KUALA LUMPUR: Experts believe that a consolidation among banks in Malaysia will be beneficial and bring about a push for a greater innovation.
During the Bursa Malaysia-Maybank Sectorial Series "Why Malaysia” webinar today, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) chief investment officer, private and strategic investments, Rick Ramli said there will be some benefits from consolidation in the banking sector, especially to the subscale players but mostly in the subsequent months or years.
"The financial market today is very different from the days before the (Asian) Financial Crisis in 1997-1998. Banks have reaped the benefits from consolidation in the sector and most of them are now strongly capitalised and highly resilient,” he said.
According to Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Datuk Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir, a consolidation among banks makes a lot of sense for the purpose of sectoral innovation.
He said with a population of more than 30 million population, customers will not be affected by a consolidation and opined that escalating costs have hindered small players in the sector from innovating.
"When you look at the industry itself, compliance costs are getting huge and capital is becoming really expensive.
So when there are smaller entities facing pressures with capital and compliance, it is very difficult for them to innovate and shift to digital, for example, he said.
Hence, Amirul Fiesal said it helps if the sector is sizeable, so that smaller players can innovate, adding that "a lot more can be done” instead of remaining a small player.
"The main thing in a consolidation is about timing and valuation,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan said the fund will be supportive of this (consolidation) transformation.
"We look forward to opportunities that come up and will actively support (it) when we can see the value. This doesn't mean, of course, that it's going to be easy.
"But as long as we are clear that the reform is necessary for long term stability, I think we should support (it),” he said.
Bursa Malaysia Bhd chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, however, said a consolidation in the sector should be commercially driven rather than government-mandated.
"Any consolidation in the financial industry must be value driven. At the end of the day, it must bring value to the stakeholders,” he said. - Bernama