Financial Development and Access to Funding
: The Case of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Vietnam

  • Joshua McVeagh-Holness

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)


Over the past three decades, Vietnam has transitioned from an agrarian-based, centrally planned economy to a mixed economy with emerging market status. Additionally, projections indicate that Vietnam will be one of the world’s largest economies by 2050 if growth is sustained at present rates. The evolution of the financial sector, which began with the Doi Moi reforms in the mid-1980s, has been central to facilitating this growth. As the economy has expanded, Vietnam has maintained a gradualist approach to developing market-based mechanisms of resource allocation. However, financial markets are still in an embryonic stage and substantial reform is required if the economy is to meet the expected rates of development. Against this backdrop, this dissertation critically evaluates trends and dynamics in Vietnam’s journey of financial development over the past three decades, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on quantitative analysis, secondary data and interviews conducted with a range of firms and stakeholders, I argue that financial development in Vietnam has had positive effects in terms of increasing access to funding for SMEs. As the financial system has developed, allocative efficiency has improved to the benefit of SMEs. However, some informants criticised the progress made to date, arguing that a funding mismatch still exists. Specifically, weak corporate governance, state-owned enterprises and a lack of derivatives have prevented effective capital market development. Given Vietnam’s high level of political corruption, this paper concludes that policy makers must place more attention on the political-economic structures of Vietnam if achieving middle-income status is to occur. Specifically, a tighter and more controlled effort to dismantle corporate bureaucracy and nepotism would allow better access to funding for Vietnamese SMEs.
Date of Award23 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSean Fox (Supervisor) & David J Manley (Supervisor)

Cite this