The financial sector’s inclusion in free economic pilot zones may boost revenue for banks and securities houses by NT$70 billion (US$2.31 billion) a year, five times the original forecast of NT$14 billion, Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman William Tseng (曾銘宗) said yesterday.
Tseng updated the projected revenue amount during a ceremony to usher in a series of regulatory easing measures, effective today, and pledged further opening up to help domestic financial institutions expand at home and abroad.
“As financial heavyweights said, the pace of financial liberalization in the past year has been like that of an entire decade [in the past],” Tseng said.
The commission vows to allow financial institutions greater room to grow, to enable one or two domestic banks and securities houses to develop into significant players in the region in 2016, he said.
The inclusion of the financial sector in the free economic pilot zones is to benefit offshore banking and securities units, which may offer financial services and products to institutional customers without seeking prior approval from the commission.
The opening up could help stop fund outflows and facilitate repatriation, as various surveys show that Taiwanese prefer to have their wealth managed from home so they can have better and easier oversight of their assets, he added.
In addition, various financial institutions are planning to hire 20,070 more employees this year, more than the estimate of 1,250 job opportunities linked to the opening up, Tseng said.
The expanded offshore business would also generate an extra NT$3.24 billion per year state coffers, higher than the original forecast of NT$540 million, he added.
“The commission is making history in the development of [domestic] financial firms now that they have gained significant headway in improving their asset quality,” Tseng said.
The sector’s bad loan ratio has dropped from 9 percent in 1999, in the wake of a regional financial storm, and 11.76 percent at the height of a local credit card debt problem in 2002, to 0.36 percent at the end of January, according to the commission’s latest statistics.
Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp chairman Lee Sush-der (李述德) said the agency would lend a helping hand in the opening-up process, as the sector plays an important role in the nation’s job market and GDP makeup.
The nation has more than 8,000 financial companies, employing 750,000 people, with the market value of listed financial firms accounting for 1.85 percent of GDP, Lee said.