Affin Hwang does not have an easy time in Malaysia’s domestic market, buffeted by threats from large domestic banks with an ambition to soak up all available business between them. But the firm, led by group managing director Maimoonah Hussain, has proved that it can stand alone.
Malaysia’s primary capital markets are dominated by CIMB, Maybank and a handful of foreign banks that have tried to stake a claim in the country. During our awards period, CIMB could boast $2.24 billion of apportioned league table credit across eight deals, according to Dealogic. Affin Hwang, on the other hand, had a measly $64.3 million from three deals.
But the firm is playing to its strengths. By the end of June, Affin Hwang was clearly the most active broker in the market this year. The firm had handled trades worth RM87.9 billion ($21.4 billion), giving it a 12.61% market share by value, according to Bursa Malaysia. It appeared even stronger by volumes, nabbing an 18.71% market share.
Maimoonah Hussain, Affin Hwang
This largely reflected Affin Hwang’s position throughout 2017. The firm ended the year with 17.98% market share by volume and 11.92% by value, in both cases easily enough to put it in the top spot for trading.
This dominance in the trading world has allowed Affin Hwang to take a careful, concentrated approach to primary equity business. As well as a $54.5 million listing for Mi Equipment Holdings, the firm also placed two fully marketed block trades – meaning it is using its access to investors, rather than its balance sheet, to execute deals.
That is a smart approach. Affin Hwang stands little chance of usurping Malaysia’s biggest banks in the capital markets, but among true securities houses in the country, none can stand up to its privileged position.