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Welcoming Address by Mr. Danial Mah Abdullah, at 'Opportunities in the Asian Debt Financial Markets' Seminar
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“Opportunities in the Asian Debt Financial Markets” 
20 October 2017 

Distinguished Speakers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Assalamua’laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a very good afternoon to everyone.

1. It is a great pleasure to welcome all participants to this seminar on “Opportunities In The Asian Debt Financial Markets”. We are delighted today to bring together market practitioner, bankers and lawyer for a panel discussion on debt financial market with a focus on the potentials that lie ahead for the Asian market. Let us first extend our warmest welcome to our distinguished speakers and panellists for today:

  •  Y Bhg Dato’ Professor Dr. Sudin Haron, Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Waqaf Malaysia,  
  • Encik Megat Hizaini Bin Hassan, Partner, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill; and 
  • Ms Lee Joo Wee, Head of Debt Markets, OCBC Malaysia 

And the moderator for the session, Y Bhg Dato’ Howard Choo, Managing Director, IBH Investment Bank Limited.

2. Thank you for accepting our invitations and making time to be here in Labuan. We look forward to learning from the expertise and experience of the speakers and their perspectives on the topic of today’s seminar. At the same time, we hope we could tap ideas from the discussions that could lead to further develop the capital market in Labuan IBFC. You will notice from the speakers’ profiles that you will get to learn from both the Islamic and conventional perspectives of the Asian debt market.  

Ladies and gentlemen,

3. Banks have traditionally been the major financing channels through direct lending activities. This is more apparent in the Asian countries where banks have a high dominant rate of supplying more than 80% of the total debt funding in the form of bank loans as compared to other more advanced market where the major source of financing is from capital market particularly using corporate bonds.

4. But things have changed over the years. Product innovations, technological advancements, new affluent in the emerging economies, market liberalisation have reshaped the global investment patterns. Across the globe, the new generations are more informed and have greater demands for better investment opportunities and have different risk appetite patterns. This, in a way, has given rise to new funding needs and investment choices including the corporate-bond markets for suppliers and users of financing, that could not be served by the traditional banking sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

5. At the back of these changes, the Asia’s debt capital markets have been making strong strides. The total debt issuance for Asia in 2016 was USD 1.3 trillion, which was about one-fifth of global debt issuance. Generally, the growing volume in the debt market is supported by an increasingly diversified investor base, from institutions such as insurance companies and a wide spectrum of investors from across Asia. With the positive economic growth in the region, the base and type of investors are expected to grow bigger as Asia’s emerging economies continue to expand. This is compounded by the massive infrastructure financing needs of the Asian region. According to Asian Development Bank’s estimates, developing Asian countries will need USD1.7 trillion annually in infrastructure investment till 2030 to fulfil its medium to long-term growth potential and with the well-known China’s Belt and Road initiative, it would fuel even more infrastructures and long-term financing needs in the region.

6. That is why Labuan IBFC needs to play a more active role in this mammoth financial supply and demand equation to support and serve the financial interests of the Asian markets. Labuan IBFC, with its value propositions in availability of diverse financial institutions, modern legislative framework, conducive fiscal incentive schemes and well tested financing structures, is well-suited to play an attractive financing and intermediating role in the Asian debt market.

7. With this in mind, let us now hear what the speakers have to say about the opportunities in the Asian debt financial market, and how Labuan IBFC can play a bigger role in that market. On that note, let me thank once again the panellists and speakers for being with us today. I hope that we will have a good interactive dialogue session on the subject matter.

8. I wish you all a stimulating and fruitful session, and for those from outside Labuan, a pleasant stay in Labuan.

Thank you.

Danial Mah Abdullah
Director General of Labuan FSA
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