Indonesia ready to restart FM licence approval process

Prudential Asset Management could be one of the next firms to benefit, having recently designated a chief executive for the branch it is hoping to set up in Jakarta.
Indonesia ready to restart FM licence approval process

Indonesia's capital markets regulator, Bapepam, has not handed out any fund-management licences since the global financial crisis struck in September 2008, but Prudential Asset Management could be set to benefit from a relaunch of the approvals process.

A source familiar with the matter says the UK firm has designated Shahrul Azlan Shahriman as chief executive for its Indonesia funds business. Currently based in Singapore, he will relocate to Jakarta if the firm is successful in obtaining a licence. The asset manager's parent, UK-based Prudential Corporation, already has a life insurance business in Indonesia and has a top-three position in the market.

Shahriman's previous role was chief officer of the private and institutional asset-management department of Prudential Fund Management in Kuala Lumpur, having joined the firm in that role in July 2008. He has 10 years’ experience in the banking and financial services industry, holding various positions in sales and business development.

A Prudential spokeswoman declined to comment for this article, other than to say: “Given our existing, strong Prudential life insurance business and Prudential brand in Indonesia, and the strong economic growth in that market, there is clearly potential that we have been exploring for some time, but it would be wrong to speculate about when or if this might occur.”

Bapepam has said it is ready to start approving licences once more and plans to send out a circular this week with more details, says Abiprayadi Riyanto, president director at Jakarta-based Mandiri Investment Management and chairman of the Association of Mutual Funds of Indonesia.

Bapepam did not respond to calls or emails for comment by press time.

Some market participants say it is by no means a certainty that the regulator will award Prudential AM a licence.

For instance, before a company can apply for a licence, it must have people with the relevant local certification in place covering several different functions, notes a Jakarta-based fund-management marketing executive. For a foreign company, that means either hiring entirely locally based people who already have the relevant qualifications, or having people sit the required exams.

And since it’s unlikely that Prudential AM would staff the new office entirely with already-qualified locals, says the executive, the firm will need to have at least some of its employees take exams.

That said, the global financial environment is very different from, say, two years ago. In addition, Prudential would presumably have no difficulty meeting the new capital requirements, and the firm would seem to fit with Bapepam’s desire – according to market participants – to see “quality names” entering and committed to Indonesia’s asset-management industry for the long term.

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