Malaysian central bank has no new policy on foreign ownership of insurers

While there has been no change in policy, monetary authority reminds foreign shareholders about their responsibilities

Malaysian central bank has no new policy on foreign ownership of insurers

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country’s central bank and top financial regulator, said on Tuesday that there is no new policy on foreign ownership of insurance companies, but it reminded foreign shareholders about their responsibilities.

“Foreign shareholders of insurers that have made specific commitments in applying for entry into the Malaysian insurance market, including maintaining specified levels of domestic shareholding within agreed timelines, must honour their commitment,” BNM said in a statement.

The central bank said that it is still basing its judgment of all applications for purchase of shares on the guidelines set by the Financial Services Act of 2013. Currently, a maximum of 70% of an insurance company’s shares can be held by foreigners, but there are several exemptions if the buyer plays a role in stabilising and consolidating the industry, according to The Star.

“As the regulator, BNM expects adherence to these agreements, and will play a facilitative role to ensure the commitments are met,” it added.

Several weeks ago, Reuters reported that the BNM had notified insurers wholly owned by foreign parents to reduce foreign share holdings to comply with regulations.

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