"Asia: Growth Engine of the Global Economy"
12-13 September 2013
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
- Over 240 bankers from around and outside the Asia-Pacific region, composed mainly of members of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) led by ABA Chairman Lorenzo V. Tan, President and CEO of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. from the Philippines, gathered in Ulaanbaatar on September 12-13, 2013 for the 30th ABA General Meeting and Conference. Hosted and organized by the Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA) under the leadership of Mr. Bold Magvan, CEO of Tenger Financial Group, the Ulaanbaatar meeting was held at The Blue Sky Hotel and Tower.
- This year’s Conference focused on the theme “Asia: Growth Engine of the Global Economy.” The two-day event aimed at providing another platform for ABA members and invited experts to discuss how major developments in the global and regional markets will impact on the Asian banking sector and to exchange views on measures that the Asian banking sector can undertake to help sustain growth and enable the Asia-Pacific region to play a catalytic role in the global economic growth and recovery.
- Governor of Bank of Mongolia Naidansuren Zoljargal was the Special Guest of Honour at the Opening Ceremony, and Ms. Yuko Kinoshita, Assistant to the Director (OAP) and Representative of Mongolia, International Monetary Fund was Keynote Speaker. Governor Zoljargal talked about Mongolia’s policy responses to the developments in the global and regional market environment, while Ms. Kinoshita gave an overview of the global economic outlook and its implications for Asia.
- During the various Conference sessions, eminent speakers from both government and the private sector shared their views and insights on the following timely and relevant topics:
- Global Macroeconomics: Key Factors for Asian Banks – The session examined current and forecast developments in the global markets and other challenges that are expected to have a significant impact on the growth prospects of Asian economies, the financial stability in the region, and the performance of the region’s banking sector.
- Investment Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging Asian Markets – The session featured speakers who explored and shared their views on the investment and business opportunities that emerging markets in Asia offer to investors, and identified some of the challenges that these markets present.
- Electronic Channels: Reshaping the Financial Services Industry – This session focused on some of the best practices in implementing successful business strategies in mobile banking and payment, as well as on issues resulting from the development of electronic banking and how they are currently being addressed by the banking sector and by regulatory and supervisory authorities.
- The Ulaanbaatar Conference also featured the following special sessions:
- CEO Forum that provided a high-level platform for top bank executives and thought leaders to share best practices and experience, debate current strategic issues in banking, and discuss winning business approaches;
- “Discover ABA” session during which country presentations were made by selected ABA member banks on their respective economies and financial markets. The country presenters included representatives from Bangkok Bank PCL Ltd., The Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, Malayan Banking Berhad, and Bank of Mongolia. In the spirit of friendly competition, a committee composed of senior officers from Mongolian Bankers Association was formed to select the Best Country Presentation, which was later won by The Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam
- A session on “Sustainable Energy Finance” co-organized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the MBA and the ABA to discuss, among others, how financial institutions can promote and discover new business opportunities in more energy efficient productions and technologies which leads to development of the low carbon economy.
- The Ulaanbaatar gathering took on added significance as it was the first time the ABA held its Conference in Mongolia. ABA Chairman Lorenzo Tan said that the ABA was very pleased that the MBA had graciously offered to host this year’s meeting, thereby giving ABA members – especially those from other countries – the opportunity to visit the country’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar and to strengthen ties with their Mongolian colleagues and explore their future role in the country’s increasingly robust market. MBA President Mr. Bold Magvan said that MBA was honored to host this year’s 30th ABA General Meeting and Conference as it served as a good occasion for the MBA and its members to share with other bankers from the region the investment and business opportunities that Mongolia has to offer.
- With this year’s gathering bringing together financial regulators and senior representatives of ABA member banks operating in the Asian region, the ABA and the MBA expressed their hopes that discussions will not only be of commercial interest to the participants, but will also be useful to both associations in their efforts to help shape policies that affect the region’s development.
- During its Ulaanbaatar gathering, the ABA also held its 48th ABA Board of Directors’ Meeting and convened the ABA Policy Advocacy Committee, at which members discussed policy issues of concern to the banking sector, and planned out the activities and programs of the Association for the next year. Among others, as part of its policy advocacy work, the ABA:
- Proceed with the survey among members to obtain information on the particular issues each of them is currently experiencing in implementing FATCA. The survey results are expected present a reference point each one may benchmark against, and perhaps calibrate their own responses thereafter.
- Issued a position paper entitled “Multiple stakeholder engagements for making financial services affordable for inclusion” – In the paper, the ABA noted the numerous challenges faced by banks and financial institutions responsible for the supply of financial services as well as the people at the bottom of the pyramid who have created a huge demand for the financial services. The key challenge faced by banks and financial institutions is the commercial viability and the business sustainability in servicing this sector. The key challenge faced by the demand side is convenient and easy accessibility of the financial services and affordability of financial services to make meaningful linkages and partnerships with banks and financial institutions. According to ABA, the solution requires greater engagement of the multiple stakeholders. Global multilateral agencies (like the World Bank, IMF, IFC, IDB, and ADB, the respective governments and regulatory institutions (like the Central Banks, Ministries of Finance), and the private sector corporate entities have a significant role in the engagement of capacity building and market creation. The ABA pointed out that practical measures are available in light of the maturity of each stakeholder’s will, capacity for innovation and the cost effectiveness of creating more viable and pragmatic financial services, products and solutions measures to empower nearly half of the world’s population.
- Issued a second position paper entitled “FATCA Compliance” – The paper focused on the implications for Asian banks of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (ACT) of the United States which require foreign financial institutions to report to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service accounts held by U.S. nationals in exchange for being exempt from a 30% tax on US-sourced income. According to the ABA paper, FATCA and the proposed regulations that are being considered by the U.S. Treasury Department to implement it are raising deep concerns among financial institutions throughout the world, especially to Asian banks. Identifying some of the negative implications of FATCA on banks and financial institutions, the paper called on ABA member banks to start its dialogue with their respective governments as soon as possible on the best approaches for mitigating the adverse impact on their operations.
- Agreed to actively promote – with the assistance of relevant government and multilateral regional organizations – the usage of the following documents approved by the ABA Board in 2005, namely: (a) the set of informal workout guidelines embodying the principles of informal workouts suggested by the Asian Development Bank; and (b) the template agreement based on a revised form of the Model Agreement to Promote Company Restructuring.
- The ABA Advisory Council elected Dong-Soo Choi, Senior Advisor of Hanwha Group of Korea, as its new Chairman, replacing ABA’s Founder Dr. Jeffrey L. S. Koo from Taiwan, who passed away in December 2012. The Advisory Council is composed of former ABA chairmen and eminent persons in banking and finance who will give advice to the officers and to the Board to ensure continuity and stability of policies and activities that would redound to the benefit and improvement of the Association. Mr. Choi served as Chairman of ABA in 2004-2006 when he was President/CEO of Chohung Bank in Korea.
- The ABA Board passed a resolution to give a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award to the late ABA Founder and Chairman Emeritus Jeffrey L. S. Koo in recognition of his important contribution to the establishment and growth of the ABA as a regional bankers organization aimed at promoting cooperation among banking communities in the Asia-Pacific region.
- The ABA approved the admission of two new Associate Members, namely, BPC Banking Technologies (Asia Pacific) Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based company that provides card management and e-payment solutions for the global banking industry, and Eurotechzam S.A., a US-based company specializing in IT security products for ATM machines, and plans to expand its market reach in Asia, particularly in China, Japan and South Korea.
- The ABA formally announced that it will hold the 31st ABA General Meeting and Conference in 2014 in Muscat, Oman, with Bank Muscat as the host organization. The exact date and venue will be decided at a later date.