KUALA LUMPUR 21 AUGUST 2017. Chairman CIMB Group, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak (second right), Executive Chairman, Securities Commission (SC) Malaysia Chairman, ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh (second left) during the Asean Roundtable Series, Deepening Capital Markets in Asean: Opportunities and Challenges at Menara CIMB. Pix by SAIRIEN NAFIS

KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission has called for the creation of an Asean Markets Information Hub (AMIH), which could be used towards further deepening of the region's capital markets.

Executive chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh said there are a myriad of issues that stand in the way of a total Asean capital markets integration and the lack of information is a big portion of that.

"We need to bring together an AMIH, where regulators and the industry themselves put together research and information of their capital markets and big corporates," he said this morning at CIMB Asean Research Institute (CARI)'s Asean Roundtable Series.

"There should also be information on ongoing taxation policies so that investors would have a comprehensive research point where they can navigate from."

The formation of AMIH, said Ranjit, could be spearheaded by a few key players from Asean.

In fact, he said, CIMB Group could also lead the way for Malaysia.

"There must be a few key players in Asean that could do it, and hopefully the Malaysia side could be led by CIMB. This information hub capabilities is already done in other parts of the world and I believe that can create some traction, if not Asean asset class will remains just an aspiration," said Ranjit.

CIMB Group chairman Datuk Sri Nazir Razak had earlier put forward the idea of a creation of an Asean Capital Markets Virtual Board, that could outline the market capitalisation and other information of the best performing corporates in the region.

"This Virtual Board would be able to give information on things like stock prices, its current investors and the benefits that could be gain in investing in these companies and countries.

"It should also be able to give comprehensive information on inter-border taxation issues, which is a major hurdle to investors," said Nazir.

"Ultimately, the Virtual Board would be useful to further promote inter-Asean trading as well as beyond," he said.

Nazir is also of the opinion that Asean as a whole needs to focus more on substantive real obstacles to intra-Asean capital flows rather than the "lofty" dream of fully integrated capital markets.

"Asean need to step up its efforts to promote intra-Asean investment as most Asean investors tend to instinctively looked at developed markets for diversification," he said.

"It is therefore important for Asean to focus on more substantive real obstacles to intra-Asean capital flows in both debt and equity markets, such as witholding taxes and settlement processes and not just high profile and easier initiatives."

Titled "Deepening Capital Markets in Asean: Opportunities and Challenges," the roundtable was moderated by CARI chairman, Tan Sri Munir Majid.

Established in 2011, CARI is the first independent, transnational research institute dedicated solely to the advancement and acceleration of Asean integration.