Sunday, December 17th, 2017


Lauda says Lufthansa wants to ‘destroy’ Niki airline

BERLIN, Dec 17 — Austrian former racing driver Niki Lauda today accused German carrier Lufthansa of trying to “destroy” the Niki airline which he founded. Niki—formerly a unit of now bankrupt Air Berlin, and most recently operated by…

Bank Negara to meet digital coin exchangers, seeks feedback on reporting obligations

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is scheduled to meet the active digital currency exchangers today with regard to the reporting obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).

“We’re also issuing exposure draft to them for their comments,” deputy governor Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour said at a media briefing on “Making Digital Currencies Transparent in Malaysia” here last Friday.

The exposure draft states that upon the initial acceptance of a customer, reporting institutions are required to regularly review and update the customer’s risk profile based on the level of money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks.

“Reporting institutions are required to conduct customer due diligence on all customers and the persons conducting the transaction in the circumstances set when the reporting institution establishes business relationship with the customer; and when the reporting institutions have any suspicion of ML/TF.”

Among the data needed by the central bank are the number of transactions, including the conversion from digital currency to fiat money and vice versa as well as conversion from a digital currency to another; the value of the transactions, net buy and sell position, purpose of transactions, payment method and the number of customer accounts.

Abdul Rasheed noted that the regulators do not have intention to ban digital currency trading as it is part of market “innovation and creativity”.

“What is important is we need to balance this between public interest and the integrity of the financial system. We need to take a careful approach and considerations on this.”

Abdul Rasheed expects the reporting obligations on the digital currency exchangers will come into effect early next year after obtaining the government gazette order.

There are four active digital currency exchangers in Malaysia – Luno, Coinhako, XBit Asia and PinkExc.

In a brief reply to SunBiz, a Coinhako spokesperson said: “Yes, we will be attending (the briefing). ”

According to Abdul Rasheed, the average monthly digital currency transactions amount to RM75 million, which is very minimal compared with the total market capitalisation of US$420 billion (RM1.71 trillion) for digital currencies globally.

Nonetheless, Abdul Rasheed sees the recent spike in bitcoin price as a bubble. If you look at the price, it is clear that it is a bubble. If you look at other investments, I don’t think you can have so high returns.

“It’s (the returns) really akin to the financial scams. Anything with high returns will have high risks,” he said.

Bitcoin’s price has risen over 1800% year to date. As at 8pm last Friday, it traded at US$17,824 (RM72,690).

A local bitcoin pioneer who declined to be named said he was surprised bitcoin is associated with a bubble as it shouldn’t be viewed as an asset class.

“People don’t understand it (bitcoin). It is supposed to be a payment system. Bitcoin is for the people to keep their database, so it is just an application and a blockchain,” he told SunBiz.

However, he is positive on BNM’s move to come out with the exposure draft on digital currency as it will “get the bad players out from the market”.

Stressing that digital currencies are not legal tender in Malaysia, Abdul Rasheed said it is too early to comment whether they will be recognised and regulated in the future. “We need to gather additional information.”

On initial digital coin offerings, he said they are under the purview of the Securities Comission (SC) but BNM will be working closely with the SC on this.
The SC has cautioned investors on the emergence of digital token-based fundraising or investment schemes.

KWAP acquires stake in Vortex Solar for £67.5m

SINGAPORE: Vortex, one of Europe’s foremost renewable energy investment platforms, has sold a 45% equity stake in Vortex Solar Investments to Malaysia’s second-largest pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP), for £67.5 million (RM370 million).

Vortex, which is managed by EFG Hermes, will continue to maintain a 5% long-term stake in Vortex Solar, having acquired 365 megawatts of solar photovoltaic-producing assets in the United Kingdom from TerraForm Power in January 2017.

This comes in line with Vortex Solar’s strategy of eyeing key investors from around the globe to diversify its partner base.

“This transaction demonstrates our ability to utilise the group’s liquid balance sheet effectively under our merchant banking strategy to support our core business in delivering on its investment targets, creating assets under management growth and delivering immediate as well as long-term returns for our shareholders,” said EFG Hermes Group CEO Karim Awad, in a statement today.

By completing the sale to KWAP, the company has successfully completed the cycle of the underwriting for Vortex Solar in less than 12 months, he said.

Meanwhile, KWAP’s CEO, Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad, said the partnership with Vortex demonstrated KWAP’s commitment towards environmental sustainability in its investments.

“This marks our first direct investment in the renewable energy sector, which strategically positions KWAP as the financial co-investor of choice for the expansion of this industry,” he said.

“Also, as an investor, we intend to increase our exposure in real assets, and renewable energy is one of most active sectors in the infrastructure asset class for deal flow, globally. We see this as an opportunity that will provide attractive investment income to the fund while supporting our environmental, social and governance efforts,” he said.

After the completion of the transaction, expected within the coming weeks, the shareholding of Vortex Solar will stand at 50% Tenaga Nasional Bhd, 45% KWAP and 5% Vortex. – Bernama

UBS boss says bitcoins ‘not money’, urges regulators to act

GENEVA, Dec 17 — The chairman of Swiss banking giant UBS said in an interview published today that he does not consider the soaring cryptocurrency bitcoin as money and called for regulators to intervene. Bitcoin prices have surged this year …

Japanese firms to buy palm oil from sustainable sources from 2020, says Mah

TELUK INTAN, Dec 17 — A number of Japanese companies have said that from 2020 they will only buy palm oil which has been certified to come from sustainable sources and possess sustainability certification. Minister of Plantation Industries and…

America’s missing workers: Matching jobs with the jobless

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 — A few years ago, Derek Hobbs could not find a job. He had three strikes against him: his age, 55, a criminal record, and a drug addiction that kept him out of the formal workforce for more than 25 years. When he decided to…

Vortex sells 45pc stake in Vortex Solar to KWAP for £67.5m

SINGAPORE, Dec 17 — Vortex, one of Europe’s foremost renewable energy investment platforms, has sold a 45 per cent equity stake in Vortex Solar Investments S.a.r.l to Malaysia’s second-largest pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan…

Report: Malaysia can achieve high-income nation status by 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — A recent report by the World Bank has indicated that Malaysia could very soon achieve a high-income nation status by 2020. The Malaysia Economic Monitor report says that the country is on par to surpass the definition of…

A shift in Malaysia’s retail culture

In the festive round-up towards the end of the year, shopping comes to mind as many look to purchase the new ‘it’ item or stocking up on good deals as retailers make space for the new year. But in today’s day and age, more are looking towards online purchasing as the new norm for getting […]

The week at a glance 17 December 2017

Sabah & Sarawak Almost 3,000 GST-registered businesses in Sabah fail to submit statements A total of 2,935 GST-03 statements have yet to be submitted by Goods and Services Tax (GST) registered businesses in Sabah, as of October, said Sabah Royal Malaysian Customs Department Director Datuk Hamzah Sundang. He said the amount was part of the […]