Business / Markets

New Asian group to promote regional financial institutions

By Jiang Xueqing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-31 08:10

An association to deepen financial cooperation in Asia is expected to be launched in July, according to Cai Esheng, head of the Preparatory Working Group of the Asian Financial Cooperation Association.

The AFCA aims to maintain regional financial stability, fight against risks and make the voice of Asian institutions louder in the global financial market.

It will also promote connectivity among its members, hold high-level forums to discuss the challenges they face, make standards on financial innovation and services and build a platform for cooperation in areas including financial infrastructure construction and risk management.

As a nongovernmental organization, the AFCA will be open to financial institutions both in and outside Asia. With 38 institutions and associations as its originating members, the group will try to expand its membership to countries like Australia, New Zealand and India.

Cai, also as former vice-chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said: "Once the association is established, it will increase the role of Asia as a whole in the global financial market, apart from enhancing development of the region through connectivity, cooperation and communication."

He said the current Asian financial cooperation setup is not adapted to the trends of financial globalization. The main platform for Asian cooperation so far has been ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea cooperation mechanism. It does not include deep participation by countries in Central and Western Asia.

At present, bilateral financial cooperation in Asia is largely concentrated on trade financing and currency swap, which are limited in scope and size. The regional multilateral financial cooperation is still at the preliminary stage, having difficulties in promoting construction of the monetary and financial stability system, the investment and financing system, as well as the credit system.

"The AFCA will push the development of Asian financial markets in many areas, such as innovation, bond issuance and anti-money laundering. We are looking for ways to persuade the private sector to participate in Asia's infrastructure development through public-private partnerships. At the same time, we're trying to find a better commercial model," he said.

Ha Yung-ku, chairman of the Korea Federation of Banks, one of the 38 originating institutions of the AFCA, agreed that Asian financial institutions have to think seriously about how to play a bigger part in global financial markets.

"If you look at the size of the economy, GDP and trade flows, Asia is very big. But compared with the role of Asian financial institutions in the global financial system, it is relatively limited due to dominating global players from the United States and Europe.

"Through the AFCA, we will air our voice more to international regulators. At least we can continuously make suggestions to reflect the realities in the Asian financial market," he said.

In his view, with this kind of platform, a much deeper relationship will be established among Asian financial institutions and associations, along with more efficient communication.

Jerry Zhang, chief executive officer and executive vice-chairman of Standard Chartered China, said the bank is pleased to participate in the AFCA as a founding member.

"Under the conception of connectivity and deepened cooperation, we believe the AFCA would act as an effective and influential cooperative platform for the financial industry in Asia and promote Asian financial and economic growth.

"The association would play an important role to communicate and promote the Belt and Road Initiative among the participating countries and across the world," she added.

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