It is indeed a great pleasure to be here this morning to launch the CIMB Investment Bank Branch, its Private Banking Unit and Private Client Services. I wish to thank CIMB for the kind invitation and the opportunity to say a few words at this auspicious event, which I believe is important milestone for CIMB.  We are indeed pleased to see CIMB expanding its presence in Sabah.


The financial services industry in Malaysia is a critical component of the economy. It is a key driver of economic growth as it mobilises funds to other sectors of the economy for development. In view of this, the 9th Malaysia Plan identifies the financial services sector as one of the key sectors of the economy. A vibrant financial services sector is important to help move the Malaysian economy up the value chain, whether at national or at state level.


With the 9th Malaysia Plan focusing on regional development, Sabah is among regional centres for growth and development with an allocation of RM17.2 billion by the Government to fund various development programmes and projects. This is critical in the context of the Sabah economy, particularly in the government’s effort to diversify the economy away from its dependence on finite natural resources. Some new areas with great potential for economic growth in Sabah are agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. The active support of banks will be a key success factor to ensure that funds are mobilised to these sectors of the economy to spur their development.


With the key growth areas identified, the next step is to build strong companies in those areas. Currently there are about only 25 Sabah-based companies which are listed on Bursa Malaysia out of a total of 1029. In addition to accessing more efficient funding, these listed companies also enjoy higher profile, enhanced credibility, more publicity and recognition. As such it is also easier for them to secure business as well as attract and retain good employees.


Our aim is to nurture strong local companies which have the potential for listing. In this respect, an investment bank like CIMB will be able to play a role in providing corporate finance and advisory services to local companies which have listing potential. Companies which are at an early stage of development may look to CIMB Investment Bank for other funding and growth options, such as venture capital and private equity financing with a view to exit either by listing or a trade sale at a later stage of maturity. In addition to funding, these companies will benefit from having a corporate investor who will guide and nurture their growth.


The role of a bank is not merely confined to dollars and cents.  Banks also have a role to play in promoting better corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.  Given the strength and reputation of CIMB Investment Bank, it is able to play a major role in leading the move to better corporate responsibility and governance. The State Government hopes that by its active presence in the state economy, the Bank can help pave the way towards enhancing corporate governance and financial disclosure amongst Sabah companies in line with international standards.


Corporate responsibility also encompasses a social aspect. The objectives of a bank ought to go beyond making profit. Banks are well placed to take the lead in corporate social responsibility. Banks operate within communities, and therefore stand to benefit if the community prospers. As such, in the course of its operations, a bank should also help build a better society.


A key role that a bank can play in this respect is to ensure that good quality banking services is made available to all sectors of the Malaysian society. One of the challenges which the state faces is ensuring that our entire population, including the rural and less affluent, has access to quality banking services.  This should not be just the domain of the urban population or the rich.  This is important in Sabah which has a significant rural population.


The presence of CIMB Investment Bank in Sabah is a welcomed addition to the financial services sector in Sabah. It gives customers in the state an opportunity to broaden their access to the financial markets and to the different options and instruments based on their needs. Since CIMB Investment Bank offers customers both conventional and Islamic solutions, it is well positioned to serve the broad range of customers in Sabah. It is my hope that CIMB will strive for the highest level of corporate responsibility and offer the best possible financial products and services in Sabah.


On this note, it gives me great pleasure to launch CIMB Investment Bank Branch, its Private Banking Unit and Client Services in Kota Kinabalu.


Thank you.