Brunei should invest more in ASEAN
BRUNEI should leverage on its familiarity with ASEAN and focus on investing in the region to generate better returns with less capital spending, an investment manager from an Asia-focused asset management firm said.
Tan Eng Teck, senior portfolio manager of Nikko Asset Management Asia Limited, said Brunei should not only seek for emerging markets to invest in but also look for other factors which includes access to information and familiarity of markets.
“If you want to invest in the Thai stock market, you can just fly a team there for two months and learn everything. But if you wanted do that in Brazil, you have to start from scratch and learn about everything,” he said in a recent briefing.
Tan said the Sultanate has enjoyed decent returns from investments in “fixed income assets” around the world. But Brunei, he said, needs need to look at future growth prospects.
He said that although Brunei has a large capital base, resources must also be wisely. The Sultanate has to look out for investments that generate higher returns with less capital.
“Given the resources that are available, you cannot spread yourself too wide,” he said.
Tan said investments such as those made towards developing in regional infrastructure can help Brunei diversify its economic portfolio.
“Investments in insurance and assets (can help) Brunei maintain a fixed cash flow and ensures that authorities achieve the financial stability they want for the citizens,” he said.
He said that Brunei is similar to Singapore in the sense that it’s able to provide capital and expertise to other ASEAN countries that may need it.
Such investments will increase the cashflow for the country and generate another source of income other than oil and gas. He said that economic diversification usually starts off “painfully” at but the country benefits from it.
By The Brunei Times
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