The nation's two stock exchanges will be merged in accordance with a Ministry of Finance plan for restructuring the securities market that is supported by the Vietnam Association of Securities Businesses, the ministry announced at a meeting here on Dec. 24.

The announcement ended a long period of uncertainty about the future of the exchanges, with some market watchers fearing the plan will create a monopoly for the newly formed exchange.

"The operations of the Hanoi Stock Exchange and the HCM Stock Exchange over the past 11 years have contributed a lot to the development of the market, but they have also left the market fragmented," said the ministry.

Three smaller markets further divide up the market, including the unlisted public companies market (UPCoM) administered through the Hanoi exchange.

"This has led to inconsistency in management, especially in governance and disclosure, increasing social costs," the ministry said.

The Ministry of Finance said a single stock exchange will be formed and operated in accordance with international standards and practices.

The Vietnam Securities Depository will also continue to function separately in clearing, settlement and development of new securities products.

The ministry plans to merge the exchanges during 2012-15, with a detailed scheme to be issued in the first quarter of next year based on a reassessment of technical and legal issues.

The HCMC Stock Exchange was formed in 2000, and the Hanoi bourse opened later in 2005. /.