The recently introduced Alternative Trading Board (ATB) needs clear policies and guidelines in order to enable it to create opportunities for institutions to invest in unlisted companies and other alternative investment vehicles.
A joint meeting titled "Function and Prospect of Alternative Trading Board (ATB)" organised by the Bangladesh Academy for Securities Market (BASM), a research and training institute of Bangladesh Security Exchange Commission (BSEC), and Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) Training Academy gave the opinion on Tuesday.
The online programme was joined by representatives from the securities regulator, Dhaka Stock Exchange and Chattogram Stock Exchange, Central Depository Bangladesh Ltd, Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (VCPEAB) and the Brokers Association of Bangladesh.
The event was moderated by BSEC Director Mohammad Rezaul Karim while Muhammad Rony Islam, senior manager and head, DSE Training Academy, was the rapporteur.
M Shaifur Rahman Mazumdar, chief operating officer of DSE, presented the keynote paper, focusing on the prospect of the ATB.
He said, when the ATB will start operating, new investors will join the market because it will list the non-listed companies, any kind of bonds, debenture, sukuk, open-end mutual funds and alternative investment funds.
Speakers also discussed creating regulatory policies to facilitate trades for the ATB-listed companies, bonds, open-end mutual funds, private equity and venture capital funds.
Md Mahbubul Alam, executive director of BSEC and director general of BASM, emphasised publicity about the ATB to create public awareness and attract investments.
He added that the ATB will create opportunities for institutions to invest in unlisted companies and other alternative investment vehicles like private equity and venture capital funds. The relevant stakeholders must leverage this opportunity.
Shameem Ahsan, president of VCPEAB and general partner of Pegasus Tech Ventures, said, "We need to make clear policies and guidelines to better leverage the benefits of these new investment opportunities created through the ATB. We think this initiative will mark the start of a journey to include more people in investment environments."
He underscored the importance of nurturing start-ups and SMEs and utilising alternative investment funds to create many companies that can join the stock exchange in future and contribute significantly to the national gross domestic product.
Mohammad Rezaul Karim, director at BSEC, stated that it was necessary to create a board like the ATB to develop the capital market.
Compliance must be ensured in the ATB to create confidence among investors, he added.
President of DSE Brokers Association of Bangladesh Sharif Anwar Hossain remarked that the securities market has much room for growth and that the ATB will facilitate fund allocation.
He also said the ATB will help boost the securities market and increase allocation of funds to many local companies.
Many small companies cannot raise funds due to lack of scale. The ATB will alleviate this issue and create opportunities for many unlisted companies, said Shuvra Kanti Choudhury, managing director of CDBL.