The outlook for Islamic banking

May 2, 2005

As Pakistani authorities grant the third licence to a wholly Islamic bank, Farhan Bokhari reports from Karachi on this emerging sector.

The right people are hard to find

May 2, 2005

There is a dearth of well-trained managers to fill the new posts that are being created to cope with banks’ consumer services, Farhan Bokhari reports from Karachi.

Growth continues but challenges remain

May 2, 2005

Prime minister Shaukat Aziz tells Farhan Bokhari in Karachi that Pakistani banks are poised for further growth. But there are mixed opinions about whether the country’s economic recovery is sustainable.


May 2, 2005

Another active issuer this year has been Rabobank, whose offerings include a €1.25bn five-year benchmark deal in January, which generated solid demand in Asia.
“We do some benchmark issues in dollars but, over the past 18 months, we’ve generally found it more cost effective to issue in euros,” says Patrick Mitchell, head of funding at Rabobank in Singapore. “The amount of our euro-denominated paper placed in Asia has increased over the past 12 months, and 20% of a euro benchmark trade would now typically be sold in Asia.”

European bond issuers hit the sweet spot

May 2, 2005

Although Asian investors still favour dollar-denominated bonds, their interest in euro deals is growing, stimulating European issuers to work on building up their Asian investment base. Michael Marray reports.
European bond issuers are devoting an increasing amount of their time to the Asian investor base, tapping into the fast-growing demand for fixed income assets from central banks and private accounts.

Exotic options

May 2, 2005

Whereas us and European retail investors are used to investing in more traditional investment products such as mutual funds, Asian investors demand something rather more exciting. This has led to great innovation in exotic options and UBS is one bank creating innovative new structures to be sold direct to investors or wholesale through private banks.

Asia hails arrival of the hybrids

May 2, 2005

As new frameworks such as Basel II are implemented by Asia’s regulators, the region’s banks will have to adopt innovative new ways of raising debt and capital.Brian Caplen explains.
In the grim days following the Asian financial crisis, efficient capital management was not a concept much in vogue with the region’s banks.
Staying alive in any shape or form was the focus, not fussing about different forms of capital. But now the onward march of regulation in Asia and new demands from shareholders are concentrating the minds of bank management.

HSBC seeks small fry to land big profits

April 4, 2005

HSBC in India is preparing for an expected boom in the SME sector by targeting smaller businesses that have growth potential. Kala Rao reports from Mumbai.
No customer is too small for HSBC, says Subir Mehra, who heads the bank’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business in India. That is what prompted it to mine its retail banking customers in India, looking for small businesses that are poised to grow dramatically in a fast-expanding economy.

Regulation change puts India’s foreign banks on a short leash

April 4, 2005

New regulations for foreign banks in India have ended hopes of unrestrained growth in the expanding retail finance market. Foreign banks cannot acquire a local private bank except in the case of a weak bank, identified by the regulator. Additionally, local subsidiaries set up by foreign banks will not be able to open branches freely.
These restrictions will stay in place until 2009, when fuller deregulation is expected, including allowing market acquisitions of local private banks.

Power to the people

April 4, 2005

State-owned Kiwibank may be small but it is gaining popular support, writes Virginia Marsh in Wellington.

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