Press Release: ASEAN: One Region, Unlimited Opportunities

The ASEAN Finance Ministers conducted the second Investor Seminar under the theme of “One Region, Unlimited Opportunities” in London on 21-22 September 2005. Following the success of the inaugural seminar with the US investors in New York last September, the ASEAN Finance Ministers met and discussed with over 200 European investors the investment opportunities arising from closer integration of ASEAN and further trade and investment ties with neighbouring countries in Asia.

Eight countries namely (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam representing 10 nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: ASEAN) and twenty five ASEAN corporates were represented in this event. The Seminar was facilitated by Credit Suisse First Boston.

The Ministers emphasised that, as a region, ASEAN is endowed with great potentials.  ASEAN countries have committed to implement comprehensive economic and financial reforms aiming at enhancing the economic efficiency and stability.  These reform policies and measures have reshaped ASEAN’s political, economic and corporate landscapes that underpin the renewed strength and justify the region’s claim as an attractive destination for both international portfolio and direct investment. 

In particular, the Ministers highlighted the new business and investment opportunities for foreign direct investment as well as portfolio investment in the eleven priority sectors, or the so-called “growth sectors”, as progress is made and measures are put in place to fast track the integration of these sectors by the year 2010. Furthermore, under the Roadmap for Financial and Monetary Integration of ASEAN, capital markets in the region will be increasingly integrated. Appropriate modalities, such as greater linkages among the regional exchanges, are being explored. Capital account measures will be gradually relaxed or removed as necessary to accommodate the expected increase in intra-ASEAN investment flows resulting from the linkages.

To highlight and promote ASEAN equities as an asset class, the Ministers also launched the FTSE-ASEAN Indices which were created in partnership with the FTSE Group. Two indices have been created; FTSE/ASEAN Index that has 180 constituents and will be the benchmark for the regional markets, and the FTSE/ASEAN 40 – the tradable index suitable for institutional and retail funds, Exchange Traded Funds and derivatives contracts. These indices are the first internationally recognised indices that have been created for the ASEAN equity markets as a regional grouping. The indices are also expected to raise the profile of the leading ASEAN companies to global investors and encourage greater direct investments.