Malaysian financial services giant bullish on Sri Lanka

Friday, 9 March 2012 02:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Malaysia’s second largest financial services provider CIMB Group is bullish on post-war Sri Lanka and prospects for financial services.

Early this week CIMB entered into a strategic collaboration with John Keells Stock Brokers as part of a phased entry in to Sri Lanka. CIMB Group is also one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, Kazan, the equivalent of Singapore’s Temasek, is the single largest shareholder.

CIMB Group Deputy CEO and CIMB investment Bank CEO Charon Wardini Mokhzani told the Daily FT in an exclusive interview that their clients have shown interest in investing in Sri Lanka.

“We strongly believe the outlook is bright for the country. Sri Lanka has had experienced significant economic development and is supported by a good regulatory and policy environment including strong incentives provided by the Government,” he said.

According to him after nearly three decades of conflict, Sri Lanka was now growing into a high growth emerging market. “This new phase of accelerated development and growth is underpinned by political stability, a favourable investment platform – especially for foreign investment, and strong socio-economic fundamentals,” Mokhzani said in comments via an email interview.

CIMB also believes that Sri Lanka is on the cusp of tremendous growth and has the potential to provide significant returns to investors. “Many of our ASEAN clients are already present in Sri Lanka and we would like to encourage more to look towards this dynamic nation as a positive long-term investment destination,” the CIMB Group Deputy CEO said.

He pointed out that Sri Lanka is on a high growth trajectory supported by sound macro-economic fundamentals. “It is also poised to emerge as a major global hub in the South Asian region for trade, logistics, investment, communications, and financial services. There isn’t a better time for ASEAN countries to enter Sri Lanka,” he said. CIMB official also forecasts Sri Lanka is poised to maintain 7-8% real GDP growth over the next five years. “The positive market activity reflects the new trajectory that has been forged for economic growth in Sri Lanka. However, in order to further develop its capital market, we are of the opinion that there could be more listings – including that of some State institutions as well as of more debt. There is currently a very small corporate debt market,” Mokhzani pointed out.