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Guide To Singapore Depository Receipts (SDRs): How To Start Investing In Thai Stocks Through SGX

After Mookata, this is the next best thing from Thailand available in Singapore.

This article was written in collaboration with SGX. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

Endearingly referred to as the Land of Smiles, Thailand attracts tens of millions of foreign visitors to its stunning beaches, majestic temples, flavourful cuisine, and unbeatable shopping opportunities. But Thailand is more than just a tourist hotspot. With a population size of over 70 million people, it has a thriving economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of around US$500 billion, ranking as the second largest in Southeast Asia.

Despite its appeal, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is not one that is readily accessible to most Singapore investors. This is rather unfortunate, as it boasts over 600 listed companies with a total market capitalisation of around 18 trillion Baht, or S$720 billion, that could present Singapore investors with more trading and diversification opportunities.

This may soon change with the launch of Singapore Depository Receipts (SDRs) by the Singapore Exchange (SGX). Through the SDRs, Singapore investors can conveniently access stocks listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) alongside locally listed companies in a single marketplace.

What Is The Singapore Depository Receipts (SDRs)?

Singapore Depository Receipts, or SDRs, are instruments that represent the beneficial interest in an underlying security listed overseas, which Singapore investors can invest in via SGX.

They are made available for trading on an unsponsored basis by an intermediary known as an “SDR issuer”. This simply means there is no involvement, participation, or consent of the underlying company with the SDR issuer.

These SDRs can be identified by the following naming convention:


[Underlying Company] [Market] SDR

For instance, the Thai SDR trading name for Airports of Thailand is “AOT TH SDR”

Each SDR is backed by a specific number of the underlying security listed on an overseas exchange. As in the case of the initial three Thai SDRs made available to Singapore investors, 1 SDR is backed by 1 underlying security. This will then be deposited with a custodian, who will hold it on behalf of the SDR issuer in the relevant home market. In turn, the SDR issuer will issue SDR for trading on the SGX and, if requested, perform the conversion between the SDRs and the underlying securities.

When we invest in the SDRs, we have a beneficial interest in the underlying securities held with the overseas custodian. This entitles us to receive certain benefits, like dividends or share distributions.

How The Thai Underlying SDRs Work

The first batch of SDRs is issued on Non-Voting Depository Receipts (NVDR) on shares of companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), known as Thai SDRs.

In Thailand, the regulatory framework limits foreign ownership of listed companies to a maximum of 49%, except in the banking and finance sector, where the limit is set at 25%. The NVDR is an instrument issued by the Thai NVDR, a subsidiary of the SET, to facilitate foreign trading by reducing barriers of foreign ownership limits.

These NVDRs are listed and traded on the SET. They usually carry the same prices and benefits as their underlying ordinary shares, except they do not carry any voting rights.

A NVDR stock code includes a (-R) suffix at the end of the stock name. For example, the NVDR ticker symbol for the underlying company share of Airports of Thailand is AOT-R.

As depicted in the flowchart above, the custodian in the Thai market holds the NVDR on the underlying company shares on behalf of the local SDR issuer. This then enables the SDR issuer to issue Thai SDR for trading on SGX, which the central depository (CDP) will keep in custody for Singapore investors.

Thai SDR holders have the right to convert to the underlying NVDR by submitting a cancellation request to the SDR issuer. Similarly, holders of the underlying NVDR can also apply for the Thai SDR issuance by submitting an issuance request.

Benefits Of Investing In Thai Stocks Through Thai SDRs

In Singapore, the Thai SDRs trade just like regular stocks, despite the different terminology used. They are also classified as Excluded Investment Products (EIP), which means they are generally for investors who expect a low to moderate likelihood of loss of principal investment amount, with generally smaller potential returns.

Considering this, there are five reasons why investing in Thai stocks via Thai SDRs listed on SGX may be a preferable option compared to direct investment through the underlying NVDR on SET.

#1 Lower Brokerage Cost

One of the advantages of trading Thai stocks through the Thai SDR is the potential cost savings that Singapore investors may get as opposed to trading the NVDRs directly.

As Thai SDRs are listed on SGX, the trading cost is similar to buying any Singapore listed stock. You only need to pay the local brokerage and exchange-related fees. This is unlike trading the NVDRs directly, where the minimum commission costs could be higher, and there may also be additional trading-related fees to consider.

For example, certain brokerages may charge additional fees for custody services for holding the NVDR on your behalf and for corporate actions like cash dividends or rights issues.

The table below gives a simple cost breakdown of the trading-related fees for a Thai SDR traded on SGX and a Thai NVDR traded on the SET. In total, it can be at least 30% cheaper to invest through SDRs than to trade the Thai NVDRs directly.

Trading Commission Fees
Thai SDR Fees Thai NVDR Fees
Min Brokerage Commission Cost* 0.08% – 0.18% Min Brokerage Commission Cost* 0.18% – 0.40%
Clearing Fee 0.0325% Clearing Fee 0.0010%
SGX Trading Fee 0.0075% Trading Fee 0.0050%
SGX Settlement Fee $0.35 Regulatory Fee 0.0010%
GST 0.08% Vat Fee 0.07%

*This is an estimated commission costs; actual rates may be higher or lower.

Additionally, there are no foreign exchange fees when trading the Thai SDR, as Thai SDRs are traded and settled in Singapore dollars. Even if there’s a dividend or cash distribution made by the underlying security, you would receive the distribution in Singapore dollars (after deducting any related fees) in the Singapore bank account maintained with the CDP. This eliminates having to carry additional exchange rate risk that you may typically face when investing in the NVDR.

#2 Trade With Familiarity

When trading the Thai SDRs, you can expect the same level of familiarity and convenience that you are already accustomed to when trading your SGX-listed stocks. The SDRs adhere to the same local market trading rules and are custodised with the CDP. Moreover, you do not have to look for a specific brokerage that offers access to Thai stocks or worry about figuring out how to key in your order details anymore. You can simply invest in the Thai SDR via the brokerage firm you’re already using and trade the Thai SDRs like any other SGX stock.

#3 Trade During SGX Market Hours

The Thai SDRs follow the local market trading hours, opening at 9:00 am and closing for trading at 5:16 pm. This enables Singapore investors to enjoy the convenience of being able to buy and sell Thai SDRs during SGX market hours. This is as opposed to NVDRs, where you may need to remember the SET trading hours (Morning session 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and Afternoon Session 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm according to Thailand time). Do note that Thailand is one hour behind Singapore time (GMT+7).

#4 Transparent Access To Information

You can expect greater transparency with the Thai SDRs, as any announcements on corporate actions will be published on the SGX website. This allows you to keep track of company-related news more easily, as opposed to relying on your broker or having to painstakingly source this information on the company’s website.

#5 Flexibility To Convert To Underlying Securities

Investing in the Thai SDR is no different than buying the NVDR of the underlying security. You are accorded the same benefits, including no voting rights. Furthermore, as a Thai SDR holder, you can convert to the underlying shares at any time by submitting a cancellation request to the SDR issuer.

What Are The Underlying Companies That Are Available As Thai SDRs

For a start, there is a choice of three Thai SDRs made available for trading to Singapore investors. These are businesses that Singaporeans might be familiar with from their travels to the country itself.

Here’s a short description of what each company is about:

Airports Of Thailand Public Co Ltd (AOT)

Source: Airports of Thailand

Airports of Thailand Company Limited (AOT) may be an unfamiliar name to some, but if you have ever travelled to Thailand, you have undoubtedly used its services.

As the largest listed company in Thailand with a market cap of around 1 trillion baht, AOT – founded in 1903 – engages in the operation of airports and hotels, including 6 international airports, such as Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport, and 29 regional airports in Thailand. It is 70% owned by the Thailand Ministry of Finance and has a dividend policy of issuing not less than 25% of its net profit each year.

Given its crucial role in facilitating both domestic and international air travel, it is a good proxy for Thailand’s tourism industry, which saw a recovery in 2022–2023 as it beat its target with 11.15 million foreign visitors visiting in 2022.

PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP)

Source: PTT Exploration & Production

Thailand is one of the few Asian countries with its own oil reserves, which allows state-owned PTT Exploration and Production to reap the benefits.

With a market capitalisation of around 580 billion baht, PTT Exploration and Production is the fourth largest company in Thailand. It operates over 50 petroleum exploration, development, and production projects in more than 10 countries, including producing a quarter of Thailand’s petroleum.

Beyond petroleum, PTTEP has also diversified into new businesses that involve new forms of energy, advanced technology and decarbonisation. Given the rising global demand for energy, PTT Exploration and Production offer a proxy for both the traditional and new energy landscapes.

CP All Public Co. Ltd (CP All)

Source: CP All

CP All Public Company Limited, the fifth largest listed company in Thailand, stands as a prominent retail and convenience store operator that is under the ownership of Thailand’s wealthiest family.

Established in 1988, it operates around 12,432 branches of the 7-Eleven stores (as of 2020), of which 5,431 are in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region and 7,001 are in provincial areas. In addition, it engages in various other services such as wholesale, education, financial, ready-to-eat and bakery, information, and marketing communications.

In FY 2022, its convenience store business alone accounted for around 48% of its revenue, with its grocery wholesaling and retailing business and other businesses in Thailand accounting for the remaining 38% and 14%, respectively.

With such a large consumer touchpoint, CP All is well positioned to benefit from consumers’ discretionary spending, particularly as Thailand attracts a larger international crowd.

Accessing Thailand Via The SGX With SDRs

The SDRs are a convenient way for Singapore investors to get exposure to different overseas stocks through a single marketplace that offers the familiarity and safety that we are accustomed to.

As a first step, investors have the option to invest in three Thai SDRs that provide both new trading opportunities and the ability to diversify from local holdings at a relatively lower cost compared to investing in the underlying securities directly.

With trading through a familiar platform like the SGX, local investors have more convenience and ease with trading these overseas stocks than ever before.

Check out the SGX website for more information on the SDRs.