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UK and ASEAN deepen ties on financial services via the new ASEAN-UK Financial Services Collaboration Package


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The ASEAN-UK Financial Services Collaboration Package, agreed by ASEAN’s Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at the 11th ASEAN’s Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (11th AFMGM) on 05 April 2024, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, is a comprehensive set of initiatives designed by UK experts to support ASEAN’s goals and boost the UK-ASEAN relationship. The Package brings together leaders from the UK’s private and public sector to work with ASEAN decision-makers on ways to achieve their vision for deeper financial integration across Southeast Asia.

The ASEAN-UK Financial Services Collaboration Package will focus on three areas, key to global financial services trade.

1. Market Infrastructure

ASEAN is committed to a resilient, transparent, and forward-looking approach to market infrastructure, allowing businesses to operate with greater certainty. Through the Package, the UK will share its own policy experience to support ASEAN in ensuring that these regulatory developments are keeping up with global trends and challenges.

2. Green Finance

ASEAN is well-placed to be a leader in green growth. Global trends show that adopting greener practices can have real benefits for companies, including increasing profitability and lowering operating costs, increasing competitiveness and resilience, and opening access to new markets and sources of finance. Through the Package, the UK will share our experience and expertise to support ASEAN’s goal to meet international standards, learn about financial products designed to deliver high value sustainable infrastructure, and increase the flow of green capital.

3. Access and Inclusion

ASEAN is home to a diverse and rapidly growing population, with many individuals and businesses currently underserved by traditional financial institutions. Through the Package, the UK will foster partnership with ASEAN to create innovative and inclusive financial solutions that meet the needs of ASEAN’s growing market. This strand will focus on support for small businesses.

“This marks a step change in ASEAN-UK relations”, said the UK’s Ambassador to ASEAN, Sarah Tiffin.

She added:

The UK became a Dialogue Partner to ASEAN in 2021 and is committed to supporting ASEAN’s economic and financial integration to boost ties between our businesses and our citizens. Given the UK’s leading global role in Financial Services, it has been identified as a top priority for ASEAN-UK economic collaboration. This Financial Services Package will deliver on those commitments, bringing together the best of UK private and public sector experience to engage directly with ASEAN counterparts. With the ASEAN-UK Economic Integration Programme also rolling out across the region, the UK is reinforcing our credentials as a strong Dialogue Partner for ASEAN across the vital economic agenda.

A key feature of the Package is the central role world leading British banking and financial institutions play. The Package is a demonstration of government and the private sector working hand-in-hand to share expertise with ASEAN.

The United Kingdom and ASEAN are natural partners when it comes to financial inclusion, sustainable finance and market infrastructure”, said Surendra Rosha, co-Chief Executive of HSBC Asia-Pacific.

He said:

ASEAN is one of the world’s fastest growing trade blocs and one of the most promising digital economies, with a big role to play helping the world get to net zero. As one of the largest financial groups in the UK, with deep roots throughout Southeast Asia, HSBC is proud to support this cooperation, which will undoubtedly benefit our customers.

Standard Chartered have also welcomed the Package.

“This Package reflects the close partnership between the UK public and private sectors to support ASEAN’s ambitions in financial integration, financial inclusion, and green finance”, said Patrick Lee, Cluster CEO for Singapore and ASEAN Markets, Standard Chartered.

He added:

As a global trade bank with origins in the UK and our longstanding and deep-rooted presence in ASEAN, we are committed to sharing our financial services expertise and capabilities – alongside other leading UK institutions – with ASEAN and ASEAN member states. The benefits of this collaboration for us and our clients in the region are clear: we believe it will bring greater regional connectivity, grow opportunities for green investments, and enhance access to financial services in the region.

Speaking from London, Nicola Watkinson, Managing Director at TheCityUK, described the Package as:

An exciting step forward in deepening business ties between the UK and ASEAN markets. The financial and professional services industry plays a vital role in the economic growth of both the UK and ASEAN, helping to fund vital infrastructure, address climate change, and support households with their everyday needs. It is great to see the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ meeting identified tangible ways we can collaborate now that the UK is a Dialogue Partner. We look forward to working with the UK Mission to ASEAN and industry partners to capture the benefits offered by this initiative.

His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner to Asia Pacific, Martin Kent, said:

I am delighted that the UK and ASEAN are deepening our partnership on financial services. The UK is a leading financial hub, as Europe’s top destination for inward investment stock and London being home to some of the strongest capital markets in the world. The UK already exports £1.9 billion worth of financial services to ASEAN, and this is only set to grow. I look forward to the innovations and partnerships that will come out of this Package.

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