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Sat, Feb 10, 2001 - Page 18 News List

Asset company expected in March

BANKING Taiwan's first asset management company, to be appropriately named Taiwan Asset Management Co, is expected to apply for its business license by March

By Stanley Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's first asset management company (AMC) is expected to apply to authorities for a company license with a registered capitalization of NT$25 billion before the end of March, the Commercial Times reported yesterday.

The new AMC -- officially named Taiwan Asset Management Co (TAMC, 台灣資產管理公司) -- announced the schedule at its first meeting on Thursday.

The company's founding shareholders are 35 domestic banks. It is scheduled to complete its incorporation registration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (經濟部) before the end of March which will make it the first AMC in Taiwan. The Bankers Association (銀行公會) has been active in setting up the company, since the finance ministry's green light at the end of last year.

An AMC disposes collateral held by domestic banks generated from NT$1 trillion-plus non-performing loans.

Lin Cheng-kuo (林振國), former finance minister and ex-chairman of the Association of Foreign Trade (外貿協會), has been named as the chairman of the company in the first founders' meeting.

According to Lin, the company has currently raised NT$15 billion in capital from its 35 member banks. In the next stage, another NT$10 billion would be raised from foreign investors and domestic non-financial institutions. The new company is scheduled to operate in the second half of this year, with NT$25 billion of capital.

"The first AMC is expected to fully develop its AMC function in one to two years," said Lin at the founders' meeting.

"After the company is established, it will dispose of problematic assets held by member banks at an early stage. But it will also accept problematic assets from non-member banks if we are asked to do so," said Lin.

Lin added that before it applies for a corporate license next month, there would be at least five more banks participating as member banks, which would mean the number of member banks would exceed 40.

The board of directors will consist of nine to 15 members. Currently, nine directors have been named, and six more directorships have been left for future shareholders, including foreign investors and non-financial institutions, according to Lin.

"A number of foreign and domestic companies have expressed interest in participating in the new AMC. After the operation plan is completed, we will invite these potential investors," said Lin.

"According to Article 15 of the Financial Institutions Law, the losses after banks sell their problematic assets to AMCs, can be written off in the next five years," said Lin. "Through auctioning by the AMCs and financial assets service companies (FASCs), the long period time required by a court's auctioning process could be shortened. The AMC will provide an alternative for the banking industry when disposing of problematic assets."

Since the business of an AMC is a new field for domestic banks, how TAMC is going to compete with foreign players has become a controversial issue.

"First, I would like to stress that establishing an AMC is not like building a space shuttle -- it does not require such high technology," said Lin. "We do not have to see the task as extremely difficult. Actually it's quite simple to run an AMC if it operates efficiently on disposing problematic assets from domestic banks. If we apply new concepts and a positive attitude, and manage it with flexibility, I believe we will complete the task. We just have to be self-confident."

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