Against the backdrop of market uncertainty and an evolving regulatory environment, we are focused on developing and offering products and solutions on a timely basis to help our clients manage their risk exposures effectively. To that end, we are committed to providing cross-border advisory and solutions to support our clients as they navigate through the region’s diverse market landscape for their business expansion.
In 2018, we developed innovative products and solutions and stepped up our engagement with our clients to help them meet their investment, liability and risk management needs. We also expanded our sales teams in several markets including Greater China and Southeast Asia to deepen the cross-border support we provide to our clients.
We strengthened our hedging product offering following UOB being awarded a derivatives licence in Vietnam. We were also one of the first banks in Indonesia to launch domestic non-deliverable forwards to provide our clients with an effective alternative hedging tool to manage the risk of FX fluctuations on their currency exposure.
We continued to enhance and to expand the capabilities of our electronic platforms to provide liquidity and pricing for our end-user clients. We were the first foreign bank in China to execute offshore Renminbi (RMB) transactions via the R5-SHCH Connect, an FX trading platform set up by the Shanghai Clearing House and financial technology firm, R5FX Ltd. The platform was established as part of the financial infrastructure of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which aims to boost financial connectivity across the region.
We were also one of the first market makers for direct trading between the RMB and the Thai Baht on the China Foreign Exchange Trade System, which was launched in February 2018.
During the year, we harnessed technology to develop electronic solutions for our clients to assist them in their regional operations and expansion. For instance, we rolled out a digital FX solution in Singapore to help our clients manage their FX risks more efficiently when making cross-border transactions in different Asian currencies.
To keep our clients abreast of economic developments and market opportunities, we continued to deepen our engagement with them through frequent interactions and events. For instance, in 2018, we held a series of seminars across the region to share insights into topical issues of interest to them. One such session was in Malaysia where our clients from North Asia gained a better understanding of the country’s economic outlook and market opportunities.
We also held a BRI FX seminar in China attended by representatives of regulatory bodies, trade associations and banks. At the event, the participants shared their thoughts on the importance and the development of FX solutions in RMB and Southeast Asian currencies to facilitate trade, investment and tourism in the region. They also explored opportunities to provide direct RMB clearing and payment services for businesses tapping the BRI to expand across the region.
Just as we are committed to acting in our clients’ best interests, we are an advocate of good practices in the FX market, playing our part to contribute to the sustainable growth of FX activities in financial centres globally. We support the FX Global Code, which was developed through a partnership between central banks and market participants from 16 jurisdictions.
In 2018, we issued our Statement of Commitment to the FX Global Code, pledging that we will continue to conduct our FX activities in a manner consistent with the principles of the code.
We held client and industry seminars in 2018 to share our market insights and to explore how we can better support our clients’ needs across the region.