Clear sense of direction

February 2, 2005

Pakistan’s banks have been facing up to privatisation and anti-money laundering measures and there are more challenges ahead. Farhan Bokhari reports from Karachi.

Political uncertainty mars bright economy

February 2, 2005

The economy is thriving and banks’ performances reflect this, but president Chen Shui-bian faces political difficulties in promoting the next phase of financial reform, writes Dennis Engbarth in Taipei.

Tsunami fails to dent optimistic outlook

February 2, 2005

Simon Montlake reports from Bangkok on the pre-election mood and discovers that the tsunami disaster has not dented Thai bankers’ confidence.

Finance Minister Asia

January 3, 2005

Jin Renqing, Finance Minister, China

India relaxes private bank investment rules

January 3, 2005

Foreign investors will be allowed to acquire up to 74% of private Indian banks, up from 49%, India’s finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, announced in early December. This clears up doubt over whether foreign investors could participate in the consolidation of the fragmented private banking sector.

Yoshiyuki Fujisawa

January 3, 2005

Since Merrill Lynch acquired Yamaichi Securities in 1998, it has not been an easy passage for the firm’s Japanese business. But, as Yoshiyuki Fujisawa tells Sophie Roell, this year, the tide has turned.
It may have been a long time coming, but Merrill Lynch’s Japanese operations have had a bumper year. The bank chalked up about $130m in profits, making it the most lucrative foreign brokerage in Japan. “We enjoyed a good year last year,” says Yoshiyuki Fujisawa, chairman of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities. “And hopefully, this year will be [good], too.”

Central Banker Asia

January 3, 2005

Ishrat Husain, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan

Small players take initiative in China

December 1, 2004

Insisting on majority control, it took Nestlé most of the 1980s to negotiate its first direct investment in China. At that time, even one of the world’s largest and best capitalised multinationals was nervous about doing such a deal.

The winning ways of a profit generator

December 1, 2004

Morgan Stanley’s China business is highly profitable, says co-head of China investment Jonathan Zhu. He tells Karina Robinson, in Beijing, about the bank’s winning strategies.
China may be slowing down as the authorities cut back on credit availability but foreign investment banks’ business is being boosted: as the government puts the brakes on credit, domestic companies are turning abroad for their funds and Morgan Stanley is one of the beneficiaries.
The US-headquartered investment bank ranks number two in Chinese equity capital markets in the year-to-date with a deal value of $2589m, giving it a 19% market share, according to data provider Dealogic.

How Hong Kong made its own luck

December 1, 2004

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Henry Tang tells Karina Robinson the reasons he believes are behind the resurgence of China’s Special Administrative Region.
Q To what do you ascribe Hong Kong’s economic recovery? You have upgraded your forecasts to 7.5% GDP growth in 2004.
A A combination of factors. They say timing is everything and I agree. In the first quarter of 2003, when I was Secretary of Commerce, Industry and Technology, the figures were already showing signs of recovery. Unfortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel was the headlight of an oncoming train. It was a situation where a budding recovery was ruined by one quarter of [the respiratory disease] SARS. [But in addition] the Free Trade Agreement was signed with the People’s Republic of China. [People saw that the mainland government] was prepared to put money where their mouth is. It is not just one country two systems, they also support us and help us improve our situation [for example through allowing] individual travel [for China mainlanders]. Also, Hong Kong people are particularly adaptable and resilient. I have lived in Hong Kong for the better part of my life and have seen Hong Kong come through many crises.

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