Brunei to host inaugural capital market forum as it continues to develop financial industry

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Associate Dean, School of Graduate and Professional Studies, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Eskandar Shah Mohd. Rasid (C), Manager, Capital Markets at AMBD, Siti Nurul Hamizah binti Hj Kula (R) and Manager, Strategic Communications and Relations at CIBFM, Julius Hong (L) during the Brunei Islamic Capital Market press conference held at CIBFM. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Waqiuddin Rajak

Brunei will host its first ever capital market forum as the sultanate actively looks for best approaches to continuously develop its financial industry.

The Brunei Islamic Capital Market Conference (BICAM), to be held from October 22 until 23, is set to gather financial experts from the region to talk about challenges faced by market players globally.

Discussions during the forum are expected to revolve around finding the best infrastructure and logistical solutions that could benefit Brunei and its potential capital market partners in the region.

The convention is a collaboration between the Centre for Islamic Banking, Finance and Management (CIFBM) and Malaysia’s International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), with Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) as its supporting partner.

INCEIF’s Associate Professor Dr Mohamed Eskandar Shah Mohd Rasid said the conference could serve as a stepping stone for Brunei to develop better a capital market platform.

“Being a newcomer, Brunei is actually in a very unique position where it could study and assess best practices and mistakes of other market players – and incorporate them in their approaches,” he said.

“So instead of positioning itself as a competitor and focusing on meeting its timeline, Brunei should first take an ample time to learn and discover its own means of evaluating its own readiness sustainability,”

“But most importantly, Brunei should develop its own value proposition, so it could set itself apart from the rest of the global players,” he added.

The conference could also discuss geopolitical and geographical factors to help industry players build unique capital market platforms that provide solutions to achieve investment growth.

“So instead of focusing on the state market, Brunei should take up on its status as a member of ASEAN, and as a resident of Borneo,” he said.

“If Brunei is only covering its own state-market, that is only as large as 400,000 people, then it might only have limited number of services it could offer.

“But ASEAN countries combined have about 700 million people, sparking greater potential for capital market investments to grow, so as a start, perhaps Brunei could look into countries like Sabah and Sarawak, who are aggressively developing and see if it can strike a link there,” Dr Mohamed Eskandar Shah said.

On a broader scope, the associate professor said Brunei is also at an advantageous position due to the uncertainties of the global markets especially in the Middle East.

“With the rise of petro-dollars, this is high time for Brunei to take up on those investments, develop a solid ecosystem that is trust-worthy and transparent,” he said.

“Brunei has all those strength to tap into this liquidity, and as an observer, I think the country has a very high chance of succeeding in it.”

The Bruneian