Maybank Group President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Abdul Farid Alias says there is still an enormous potential for the group to tap the latent business opportunities in the Asean region as part of its growth strategy.

He cited that even within the consumer segment, there were new growth areas such as regional private banking and asset management, which the group has yet to fully explore.

Other areas included insurance, Islamic banking as well as trade financing stemming from rising trade and investments in the region.

The Asean region would continue to offer new business growth areas for the banking group not only in consumer and investment banking where it had a strong regional presence, but also in other areas which the group was looking to develop, he said.
“Insurance is another area where we see increasing prospects given the rising incomes of the population in Asean,” he told reporters Sunday on the sidelines of the Invest Malaysia London conference held in London from Sept 1-2.

“Asean is a huge market with a gross domestic product of over US$2.41 trillion (TM7.6 trillion), and we are barely scratching the surface in terms of what we can do,” he said when asked if the bank would consider expanding in other regions such as Europe.

“Hence, our intention is to focus on this region where we are better placed to realise the opportunities,” he said in a statement.

He said the launch of life insurance business in Singapore recently to complement the existing general insurance business there was part of the group’s strategy to diversify its operations and reach in the region.

“This is something that we can offer in other countries in Asean and we are currently looking at opportunities to expand in other markets,” he said.

Islamic banking also continues to offer tremendous potential, he added.

“Companies and governments in the region are increasingly looking at Islamic banking alternatives for fund raising and there is so much more that can be done to increase its penetration into regional markets,” said Abdul Farid.

He said that rising trade and investments into Asean is yet another area which the group intended to leverage on by acting as an intermediary for the flow of capital.

“Whether it’s cash management services or fund raising via the equity and capital markets, we want to ensure that we capture a significant portion of the deals in the region,” he said.

Abdul Farid said the growing interest in Asean among investors was evident during his engagement with fund managers at the Invest Malaysia UK event.

“They know that the region is among the fastest growing in the world. What we have emphasised to them is the exposure into Asean they can get by investing in Malaysian companies which have regional presence,” he said.

Invest Malaysia London, co-organised by Maybank Kim Eng and Bursa Malaysia, saw participation of over 60 fund managers representing 48 fund management companies with assets under management of over US$13.3 trillion.

A total of 13 highly-investable multinational companies listed on Bursa Malaysia were represented at the event, where the keynote address was delivered by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar. – Bernama, September 2, 2014.

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