Banks in the Asia-Pacific may be better capitalized than their Western counterparts, but navigating the different regulatory regimes and market practices across the region is challenging for companies.  

Author: Denise Bedell

Tax and regulatory regimes are many and varied in the countries that make up the Asia-Pacific region. With multiple currencies and diverse macroeconomic outlooks, disparate banking systems and inconsistent technological and physical infrastructure, managing cash and liquidity across the region can be challenging at best.

One of the key concerns for corporate treasurers is staying on top of changing domestic regulation. China has once again enacted measures to restrict capital outflows—creating fears that it may retreat on promises to liberalize its currency and cross-border investment.

In April last year, the National Payments Corporation of India introduced the Unified Payment Interface for speedier person-to-person and e-commerce transactions and for compliance with know-your-customer regulations.

Other regulations that are impacting companies in Asia include the Bank for International Settlements’ Basel III capital-reserve requirements. Banks in Asia are well positioned to meet the standards, as many jurisdictions have more-stringent capital
restrictions in place than those stipulated under Basel III.

Other key concerns for Asian corporate treasurers are geopolitical in nature, such as the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, for example.

There is uncertainty surrounding Asia’s trading relationship with the United States—particularly trade ties with China—and how it is likely to change under the new Donald Trump administration. Although a great deal of rhetoric suggests Trump could enact trade barriers and import taxes, how that plays out remains to be seen.

President Trump has pulled the United States out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have given preferential trade treatment to signing members in the Asia-Pacific region—including countries such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

On the other hand, corporate treasurers continue to benefit from the fast pace of digitization and technological advancement across the region.

Companies ranging from small and medium-size enterprises up to the largest blue-chips are anxious to go digital-first with banking partners. And regulators—particularly in Hong Kong and Singapore—are driving this trend by pushing companies away from a check culture toward electronic payments and digital money.

As is the case elsewhere, transaction banks in the region need to work with the best and brightest financial-technology companies to deliver the high-end solutions their clients are looking for to improve customer interaction, increase data availability and ensure the safety and security of their data. 


Best Overall Bank for Cash Management

DBS Bank

Best Bank for Liquidity Management

China Construction Bank

Best Provider of Short-Term Investments/Money Market Funds

JP Morgan Asset Management

Best Bank for Payments and Collections


Best Bank for Working Capital Optimization

Standard Chartered



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