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Stronger capital markets needed for business growth

A webinar also explores how best Bangladesh can build on its success and improve its attractiveness to investors

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 17 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Stronger capital markets needed for business growth

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Speakers at a webinar have highlighted the need for broadening and deepening Bangladeshi capital markets and the opportunities for investors and issuers that reforms could bring.

Participants shared their insights on the role of regulators, the important role pension funds and institutional investors could play, the private equity and start up ecosystem, and the current state of the mergers and acquisition market.

The discussion demonstrated how well the Bangladesh economy is performing relative to its neighbours and how best it can build on that success and improve its attractiveness to investors. 

The British High Commission in Bangladesh organised the webinar on Wednesday titled “Bangladesh Capital Markets: A New Frontier”.

Planning Minister MA Mannan attended the event as Chief Guest. The event was also joined by Rushanara Ali, member of the UK Parliament and the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Bangladesh. The webinar was attended, among others, by senior government officials and representatives from private and public sector organisations.

The officials included Sultana Afroz, secretary and CEO of Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA), Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Prof Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), Md Mahbubur Rahman, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh, and Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh.

The webinar explored the functioning of Bangladesh’s capital markets.

It looked at how reform and modernisation in financial sector including stock market can support increased private sector investment and help Bangladesh achieve sustained economic growth as it enters its next 50 years.

The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Bangladesh Rushanara Ali MP congratulated Bangladesh on its 50 years of independence.

She applauded the economic goals Bangladesh has set to reach Upper Middle-Income country by 2031 and a High-Income Country by 2041.

“A strong and modern UK-Bangladesh financial sector partnership has potential for mutual benefits,” she said. “The basic ingredients exist: Bangladeshi banks are present in the UK and British financial services companies like, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, operate in Bangladesh,” she said. Md Mahbubur Rahman, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh said, despite challenges, Bangladesh’s economy has proved to be resilient with consistent high growth in the last decade and growth volatility below regional average.  CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh, Naser Ezaz Bijoy said Bangladesh is getting ripe for Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) activities on the back of a probable post-pandemic K-Shaped economic recovery.

The webinar was also addressed by Henry Tillman, chairman of Grisons Peak Services, Ifty Islam, chairman of Asian Tiger Capital, Fahim Ahmed, president of Pathao, Srini Nagarajan, managing director and Head of Asia, CDC, Nishant Kumar, managing director for Asia, GuarantCo, Fiona Stewart, lead financial sector specialist of World Bank, Nuzhat Anwar, acting country manager of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, IFC, and Tarique Amin Bhuiyan, managing director of Dhaka Stock Exchange.

Nuzhat Anwar said well-developed domestic capital markets can be key to building more resilient financial systems – systems that better mobilize local currency finance. Srini Nagarajan said, “Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it could emerge as one of the strongest economies in the South Asia region.”

 “Since 2020, it has increased its market capitalisation by over a third,” Nagarjan said. British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson highlighted the role the City of London can play in helping to bridge the investment needs of Bangladesh’s private sector.

“Private capital investment in business and infrastructure will play an increasing role in powering the next stage of Bangladesh’s growth after Least Developed Country graduation,” he said.