INVESTMENT BANKING | Jason Oliver, Malaysia

Malaysia's Islamic banks targets of foreign takeovers

It may seem the most unlikely of partners, but new banking liberalisation laws in Malaysia will let foreigners own up to 70 percent of an Islamic bank, up from 49 percent. Goldman Sachs Islamic Bank, anyone?The opening up of foreign equity holdings in investment and Islamic banks, as well as insurance and Takaful firms in the country, is a good move to further boost the efficiency of the sector, reported the New Straits Times.It will also provide some vibrancy within the banking sector in the long term."It is continuing good news. Banks will benefit from the measures announced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak," said Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies to Bernama, here today.Under the liberalisation, Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, announced that the foreign equity holding in investment and Islamic banks as well as insurance and Takaful firms had been increased to 70 percent from 49 percent.

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