ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Regional integration offers more financing options to local SMEs
BRUNEIAN companies will benefit from increased financing options thanks to the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Maybank Brunei Country Head and General Manager Lim Yu Kwang said regional integration will allow local companies to tap various markets in the region.
“The liquidity pool will also be deeper which means that companies do not rely on banks as much,” he said at yesterday’s briefing held in the bank’s headquarters at Kiarong.
He said this during an interview following the bank winning the Best SME Bank in Brunei from Capital Finance International (CFI) UK.
Lim said Brunei’s goal to build its own capital market will also help the sultanate diversify its oil and gas reliant economy.
He said the endeavour will come with certain challenges and success may not be immediately visible until there is a “full blown capital market”.
“If you talk about Brunei (stock market), there’s probably going to be only 10 or 12 companies that qualify (to be listed), which is a good start but I think you’ll see that in the long run it will be better,” he said.
As for local bank operations, Lim said the company will sustain its growth by focusing on targeted market segments.
“Last year, we managed to achieve double digit growth because we did exactly this but there is still a lot of target segments where we can grow,” he said.
Lim said Maybank has recorded a year-on-year growth on revenue over the last three years up till 2015.
“The important thing for us here is to be selective of growth due to the current economic environment,” he said, alluding to a slowdown in the country’s oil and gas sector due to falling oil prices.
Lim said the oil and gas business is a cyclical one and there are always opportunities for growth given the right network and connections.
According to Maybank Brunei, judges of CFI said the bank has shown its “desire” to serve customers according to their needs rather than impose “possibly superfluous” products and services to small and medium enterprises.
Maybank Brunei also won an award from the Global Banking and Finance Review, UK as the Fastest Growing Foreign Bank in Brunei for 2015.--The Brunei Times
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