"We aim to introduce Vietnam to the UK through the assistance of independent financial advisers," stated Dominic Scriven OBE, the chairperson of Dragon Capital, during a conversation with Money Marketing about Vietnam's largest fund manager.

In the early 1990s, Scriven co-founded Dragon Capital after traveling to Vietnam to learn Vietnamese at Hanoi General University. Dragon Capital's Vietnam Enterprise Investment Limited (VEIL) fund is currently listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Over the past two years, the company has been actively engaging with the IFA community in the UK, which Scriven believes is the right strategic move. However, he acknowledges that this endeavor will require patience and perseverance.

To break into the IFA market, Dragon Capital is working with Hargreaves Lansdown and its adviser network. One challenge they face is that Vietnam is classified as a frontier market rather than an emerging market (EM) in technical terms.

A frontier market is more developed than the least developed countries but not as established as emerging markets. Consequently, IFAs often categorize Dragon Capital's funds as high risk. Scriven believes that for IFAs to truly consider their funds, Vietnam needs to be recognized as an EM. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic that Vietnam and Dragon Capital will eventually achieve this recognition.

Vietnam experienced a gross domestic product growth rate of 8% in 2022, marking the country's highest growth rate in a decade. Scriven's ultimate goal is for VEIL to showcase Vietnam to the world. He also mentioned that Dragon Capital is a member of the Association of Investment Companies.

Regarding the impact of the Financial Conduct Authority's Retail Distribution Review (RDR) introduced on December 31, 2012, Scriven stated that it did not significantly affect Dragon Capital. This is because the company had limited involvement with UK IFAs before the implementation of the RDR, entering the market afterward. Consequently, Dragon Capital established its relationships in the UK post-RDR.