Deepening Association of Southeast Asian Nationsâ€™ Financial Markets
ï»¿ï»¿This paper discusses the financial landscape of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a region engaged in building an economic community (a â€œsingle market and production baseâ€) by 2015. In particular, it reviews where ASEANâ€™s financial markets and institutions now stand and suggests possible ways in which they might be developed further to meet the aspirations of the region. Diversity characterizes the ASEAN financial landscape today. While some countries have relatively developed capital markets, commercial banks and insurance companies, in the others neither the markets nor the institutions are well developed. But regardless of where they are today, size is the critical constraint in all of ASEANâ€™s domestic financial systems. Thus, promoting regional financial integration is essential to developing a financial system with sufficient depth and liquidity. To support market development and financial integration, regional cooperation would be particularly useful, which could take the form of creating new institutions, such as : a mechanism for monitoring financial integration; a region-wide deposit insurance system; a regional credit rating scheme; a regional financial market supervisory system; a region-wide payment and settlement system; capacity building initiatives; and a consumer protection system. ASEANâ€™s consensus-driven decision-making process has delayed many of the institutional reforms critical to integration. The ASEAN leaders must recognize that the ASEAN principles and ideals that have worked well in the past in creating the unity of purpose may no longer be adequate in this fast changing world. In order to succeed in achieving the level of financial development commensurate with high-income status by 2030, the ASEAN member countries must go far beyond what is likely achievable in the early phases of the ASEAN Economic Community by surrendering more of their national sovereignty to create regional institutions with binding rules.
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