Dubai, 9 October 2008

ASEAN Securities Regulators Harmonise Disclosure Standards-improve efficiency of cross-border capital raising

The ASEAN Finance Ministers announced the release of the ASEAN and Plus Standards Scheme to facilitate cross-border offerings of securities at the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investors Seminar in Dubai yesterday.

The Scheme aims to promote the integration of the region’s capital markets, and will facilitate greater efficiency in cross-border capital-raising and providing cost savings to issuers making multi-jurisdiction offerings within ASEAN.

Malaysia, through the Securities Commission (SC), has played a key role in leading the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), a high level grouping of ASEAN securities regulators, to develop harmonized standards of disclosure as well as other initiatives that will promote and achieve greater integration of the region’s capital market.

“This initiative is a key step forward in achieving the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint of an integrated ASEAN capital market by 2015. The Scheme will increase the attractiveness of ASEAN as a combined capital market for fund-raising and raise disclosure standards among ASEAN members to an international level, further enhancing the region’s competitiveness globally,” said the Minister of Finance II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop in Dubai.

Under the Scheme, issuers seeking to issue equity or debt securities in more than one ASEAN country will be required to prepare only one set of disclosure documents, with additional limited wrap-arounds for multi-jurisdiction offers.

“The Scheme is one of the many initiatives undertaken by ACMF to promote closer linkages among member countries. This initiative provides opportunities for companies in the region to access savings pools within ASEAN for fund-raising purposes as well as provide opportunities for investors with greater investment choices and lead to the promotion of more intra-ASEAN flows. Other initiatives by the ACMF are currently being worked on which will further promote the growth of the region’s capital markets,” said the SC Chairman Dato’ Zarinah Anwar.

The Scheme comprises a set of common ASEAN Standards, and additional requirements prescribed by individual members known as the Plus Standards.

The ASEAN Standards are based on the standards on cross-border offerings developed by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). They also fully adopt the accounting and auditing standards of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and International Standards on Auditing (ISA).

Meanwhile, the Plus Standards contain additional standards that are required by some ASEAN jurisdictions due to their particular market practices, laws or regulations.

Given the different levels of capital market and regulatory development of ASEAN member countries, the Scheme operates on an opt-in basis depending on the readiness of ASEAN member countries.

The ACMF is a high-level forum of securities regulators in ASEAN, created under the auspices of the ASEAN Finance Ministers in April 2004, to advise on capital market-related initiatives in the region and to discuss regulatory and developmental issues of common concern within ASEAN. The SC recently concluded its three year chairmanship of the ACMF.