Emerging markets are looking increasingly attractive for banks that have traditionally had their powerbase in Europe or North America. Free from much of the turmoil created by the financial crisis they continue to look set for strong growth.
In an interview with Euromoney | SIbos Insider, BNP Paribas’s global head of cash management Pierre Fersztand explained that Asian markets, particularly China, will be the focus of a great deal of the bank’s attention in the future.
Last September the government of the People’s Republic of China entered into an arrangement with Hong Kong that effectively allows interested parties to gain access to the Chinese currency via Hong Kong. As demand for the currency increases BNP Paribas believes that it is particularly well placed to offer Renminbi-based services to its corporate clients the world over.
“We are one of the few banks that can deal in the Renminbi anywhere in the world, rather than just in Hong Kong. There is great demand for access to the Renminbi outside of mainland China – particularly in Hong Kong and Switzerland,” explains Fersztand.
Paribas have had a particular focus on China for several years, and Ferzstand believes that there is a powerful synergy between the bank’s Chinese investments and the deregulated Renminbi.
“This new business comes at a time when investment from BNP Paribas has been high in China for three years. We are seeing the confluence of two evolutions – the growing role of the Renminbi and of BNP Paribas’s role in China,” says Ferzstand.
Ferzstand made it clear that the French bank’s Asian focus is not solely on China, pointing out that the bank has a presence in other major markets including India and Malaysia. BNP Paribas’s growth strategy in Asia has been one of organic growth, it has sought to expand its reach directly in the region rather than through a strategy of partnership with local banking institutions.
“We have a presence in a lot of Asian countries, and we have direct connections to clearing in all of these countries. We are growing and offering services directly to clients – what you might call organic growth,” he notes.