Since the middle of the last century, as a result of globalization and determined commitments to investment in enterprises and people, Asia has seen steadily rising incomes. One by-product of this "Asian miracle" is an unprecedented reserve of public and private savings. Most Asian societies promote high private savings rates, fiscal prudence, while a legacy of export success has garnered huge external savings. Because of excessive reliance on traditional depository banking, Asia's vast financial reserves are being underutilized, with low returns to savers and inadequate services for investors. This disparity explains why Asia has parked trillions of dollars in low yield Western government debt and regional investment still remains constrained. Despite relatively high investment from retained profits and traditional bank lending, financial depth in Asia remains low because the financial services industry is still in its infancy.Three salient trends will change all this: sustained low yields on OECD debt, investment needs for Asian regional integration, and explosive growth of the Asian financial services industry. Simply put, the region has a vast overhang of underutilized savings and vast emergent needs for regional infrastructure and supply chain expansion. To match these, Asia's financial services industry must expand to an extent not seen before (anywhere), creating new markets for retail brokerage, public and private bond finance, insurance, and derivatives. These services have appeared in regional capitals (Shanghai, HK, Singapore, etc.), but remain very limited. Like the historic financial revolutions in the trading centers of Renaissance Florence, 17th century Amsterdam and London, investment and risk management needs from globalization will trigger an explosion of financial services in Asia.Public and private audiences need guidance about such a momentous process. The financial landscape ahead will change rapidly, presenting tremendous challenges and opportunities. To help decision-makers and interested observers navigate the way ahead, this volume collects expert perspectives about how Asia's financial sector will evolve to better meet the needs of the region's billions of savers and borrowers.
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