As UK-based financial and related professional services (FRPS) firms consider the business implications of ASEAN’s rising economic dynamism, rapid growth and creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), it’s increasingly clear that there are many opportunities that they can pursue in the region. However, as this paper highlights, it’s important to assess and prioritise those opportunities in light of the specific context, competitive environment and potential barriers that apply in each case.
A further factor is that the opportunities in ASEAN vary widely in nature and scale between the different segments of UK-based FRPS. In banking, the ASEAN market’s increasingly free flow of products and services will open up growth opportunities in both retail and wholesale. The development of the small and medium enterprise (SME) segment will boost the potential for commercial banking, and advances in financial infrastructure will open up possibilities in retail e-payments and mobile connectivity systems. The growing trade flows will drive demand for transaction banking and related services, while rapid infrastructure development will play to the UK’s strengths in project finance and syndicated lending. A key part of this will be senior level commitment in governments to developing Public Private Partnership (PPP) approaches.