Banking and the aec: More talk than action

Published: 13/01/2012 at 2:32 PM
Category: Business Organizations, Featured
Tag: Asean, banking

Amid all the buzz about the Asean Economic Community (AEC) coming in 2015, there has been very little talk about the banking industry.Public and private entities have staged countless seminars on what might happen to exports, tourism, logistics, or even skilled labour flows (which

Amid all the buzz about the Asean Economic Community (AEC) coming in 2015, there has been very little talk about the banking industry. Public and private entities have staged countless seminars on what might happen to exports, tourism, logistics, or even skilled labour flows (which aren't really happening), but banking and financial services feature only in the background of these discussions.

Bangkok Post

aren’t really happening), but banking and financial services feature only in the background of these discussions.

Partly at fault is the AEC Blueprint itself, which is vague about what financial services might be integrated by 2015, making it hard to quantify the impact. Even for those areas explicitly stated, there were no explicit commitments, only “pre-agreed flexibilities” _ which means in plain English that any country can opt out of any financial service it doesn’t want to liberalise. Thus the trend of liberalising financial services will be more country-specific with a more “inside-out” approach, relying primarily on the plans of each country’s regulators.

For Thailand, that means the Financial Master Plan II, Capital Market Development Plan, and Insurance Development Plan II. All of these seemingly independent plans in fact shared the same goal: to prepare the Thai financial sector for the AEC in 2015.

Rising awareness of the AEC has been reflected in recent public comments by the Bank of Thailand governor and top executives of commercial banks. They all agree the sector needs a well-defined strategy.

For commercial banks, however, more has been said than done, as only a couple of domestic banks have tangible plans to expand inside Asean.

Let’s get real for a moment. Prior to devising a “grand scheme” to make the most of this opportunity, we must understand the context of our market in comparison to our Asean neighbours. To this end, we compiled data from the balance sheets of Asean commercial banks …

Full story from Bangkok Post at http://goo.gl/Ak6Nm

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