Welcoming Remarks


YBhg Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar
Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia

at the

World Capital Markets Symposium 2009
10 August 2009
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia,

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun-Tun,

Honourable Ministers and Chief Minister,


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.


On behalf of the Securities Commission Malaysia, welcome to the inaugural World Capital Markets Symposium. It is wonderful to see so many of you here today. There are more than 500 people from over 30 countries attending this symposium. You have all taken time off, from your busy schedules; and many of you have travelled from afar to be with us. I am so grateful for your presence. Your participation will surely enrich the symposium all the more.


This symposium comes at a critical time for all of us. The financial crisis that began in 2007, and the contraction in economic activity that has taken place as a consequence, has resulted in what is regarded to be the worst global downturn in over 60 years. One positive outcome of the crisis, at least, is a greater willingness to examine existing policies and practices, and consider a wide range of alternatives. Around the world, policymakers, regulators and financial market practitioners are looking at ways of dealing with and mitigating the impact that the crisis has wrought. These endeavours are being pursued internationally through various platforms by governments, international regulatory bodies, multi-lateral agencies and industry.


The G-20, the United Nations, the financial and capital market regulators through their respective international bodies, are now involved in dialogue and discussion on potential responses to the crisis as well as the design and implementation of new regulations. And there are similar endeavours by the industry and by academicians to address the wide range of economic, financial and social issues that the crisis has raised.


However, avenues for wider public debate over the issues we face have been less forthcoming. While the media and the internet have certainly facilitated active discussion, there is a need to encourage wider participation and debate through formal platforms which will facilitate high quality discourses on these issues. The purpose of this symposium therefore is to provide an avenue for a wide cross-section of stakeholders to share their perspectives on the crisis and their thoughts on options going forward. It aims to synthesise the different levels of dialogue that have been taking place, to help improve mutual understanding and deepen our knowledge to meet the collective challenges we face.


To do so, this symposium brings together outstanding thought leaders, policymakers, regulators, economists and finance practitioners from around the world to Asia where a large fraction of the world’s population resides and where some of the biggest economies are experiencing reasonably strong growth. Asia has shown more resilience during the recent crisis, partly because of significant reforms undertaken over the past decade following on from the Asian crisis. These include efforts at strengthening overall economic management, enhancing supervision of financial institutions, reforms in corporate governance and stronger investor protection mechanisms. While there may be useful lessons that we in Asia can share based on our experience, there are nevertheless significant issues arising from the current crisis that will have an important impact on us, and that we need to learn from, as we seek to expand the role of our capital markets.


Each of the issues is complex, and contains many different elements which often involve some kind of trade-off. For instance, at the forefront of the current debate on regulation, is the attention focused on the need to strike a balance between financial stability and investor protection on the one hand, and financial innovation and liberalisation on the other. Addressing them requires us to consider a broad range of themes, from the roles of regulatory versus market discipline, to the role of alternative approaches, such as Islamic finance, in complementing the prevailing financial orthodoxies.


Tackling such issues will need the collective input of all stakeholders involved, whether at the level of the individual, institution, industry, government or international regulatory bodies. The need for greater inclusion of sovereign nations is especially pronounced in dealing with the issue of long-term trade-offs for the world economy. Emerging markets which have responded to the calls for greater openness and market liberalisation have become more integrated with the global financial system, and are now experiencing similar challenges to those of their more developed counterparts. How should such countries respond to these challenges as they seek to expand the role of their capital markets in channelling savings toward production and growth? And perhaps equally importantly, what role should Asia be playing in the future global economic and financial landscape?


These are only some of the issues we now face. And we will no doubt unravel many more during this symposium and in future deliberations among governments, regulators, practitioners and academics. There is still so much that we do not know: how well governments will work together to develop effective global trade, fiscal and monetary policies; what all this will imply for globalisation and economic growth; and what these developments will mean for the global capital markets in the long term.


Ladies and gentlemen, change is imminent and we are at a critical turning point. Dealing with the crisis and its aftermath requires a broad menu of initiatives, both public and private. There is a need to re-assess the global financial landscape, re-examine the way markets function and re-consider the way we operate. Today’s symposium is an opportunity for you to be a part of this process – an event where interaction and dialogue, discourse and debate can flow freely. Your active participation will not only give this symposium a truly global perspective, it is also crucial in ensuring that all voices are heard in the search for global solutions. For fellow Malaysians, this gathering also offers a unique opportunity to engage on issues impacting the expansion and further deepening of the Malaysian capital market.


In this regard, we are fortunate to be able to hear from two of Malaysia’s own thought leaders. Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and His Royal Highness Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the crown prince of Perak, have been free with their advice, strong in their encouragement and gracious in their participation in this symposium. I would like to extend to them a special thank you. I would also like to thank the Honourable Ministers and senior officials from Malaysia and other countries in Asia for agreeing to participate in our event despite your very demanding schedules. This symposium would of course not have been possible without the strong support and active participation of our other eminent speakers and panellists, who have come from around the globe to take part in this initiative.


Thank you also to our partners – the Malaysian institutions and intermediaries as well as the media – both local and international for their support. I have no doubt that we will all gain immensely from this symposium. I am confident that the outstanding panel of speakers will inspire insightful, provocative and useful debate and that the symposium will be a highly stimulating experience. I hope that this symposium offers the opportunity for you to broaden your network of friends and contacts, and to our foreign guests, do enjoy the unique sights, sounds and flavours that comprise Malaysia.

Thank you very much.