Malaysia: Malaysia's Labuan IBFC To Embark On Vietnam With Its Diverse Offerings And Transparent Structures

Last Updated: 3 June 2016
Article by Labuan IBFC Inc.

The midshore jurisdiction sees potential opportunities in business enterprises in Vietnam

Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) sees Vietnam as a potential market and confident that its diverse offerings and transparent structures will attract business enterprises in this emerging economy.

Enhanced trade and economic activities between Vietnam and Malaysia is a positive indication of growth for Labuan IBFC and the jurisdiction hopes this will be continuous business interests of both countries.

Leveraging on this, Labuan IBFC believes that its unique proposition as a gateway to Asia and a midshore international business and financial centre will have an important role to play.

Speaking at his opening remarks at the Ho Chi Minh city chapter, part of the IndoChina leg of Labuan IBFC ASEAN Roadshow 2016, CEO of Labuan IBFC Inc Sdn Bhd Danial Mah Abdullah said, "Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Malaysia is on an upward trend and as both countries play significant roles in the growth and prosperity of Southeast Asia.

"We believe this is where Labuan IBFC's unique proposition plays an important role ― as the gateway to Asia and a midshore international business and financial centre ― and how we can be a natural choice for business enterprises in Vietnam.

"By offering a regional "home" to businesses across the region, Labuan's role as key facilitator of trade within the region is reinforced."

He added that the total bilateral trade between the two countries was approximately US$7.8 billion in 2015 and Malaysia was the largest foreign investor among the ASEAN members with total pledges of US$2.47 billion in the country.

"Labuan also has an expanding business footprint in Vietnam with Labuan banks providing loans to corporations operating in Vietnam amounting to close to half a billion US dollars. Insurance companies in Labuan IBFC have also provided reinsurance facilities to insurance companies in Vietnam. These are some of the examples of how Labuan IBFC's value propositions can be taken advantage of by business corporations from Vietnam", said the CEO.

Commenting on the outbound investment of Vietnam, managing partner of ZICO Law Vietnam David Lim said that Vietnam-based companies will continue to grow steadily, albeit it is growing at a faster rate than most ASEAN countries.

"Although Vietnam's outbound investment is still considered small compared to other countries around the world, it is growing at a faster rate than most ASEAN member nations.

"Year 2015 saw an increase in outbound investment with an estimated US$20 billion invested abroad by Vietnam-based companies. The general consensus in the business community is that outward investment from Vietnam based companies is set to continue to grow.

"In this perspective, Labuan IBFC offers some very interesting opportunities for investors seeking to structure their operations on a regional basis." Lim said.

Sustainable growth for Labuan IBFC

Sudden upsurge in growth is never the intended way how Labuan IBFC operates. The business activities are about adherence to strict international protocols and regulatory frameworks while offering business friendly environment.

Danial said, "We have quietly yet confidently grown over the years while complementing other financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

"It has always been about growing the business sustainably. We have implemented strict rules and regulations on all business activities carried out in Labuan IBFC right from the beginning to allow legitimate business to continue to thrive."

Transparency remains a top priority for Labuan IBFC

There are now heightened demands for greater transparency and effective exchange of information across all international financial centres.

"We welcome this development as business activities in Labuan IBFC have always been conducted under a strong set of rules and regulations that ensure the orderly establishment and operations of Labuan business entities including the licensing of financial institutions.

"Indeed the international focus on traditional offshore financial centres to some extent has allowed Labuan IBFC to stand out as one of the centres that abides to the international standards and best practice of good governance and transparency," Danial said.

He explained that as Labuan is part of Malaysia, it would be a natural move for Labuan IBFC to be committed to the global standards and requirements on transparency and exchange of information in addition to providing a business friendly operating environment.

"We believe that as businesses have to adopt the new normal of higher transparency requirements, it would be natural for them to consider establishing substance in a well-regulated jurisdiction which facilitates cross border transactions and investments. We would like to say that this jurisdiction is Labuan IBFC," the CEO added.

An ideal entry point for international businesses

The economic integration through the ASEAN Economic Community has allowed Labuan IBFC to be positioned as an ideal entry point for investors and businesses into the ASEAN,

"Investors and businesses gain access to a larger and more extensive marketplace in ASEAN while operating in a tax and currency neutral environment in Labuan IBFC," said the CEO.

The event in Ho Chi Minh city also consisted of presentations from ZICO Law and ZICO Trust on "Going Regional: Opportunities and Challenges for a Home Grown Company" and "What are International Business and Financial Centres: An Introduction to Labuan IBFC".

A panel discussion on "How can Asian Home Grown Businesses and Families Develop into Regional Powerhouses?" was also held during the event.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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