Apec states nod to ease rules on financial product sales

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Seven members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum have agreed to liberalise cross-border sales of investment products by financial-services professionals in the region.

Finance officials and regulators from seven Apec economies, namely Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, signed on January 18 in Singapore a memorandum of cooperation on the content of the Asia Region Funds Passport.

The seven Apec members are pioneer participants in the Asia Region Funds Passport, an agreement that aims to make it easier for financial-services professionals in a participating Apec economy to sell investment products, such as mutual funds, to retail customers in other participating Apec economies. The agreement hopes eventually to promote job creation and growth in the region.

Securities regulators from these seven economies are expected to sign a further memorandum early in the year, according to an official statement. The Asia Region Funds Passport is on track for commencement by 2017. Activation for the Asia Region Funds Passports will take place as soon as two or more participating economies sign the memorandum and implement its arrangements, the statement said.

The Apec Policy Support Unit found in its study that once fully launched, the Asia Region Funds Passport could save the region investment to the tune of US$20 billion (Bt717 billion) annually in fund-management costs and could, furthermore, offer higher investment returns with the same or with a lower degree of risk.

The group also said the initiative would encourage a pool of local funds that could create 170,000 jobs in Apec economies within five years.

“The Asia Region Funds Passport aims to cut down on incompatible or overlapping regulation that may hinder the marketing of managed funds between participating Apec economies,” said Trudie Wykes, chairwoman of the informal group leading its development. “The initiative is a win-win idea for financial services professionals and retail investors with potentially significant benefits for employment and economic growth,” she said.

The Asia Region Funds Passport was included in Apec’s services sector programme as one of the themes in the 2015 Apec Economic Leaders’ Week held in Manila in November, attended by 21 member countries.

Commenting recently on the initiative, Muliaman D Hadad, chairman of the Indonesian Financial Services Authority, said the agency had yet to receive any official information from Apec, but would prepare for any aspect under its supervision that could be affected by foreign agreements.

“I don’t know about the details yet, but basically we should first thoroughly review the agreement to see whether it will benefit us,” he said.

Muliaman said the Indonesian financial regulator would actively study all cross-border agreements, including financial-sector liberalisation in the Asean Economic Community set to commence in 2020. “We always emphasise that agreements on financial sectors should be mutually beneficial and uphold the principles of reciprocity between the members,” he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) president director Tito Sulistio said he was convinced that such liberalisation in cross-border sales of investment products would raise the competitiveness level of sales agents in the domestic capital market.

According to Tito, direct competition with foreign professionals would increase the quality of service and efficiency in local companies.

“Pak Jokowi [President Joko Widodo] has said that Pertamina [the state-run oil and gas company] had bad service quality, which would be improved after it entered into open competition with foreign companies.

“This competition will benefit local investors. I am convinced that local investors in the capital market will be happy with a larger variety of products, including those from overseas,” he said, adding that Indonesia’s capital market was relatively liberal towards foreign investments.

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