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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     September 8,  2016  

Capital market development can help in diversification

WHILE Brunei’s domestic capital market is still in its infancy, its growth will be important to economic diversification and regional integration.

In his keynote address during the 12th Annual Brunei Darussalam Roundtable, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj osman, also the Minister of Education, stressed the importance of the capital market as an alternative source of financing.

“In light of the government’s broader strategies for achieving diversification of Brunei Darussalam’s economy, the capital market can be an enabler for growth,” he said.

The minister said as the country progresses towards Vision 2035, the importance of capital markets will increase, even if banking remains the dominant industry in the financial sector.

“To this end, Brunei Darussalam has already made a number of positive strides to strengthen its capital markets’ services and infrastructure, robustness and linkages to an interconnected global economy,” said YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi.

The Securities Markets Order, 2013 and the Securities Markets Regulations, 2015 have been enforced to establish Brunei’s capital market.

“With this enactment, our legal framework lays the foundation for the growth of a modern 21st century capital market. Additionally, as of March 4, 2016, AMBD is a full signatory to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Multilateral MoU,” he said.

He said banks have been offering more investment products to their local clients, noting this can “attract more new clients and give investors more room to diversify their portfolio”.

“All of these combined efforts can go a long way towards putting in place the reforms that can enable further capital market growth,” he said.

He said the move by the AMBD and the Ministry of Finance to set up a stock exchange is a major step towards building a capital market.

“The launch of the stock exchange is expected to catalyse economic growth and business expansion through enabling Bruneian businesses to tap into alternative funding routes. Moreover, it will facilitate greater regional integration particularly through the ASEAN capital market development and Asian capital market forum’s initiatives, and most importantly it will trigger greater foreign investment opportunities,” he said.

The minister added financial technology, or fintech should be something to be looked into given its reach to tech-savvy millennials, small businesses and the underbanked sector.

“In the area of capital markets, fintech has the potential to improve efficiency and transparency, as well as promote financial inclusion,” he said, urging regulators to keep track of the rapid development of this industry to protect investors.

The 12th Annual Brunei Darussalam Roundtable is a forum on capital market and investment organised by the Centre for Islamic Banking, Finance and Management and Asia Asset Management, Hong Kong. It was supported by AMBD and co-sponsored by Fullerton Fund Management, Pioneer Investments and Lion Global Investors.

The roundtable was attended by 155 local and foreign participants including government officials and industry players.

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