Central market players in SARC region support agenda of Regional Financial Integration within South Asia

LAHORE: “SAFE’s project on developing a harmonized regulatory framework shall serve as a first step towards building a financially integrated south Asian region”, said Mr. Aftab Ahmad Ch., MD Lahore Stock Exchange and Secretary General SAFE during a press briefing session held by SAFE of its USAID Small Grants Program funded project on developing a regionally harmonized regulatory framework, on Thursday, 21st March 2013, at Lahore Stock Exchange, Lahore.

Mr. Aftab, in his speech, emphasized on the need to increase cross boarder financial activities within the South Asian region to create strong intraregional links and an integrated economic region. “Multiple success stories of cross border linkages of exchanges in European Union EU, North America and Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN have been witnessed”, said Mr. Aftab.

SAFE’s prime consultant Mr. Amir Raza Khan, gave an informative presentation on the project progress for the month of March 2013. Main focus of the presentation was to appraise the participants about the consultants’ visits to SAARC countries with the objectives of building relations with the industry working groups; appraising them about SAFE’s project objectives and outcomes; briefing on IOSCO guidelines and getting stakeholders’ feedback on regulations amendments.

The concept for this project, entitled, “Regional Financial Integration – Developing a Harmonized Regulatory Framework for the Capital Markets in Pakistan & South Asia”, has been developed under the specific needs identified by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC Secretariat of facilitating regional financial integration. The objectives of the project are to develop harmonized market regulations for the capital markets; to standardize self regulatory framework for the management and the operations of the markets in the region; to enhance market integrity and investor confidence; to introduce consistent & common reporting standards; to improve the governance and transparency norms for the listed sector; to facilitate easy capital raising on regional basis and the promotion of cross border listings; to deepen and broaden the region’s securities markets; to assist in, relatively, free movement of capital and portfolio investments; and to promote the greater integration of the South Asian capital and financial markets. The project calls for submission of six 6 reports in total, visits to regional countries and international federations and exchange bodies, and conducting regional advocacy moots.

This project is made possible with the help of American people though Small grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program SGAFP, a grant program launched by USAID Pakistan to help Pakistani communities implement their initiatives.
As part of its commitment to the Pakistani people, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID seeks to secure a self-sustaining economic future of Pakistan by nurturing more efficient economic environment. USAID Pakistan believes that SAFE’s project shall serve as a landmark initiative to achieve economic growth, not only in Pakistan, but all across the South Asian region.

SAFE is a cooperative platform launched by the bourses in South Asia with a purpose to promote the development and harmonization of the securities markets in the region. SAFE is a not for profit association having Recognized Body status of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC, and is a network exchange association of the World Federation of Exchanges WFE. The operations, activities, and the programs of Federation are primarily funded by its member exchanges, while some specific projects get sponsorships from some multilateral donor/development agencies. As of January 2013, SAFE comprises of thirty four 34 member entities from the SAARC Region Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well as from Kazakhstan, Mauritius and UAE.