MSCI does not have Vietnam on its list of markets that could potentially be upgraded to emerging markets status. When the index provider revealed its annual market classifications in June, no frontier markets were listed as being in line for a possible upgrade to emerging markets status.
Vietnam’s emerging markets ambitions will not be easily rewarded. It took Qatar and UAE, the first Middle East nations to earn the frontier-to-emerging upgrade, seven years of being on MSCI’s watch list for potential promotion. [Vietnam Eyes Emerging Markets Promotion]
An important issue for VNM in 2015 will be Vietnam’s ability to liberalize its financial markets and attract foreign institutional investors, many of which have been leery of the country’s legal structure and perceived lack of liquidity.
Size is another issue that has kept foreign institutional investors at bay. By comparison to other emerging Asian economies, Vietnam’s is small. There have been periods in the past when the combined market value of stocks trading in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has been less than major U.S. companies such as Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).
Just 10 stocks make up 80% to 90% Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index, according to CNBC.
Market Vectors Vietnam ETF