35th ABA Conference in Maldives

"Banking in Asia: The Next Frontier"

15-16 November, 2018, Kurumba Resort, Maldives

Summary Report of Proceedings


x 2018 1205 01I. Introduction

1. Some 150 bankers from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and other regions – composed mainly of members of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) led by ABA Chairman Mr. Daniel Wu, President of the CTBC Financial Holding Co. from Taiwan – gathered in Maldives on November 15-16, 2018 for the 35th ABA General Meeting and Conference. Hosted and organized by Bank of Maldives under the leadership of its Managing Director and CEO Mr. Andrew Healy, the 2018 gathering of ABA Members was held at the Kurumba Resort. It was the first time that the ABA held its annual gathering of members in Maldives.

2. This year’s conference carried the theme “Banking in Asia: The Next Frontier”. The two day event provided another valuable platform for ABA members to meet and network with each other and to exchange views with invited speakers on (a) current trends and developments in the regional and global markets that are expected to have significant impact on the banking and financial sector of the regions, and (b) how industry players can address the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by these developments.


x 2018 1205 08aII. Opening Ceremony

3. The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Ahmed Naseer, Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority, the country’s central bank, In his address, Governor Naseer stated that Maldives, with its nationwide telecommunication coverage, has reached a milestone o financial inclusion, in the fields of telecommunication and mobile finance payment services, He also noted that the improvements in innovations in regards to cryptocurrency, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) have taken the traditional banking industry to a “whole new level”, adding that “it has allowed financial institutions to be connected to customers, anywhere, anytime through digital channels.”

Ahmed highlighted the importance to utilize upcoming technologies to break geographical barriers and to address the underserved populations, adding that 33 percent of adult Maldivians are yet to open a bank account. In spite of these hurdles, the Governor said that MMA has a very ambitious plans to upgrade and modernize the country’s financial system which includes the development of a safe and robust payment infrastructure, to embrace and implement FinTech (Finance Technology) solutions and to strengthen institutional capacity as it acts as a “key ingredient in catalyzing the benefits of the supporting infrastructure.” He stressed, however, that the implementation of FinTech requires “a major overhaul in the current regulations” as these issues exist outside the current regulatory standards. Furthermore, Ahmed said that much of the on going narrative in the emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchains amount to a growing lack of trust in the financial system. “The financial sector requires as a whole to be more vigilant to the potential risks along with the technological advancements.”

4. Bank of Maldives Managing Director and CEO Mr. Andrew Healy in his Welcome Statement noted that over the past decade, new technologies have dramatically transformed the delivery of financial services. At the same time, incredibly innovative technology firms have catapulted themselves into the financial industry, creating new value and choice for the customers, he added. :No one disputes the pressure that exists for traditional banks to adapt and collaborate . But what will be just as critical is managing the risks associated with these new technologies. As we move forward, striking a balance between technological advancement, risk management, and sustainability will be critical.”

5. ABA Chairman Mr. Daniel Wu in his Opening Statement said that holding the ABA Conference in Maldives provides members a valuable opportunity to gain a better understanding of the country’s market – its economy, its trade and investment potentials, its banking and financial sector, and its people and manpower resources. Furthermore, it serves as an occasion for us to establish contact with important decision makers in business and government, and with the important players in Maldives’ banking and financial industry, thereby helping our members in their effort to seek and identify business opportunities in the country.


x 2018 1205 12III. The Three Plenary Sessions

6. The Conference consisted of three Plenary Sessions that featured eminent speakers from both government and the private sector shared their views and insights on the following timely and relevant topics:

6.a Plenary Session One focused on the topic “Technology in Banking: The Next Wave” Invited experts examined the potential impact of technology on banks and the probability of disruption in their particular business environment and what changes they need to do on their existing business practices in order not to risk compromising their growth and value.

The session’s speakers and panelists were Mr. Neal Cross, Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer, DBS Bank; Dr. Shahab Javanmardi, CEO of Bank Pasargad IT Holding Company ; Mr. Michael Araneta, Head of Research, IDC Financial Insights Asia/Pacific ; Mr. Rajan Narayan, Managing Director, BPC Banking Technologies (Asia Pacific) Pte. Ltd.; and Mr. Sanjay Uppal, Founder and CEO, StraitsBridge Advisors. The session was chaired by Mr. Jonathan Alles, Managing Director and CEO of Hatton National Bank from Sri Lanka.

6.b. Plenary Session Two addressed the topic “Risk Management Imperatives in the New World Order.” Discussions focused on how industry players can tailor their processes to identify, prioritize, understand and measure emerging and evolving risks, while also understanding their impact and setting in place appropriate monitoring and early warning indicators to mitigate risks as they crystallize.

The session’s speakers and panelists included Ms. Chuchi G. Fonacier, Deputy Governor, Financial Supervision Sector, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Ms. Ingrid van Wees, Vice President for Finance and Risk Management, Asian Development Bank; Mr. Mohamad-Reza Mostafid, Consultant to the CEO, Bank Pasargad; Mr. Wolfram Hedrich, Partner at Oliver Wyman and

x 2018 1205 13Executive Director, Asia Pacific Risk Center, Marsh & McLennan Companies; Mr. Dilshan Rodrigo, Chief Operating Officer, Hatton National Bank; and Dr. Le Xia, Chief Economist for Asia, BBVA Research. The session chairman was Mr. Mahesh Kumar Sharma, Regional Head, East Asia, State Bank of India.

6.c. Plenary Session Three tackled the issue “Sustainable Banking: Challenges and Opportunities.” Invited speakers shared their perspectives on how banks can incorporate sustainability principles into corporate strategy funding decisions and product/service definition processes, in order to play an influential role in supporting environmentally and/or socially responsible projects and enterprise.

The speakers and panelists for the session included Ms. Anna Batenkova, Deputy Head Asia, Sustainable Finance Engagement Manager, WWF Singapore; Dr. Niven Huang, General Manager, KPMG Sustainability Consulting Co., Ltd, Taiwan and Regional Leader. KPMG Sustainability Services in Asia Pacific; Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman, Green Finance Committee of China Society for Finance and Banking; and Mr. Michael Lor, Senior Advisor Asia Pacific, European Financial Management Association (EFMA). Chairing the session was Mr. Peter B. Favila, Member of the Monetary Board, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Member, ABA Advisory Council.


x 2018 1205 05IV. Special Sessions: Host Bank Session, Discover ABA & Special Presentations

7. As in previous years, the two-day event also featured the following special sessions

7.a. Host Bank session – Organized by Bank of Maldives, this session focused on the topic “Digital Transformation: The Future of Banking.” The featured speakers included Mr. Michael Nott, Director Partner Engagement Asia/Pacific, American Express; Mr. Michael Breen, Vice President, Digital Commerce Solutions, MasterCard; and Professor Hassan Ugail, Director, Center for Visual Computing, University of Bradford

7.b. “Discover ABA” session – This special session featured country presentations by selected ABA member organizations on the economic conditions and current developments and growth prospects in the banking and financial markets of their respective countries, or on special initiatives that have benefited their stakeholders and which be adopted by other member banks. The country presenters included: Mr. Mohamed Shareef, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations, Bank of Maldives; Mr. Satoshi Nakagawa, Special Advisor to the President for Global Strategy, Japanese Credit Rating Agency; Mr. Chandula Abeywickrema, Chairman of Lanka Impact Investing Network; Mr. Shirish Pathak, Managing Director, Fintelekt Advisory Service Pvt. Ltd.; Mr. Vicente de Villa III, Officer-in Charge, Financial Technology Sub-sector , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; and Mr. Unenbat Jigjid, Executive Director and Secretary-General, Mongolian Bankers Association. The session chairman was Mr. Oliver Hoffman, Managing Director and Head of Asia, Erste Group. In the spirit of friendly competition, the delegates were requested to vote for the Best Country Presentation, which was subsequently won by Bank of Maldives.


V. 55th & 56th ABA Board of Directors

8. During its Maldives gathering, the ABA also convened the 55th and 56th ABA Board of Directors’ meetings during which they discussed internal policy issues and took action on a number of important matters, including the following:

8.a. The ABA elected members of the Board of Directors composed of 23 member-banks from 15 countries who would serve for the next two years from 2018 to 2020. The member banks that were voted into the Board included the following:

Asian-Based Banks

(1) Bank of Bhutan, Bhutan
(2) The Bank of East Asia, Ltd., Hong Kong
(3) State Bank of India, India
(4) EN Bank, Iran
(5) Bank Pasargad, Iran
(6) MUFG Bank, Ltd., Japan
(7) Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Japan
(8) Mizuho Bank Ltd., Japan
(9) Malayan Banking Berhad. Malaysia
(10) Bank of Maldives, Maldives
(11) Philippine National Bank, Philippines
(12) Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Philippines
(13) DBS Bank, Singapore
(14) Hatton National Bank Ltd., Sri Lanka
(15) Bank of Taiwan, Taiwan
(16) CTBC Bank, Taiwan
(17) First Commercial Bank, Taiwan
(18) Bangkok Bank, Ltd., Thailand
(19) The Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, Vietnam
(20) Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam

Multinational Banks with Asian Presence

(22) Erste Group Bank (HK), Austria


2018 1130 Alles 01 1028 x 578VI. New ABA Chairman elected

9. The newly elected Board elected Mr. Jonathan Alles, Managing Director and CEO of Hatton National Bank from Sri Lanka, as Chairman for 2018-2020. Mr. Mohamed Shareef, Deputy CEO and Director of Operations at Bank of Maldives, was named Vice Chairman.

10. The ABA adopted its 2018-2020 Work Program outlining activities over the next two years in the area of policy advocacy, information exchange, training and professional development, strengthening relationship with other regional and international organizations, and membership expansion.

11. The ABA also admitted The Export Development Bank of Iran and Tamadon Investment Bank as its newest regular members.


VII. ABA Policy Advocacy

12. The ABA also convened a meeting of the ABA Policy Advocacy Committee, which discussed policy issues of concern to the banking sector and planned out its activities for the next two years. Among others, as part of its policy advocacy work, the ABA:

12.a. Considered the paper on the project conducted by CSR Lanka with the Durham University UK on the “South/Southeast Asian Business Society Models “ focusing on sustainable SMEs.

12.b. x 2018 1205 06Considered the paper sharing the Bank’s experience in Islamic banking, particularly in promoting cooperation among relevant regulatory authorities, among banking units within both conventional and Islamic banking systems, and among Islamic banking system units and supervisory bodies in Islamic banking and conventional banking activities.

12.c. Considered the paper on the security measures and techniques set in place by Hatton National Bank from Sri Lanka to help prevent, detect or disrupt a cyber attack on its operations.

12.d. Considered the paper on the experiences of financial institutions in South Asia and Southeast Asia in facing the cross-border challenges of AML/CFT compliance requirements, and what actions have been taken by them to execute the implementation throughout their respective organizations.

12.e. Exchanged views on possible issues for future policy advocacy work of ABA.


x 2018 1205 22VIII. Gala Dinner and Awardees

13. During the Gala Dinner, the ABA gave recognition to its members who have demonstrated their strong support for and commitment to the objectives of ABA. Certificates of appreciation were presented to the following:

13.a. Representatives of ABA Board members who attended more than five annual meetings of the ABA since 2008. The awardees included:

(1) Daniel Wu, ABA Chairman
(2) Susan Chang, Member, Advisory Council
(3) Rajendra Theagarajah, Member, Advisory Council
(4) Peter Yuen, Bank of East Asia Ltd.
(5) Dilshan Rodrigo, Hatton National Bank
(6) Vahid Soud, EN Bank
(7) Nghiem Xuan Thanh, Vietcombank
(8) Mostafa Beheshti Rouy, Bank Pasargad
(9) Thanatphong Pratheepthaweephon, Bangkok Bank
(10) Shing Shiang Ou, Bank of Taiwan

13.b. Officers of member banks who served as Chairman of the ABA Policy Advocacy Committee during the 2008-2018 period. The awardees were:

(1) Shing-Shiang Ou, Bangkok Bank (2008 – 2010)
(2) Dilshan Rodrigo, Hatton National Bank (2010 – 2012)
(3) Elbert Zosa, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (2012 – 2014)
(4) Prudence Lin, CTBC Bank (2014 – 2018)

13.c. Member banks who hosted ABA Short-Term Visiting Programs over the past ten years. The awardees included:

(1) Malayan Banking Berhad
(2) Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
(3) Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
(4) Hatton National Bank
(5) State Bank of India
(6) United Overseas Bank Ltd.
(7) CTBC Bank

14. The ABA presented a Distinguished Service Award to Mr. Dong-Soo Choi in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, as Chairman of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) from 2004 to 2006 and as Chairman of the ABA Advisory Council since 2013, in serving the interest of ABA member banks and the Asia-Pacific banking and financial community as a whole, and for his valuable contribution in promoting the growth and development of the Association. Mr. Choi has retired as the Advisory Council Chairman and has been replaced by the Immediate Past ABA Chairman Mr. Daniel Wu.

16 November 2018
35th ABA General Meeting and Conference
Kurumba Resort, Maldives

Special Feature

Bankers' Corner: new sharing feature in ABA website

The ABA introduces the “Bankers’ Corner”, a new feature of the ABA website designed to provide a platform for members to post information or materials that you may wish to share with other members of the Association or anyone who may be interested in them. We encourage members to take advantage of this platform and send your materials to the ABA Secretariat through aba@aba.org.tw.