Vietnam Social Security, now a $5 billion fund covering around six million members, is discussing the possibility of receiving some training or market information from a number of international fund managers, says Phuoc Tuong-Nguyen, director of planning and finance.

The fund has held tentative discussions with Schroder Investment Managers, HSBC Investments and Deutsche Bank about the possibility of cooperation.

But he says it is probably going to take another one or two years before VSS will be ready to invest overseas. It is currently discussing the necessary regulatory approvals with its regulator, the Ministry of Finance. Phuoc notes the fund needs to diversify outside Vietnam to ensure it can achieve the higher returns it requires to meet its obligations.

Currently the VSSÆ assets remain in domestic bank deposits, government bonds and transportation and other infrastructure projects. Its investment target is 7% above local inflation, Phuoc says.

Two Vietnamese life insurance companies already invest abroad: BaoViet and Bao Minh. But Phuoc says these are not able to provide VSS with assistance or advice, as they are private companies with different liabilities.