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Malaysian Bank Chief Outlines Challenges of New Markets.

The governor of Malaysia's central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, urged insurers to be cautious in trying to realize the potential of their business in emerging markets.

In the keynote address at the 2nd International Conference for Emerging Markets in a Globalizing Economy, Zeti Akhtar Aziz said "tremendous opportunities" were still available, noting that less than 10% of 1998 premium income was from emerging economies.

"We are here to look at how these opportunities can be harnessed and developed," she said at the conference in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur: "Such benefits need to be realized by all parties concerned. It is therefore important to ensure that the process of globalization takes into account the capacity of individual nations to cope with the challenges."

Zeti Akhtar cited four major challenges in emerging markets:

* there is "increased competition from established players better skilled and more focused on core areas";

* there are "new sources of competition from nontraditional players, such as asset managers and independent financial advisers." She pointed to Internet players whose use of new technology allows them to improve the range and performance of their products while cutting prices for consumers;

* insurance companies must adapt to technologies that have "fundamentally changed the way business is conducted"; and

* insurers must meet the needs of more sophisticated and knowledgeable customers.

Meeting these challenges, Zeti Akhtar said, is a shared responsibility of government, the international community, regulators and the private sector, which together face a task that "must engage the participation of all."

Governments, she said, "will need to determine the pace of liberalization, taking into account differences amongst nations." They will be increasingly concerned with adapting the regulatory framework to the new environment, Zeti Akhtar said.
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Title Annotation:Zeti Akhtar Aziz addresses insurance industry challenges
Comment:Malaysian Bank Chief Outlines Challenges of New Markets.(Zeti Akhtar Aziz addresses insurance industry challenges)
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Previous Article:Global Market Has Room For Large and Niche Players.
Next Article:Redesign of Pension, Health Products Urged.

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