Top brokerage Saigon Securities Inc (SSI), which accounted for the majority of trading on the country’s two main exchanges in the third quarter, saw its January-September pre-tax profits fall 37 percent to VND687 billion ($29.5 million).
The firm, which was the most profitable among all brokerages in the same period last year, reported revenues dropping 17 percent year-on-year to VND2.33 trillion ($100 million).
Revenue from brokerage activities, which used to be its most important business, fell by over 50 percent to VND430 billion ($18.5 million).
The same trend was seen with other leading brokerages, continuing from the first half of this year. On the main bourse, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), three top domestic brokerages all posted declining figures in the January-September period.
Viet Capital Securities's (VCSC) pre-tax profit dropped 29 percent year-on-year, while that of Ho Chi Minh City Securities (HSC) fell 50 percent and VNDirect, 30 percent.
The brokerages attributed the decline to falling trading value in the third quarter. Average daily trading value from July to September fell 6 percent year-on-year to VND4.9 trillion ($210.5 million).
Industry insiders say that the persisting U.S.-China trade war has made international investors shift to more secure assets, negatively impacting stock markets.
Foreign investors selling in large quantities and low number of new accounts in the first nine months have affected the brokerages’ cash flow.
But a few companies did manage to buck the trend.
Techcom Securities (TCBS), a unit of the country’s largest private bank Techcombank, saw its January-September pre-tax profit rise 21 percent year-on-year to VND864 billion ($37.1 million), surpassing SSI to top the market.
The company did well thanks to its consulting and guaranteeing bonds business, which delivered revenues of VND490 billion ($21 million), accounting for almost half of the total.
Another major profit increase was enjoyed by Mirae Asset, a South Korean brokerage whose charter capital is among the top three on the Vietnamese market.
Its pre-tax profit rose 83 percent to VND339 billion ($14.6 million), partly thanks to revenue from margin loans, a financing service in which stock investors borrow money from brokerages.