CEO Forum IV Attendance Record-high, goes to Malaysia in 2008

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About 100 CEOs and senior officers from ADFIAP members, partners and affiliates convened in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17-19, 2007 for the Annual CEO Forum organized by ADFIAP and hosted by the SME Development Bank of Thailand with support from the Association of Development Finance Institutions in Malaysia (ADFIM). The theme of the event was “Development Banks and Sustainable SMEs: Opportunities for Growth”. The CEO Forum V will be hosted by ADFIM in Malaysia, details of which will be communicated to all in due time.

The event, already in its 4th year of successful run, is continuously getting wider attention among CEOs and senior officials from various financial institutions, including commercial banks and other organizations considering the importance SMEs to national economic development and growth, especially to the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

There were two technical sessions with relevant topics that revolved around the theme for this year’s Forum. In Technical Session 1, “Financing Sustainable SMEs in the Services Sector”, four speakers presented and discussed different relevant issues: Mr. Vincent Tabuteau, Managing Director of Bangkok-based Asia Oasis & Asia Marine Company, talked about two eco-tourism examples in Thailand, i.e., the Lisu Lodge, an eco-village of an indigenous people and the other is the Yacht Charter business for marine tourism; Mr. Samma Kutsin, Director General of the Real State Information Center (Thailand) presented the situation of the country’s housing construction and what the government and private sector are doing to increase investment in the sector; Mr. Thiraphong Tangthirasunan, President of the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), discussed the new organic farming sector in Thailand; Mr. Rajender Mohan Malla, Chairman & Managing Director of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), presented the healthcare business sector in India, including alternative medicine and the institutions that the Bank has put up for SMEs – the credit guarantee fund, the SME rating agency (SMERA), the technology bank and venture capital company plus other vision areas of the Bank to fully cover the needs of SMEs in India.

In Technical Session No. 2, “Financing Sustainable SMEs in the Resource-based Industries”, Mr. Anat Prapasawad, Managing Director of Advance Energy Plus Co. of Thailand, talked about renewable energy opportunities as well as challenges and suggestions for DFIs to increase investment in the sector; Mr. Jay Tecson of USAID’s Eco-Asia project presented the Water Finance Fund of the Dutch SNS Real Bank and how ADFIAP members can consider setting up of a similar fund. Ms. Fatima Reyes of the International Federation of Accountants, Sustainability Expert Advisory Panel, presented the why, what and how of sustainability reporting based of the widely-used GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) as management, communication and tool for banks and financial institutions.

Three special sessions were also presented during the event. The first from Mr. Robert Rubenstein, Founder and CEO of the Amsterdam-based Brooklyn Bridge TBLI Group, featured SME finance in emerging markets such as clean technology, carbon markets, direct policy finance, socially-responsible investment (SRI), green buildings and microfinance. The other from Ms. Bernie Morgan, Chief Executive of U.K’s Community Development Finance Association (CDFA), showed that even in developed countries like the UK, there is a market failure in terms of financial access to deprived communities such as microentrepreneurs, charities, and social enterprises, women/ethnic minorities, refugees and other underserved and unserved markets. Ms. Morgan cited two case studies: Triodos Bank and Charity Bank as well as two policy tools such as the community investment tax relief and small firms loan guarantee scheme. Mr. Shinya Wako, Executive Officer and General Manager of Global Structured Finance Division of the 5th largest financial institution in Japan – the Mizuho Bank – provided the scope for opportunities for banks in the climate change space.

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