Banking: Too big to fail in Papua New Guinea
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Banking: Too big to fail in Papua New Guinea

Bank South Pacific dominates most of the markets that it serves, but it is not big enough to find an exchange suitable for a long-discussed second listing.


Robin Fleming, CEO of Papua New Guinea-based Bank South Pacific

As might any banker who sports the startling nickname of ‘porn star’ among his colleagues and associates, Robin Fleming is almost destined to confound in person.

For a start, Euromoney waits 75 minutes for a long-arranged meeting with Fleming to discuss the bank he runs, the Papua New Guinea-based Bank South Pacific (BSP). It is the region’s biggest bank; BSP’s systemic 60% to 65% market share keeps its home economy afloat; and it has offshoots in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Samoa. 

Unusually for a bank, BSP is also PNG’s biggest taxpayer, so there is a lot to talk about, except Fleming lingers in the office next door, chatting and laughing with colleagues. And PNG’s fabled coffee has not made it to his waiting room.

Admittedly, we are unlikely to be the most important engagement in his diary. In small-town Port Moresby, that would be, as Fleming would admit, PNG’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, Fleming’s former boss. 

Queensland-born Fleming’s moniker apparently derives from his trademark handlebar moustache, and the nickname says less about him than it does about PNG’s blokey business community. 

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