Asean steps up financial systems integration talks

By: Michelle V. Remo, March 26th, 2012 09:53 PM

The Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries have intensified talks on the integration of their financial systems, believing that this will complement the development objectives of the region and its members.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the integration, which was targeted for completion over the medium term, would cover capital markets, financial services, and payments and settlements.

Guinigundo said integration in these areas would help boost financial activities in the region.

In the area of capital markets, the BSP official said, integration would allow cross-listing of equities in stock markets in at least two countries. It would also allow an individual from one country to buy stocks of firms in another country.

In terms of financial services, he said integration would allow banks based in the country to put up branches in another country.

In the area of payments and settlements, Guinigundo said integration would make it easier for an individual to pay for goods, services, or a financial product purchased from other Southeast Asian countries.

Integration will also entail a clearing system for cross-country payments, he said.

Integration of financial systems is also hoped to strengthen economic ties among Southeast Asian countries.

Unlike the European Union, Southeast Asian countries are not keen on having a common currency or a common monetary authority, officials said. Asia is, however, moving toward making it easier for people in the region to transact business and engage in financial transactions across boundaries.

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