Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 10 News List

FSC drums up interest in Taiwan

OVERSEAS TRIP Lloyd's of London, as well as some UK banks, have expressed interest in investing here, the FSC head said on his return from a trip abroad

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Returning from his overseas trip, Financial Supervisory Commission chairman Kong Jaw-sheng (龔照勝) yesterday heralded success in winning interest in Taiwan-bound investments from world-renowned financial institutions, as well as the world's leading insurance market -- Lloyd's of London.

"Upon invitation, the insurance giant expressed interest in setting up offices here in Taiwan," Kong told a press conference yesterday.

Lloyd's, which is the world's second-largest commercial insurer and sixth-largest re-insurer, has a capacity to accept insurance premiums of US$4.9 billion this year and provides specialist insurance services to businesses in 189 countries.

Frank Ling (凌氤寶), a top policymaker at the commission, further highlighted the significance of Lloyd's possible future investment in Taiwan.

Insurance market

He said that the investment would help accelerate the local insurance market's internationalization and facilitate a healthy brokerage system while providing a re-insurance channel for local insurers, which could further take advantage of Lloyd's business know-how.

To help facilitate the insurance giant's expansion plan, the commission will immediately revise administrative regulations so that the company can soon set its foot here, commission vice chairman Lu Daung-yen (呂東英) added. Current regulations do not allow individual insurers to set up insurance businesses.

Ling, moreover, said that he hopes Lloyd's will stimulate the launch of captive insurance businesses in Taiwan, which provide coverage at a lower cost than is available in the general insurance market.

Other than Lloyd's, both Barclays Bank, which withdrew from Asian markets in 1995, and Barclays Capital also expressed a willingness to set up offices here, Kong said.

"They will extend their commercial banking and capital banking businesses into Taiwan's markets," he said.

Prudential Insurance Company of America has also expressed a commitment to Taiwan by shopping for a commercial building to be used as its local headquarters, according to Kong.

Overseas offices

Since New York City and London are the world's two biggest financial markets, Kong yesterday said that his commission plans to set up offices in both cities to extend its supervisory power over domestic banks' foreign branches.

"The to-be-established New York and London offices will closely cooperate with their regulatory bodies while reaching out to other world-renowned financial institutions there," Kong said.

The commission's international affairs department will soon undertake studies to propose a detailed plan, he said.

In addition, the chairman yesterday said that Taiwan is mulling a measure to implement dual listings on one of three foreign trade markets, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), all of which he visited during his two-day trip.

Kong said that the CME would consider listing its mini-gold index on Taiwan's market, while also expressing interest in inviting Taiwan's electronics index and financial index to list on its market.

Taiwan also inked a memorandum of understanding with the NYMEX to seek cooperation in the exchange of information, talent and financial products, Kong said.

On Oct. 28 and Oct. 29, Kong headed a delegation to attend a financial roundtable held by the International Organization for Governmental Securities Commissions. Members of the delegation included top policymakers Jerry Huang (黃顯華) and Rebecca Wu (吳琮璠) from the commission, Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp chairman Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) and Chinese Securities Association (券商公會) chairman Chien Hung-wen (簡鴻文).

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