We just witnessed the collapse of two large US banks -- Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). A few others are also reportedly in the same mess.
It was possibly 2004-05. We were trying to determine the possible inward remittance pie for Bangladesh at a Bangladesh Enterprise Institute discussion. A study in this respect showed the possible pie to be $20 billion or so by 2012.
With the exception of a few, gender inequality has plagued society for centuries, with women being consistently denied access to positions of true power and influence. There have always been the more obvious and visible barriers which we are well aware of, but much more powerful and troublesome are the invisible barriers that have systematically held back qualified women from reaching the highest levels of leadership.
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, organisations that fail to adapt and evolve run the risk of becoming obsolete. As the management guru Peter Drucker said, “The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organisation’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”
Earlier this month, I attended a graduation ceremony at Middlebury College at Vermont, USA. In her speech, the president of the college repeatedly mentioned the phrase “collective genius”, which has stuck with me since.
Bangladesh is at a crossroads where the past meets the present and the future is forged.
Bangladesh’s stock market had a lackluster year in 2022 after posting double-digit returns for the previous two years. Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSEX), the broad market index of the country, fell 8.1 per cent in 2022, while daily average turnover fell by 35 per cent.
Trade-based money laundering (TBML) is a silent killer that is undermining the very foundations of Bangladesh’s economic growth. As an emerging economy and, more so, an expanding trading nation that is going through LDC graduation, Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to TBML. This illicit activity is weakening financial institutions, eroding foreign currency reserves, and undermining international trade, leaving the country’s economy in shambles and stakeholders in despair.
2023 is already here and no doubt, the last three years have been rough for Bangladesh. It is almost as though a ship at sea navigating and making its way through rough waters during a storm.
I am grateful to each of the seniors at ANZ, Standard Chartered, Citibank, and for the last eight years at PwC, for trusting me as an important client interface and solution-building person. Almost 35 years of client interface experience is all about what I am today.
In the post-pandemic, Bangladesh recovered reasonably quickly and was seeing encouraging signs that the economy was well poised to return to the pre-Covid growth path.
We have seen the year 2022 to be a year of many experiments for regulators, and more importantly, the local and international private sector.
The beginning of 2022 saw Bangladesh’s economy poised to make a strong recovery from Covid-19 with demand across the world rebounding, supply chain backlogs easing and improving domestic consumption.
As Bangladesh steps into its 51st year of Independence, one cannot help but applaud its inspiring story of growth. Bangladesh has transformed itself from an economic “basket case” into one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
The Bangladeshi startup ecosystem has seen remarkable growth in the past few years with approximately 1,200 active startups across sectors, including fintech, logistics, healthcare, tourism, agriculture and education. In fact, startups like ShopUp, bKash, Pathao, Chaldal, Maya, Shajgoj, and iFarmer have innovated new products and processes to transform the market and have attracted millions of dollars in foreign investments for Bangladesh along with creating thousands of new jobs.
Our professor for reputation and crisis management at Kellogg School of Management told us: “Nothing seems to work during a crisis. People are either confused or panicked all along.”
The turmoil in the banking sector is on the rise. A lack of good governance, rampant corruption, and political and managerial interference in management have led to this scenario. As the prices of daily commodities are on the rise, people are focusing less on new savings and on the contrary, using their prior savings to meet their daily needs.
When I attend a banking forum, junior bank executives often ask me: “What did I learn out of so many credit inspections across the world? How could we avoid loan losses?”
Our importers and institutions, those that need to remit various fees and surplus earnings outside the country, are facing challenges with foreign currency (FCY) payments for the last several months.
When I joined ANZ Grindlays Bank in the mid-eighties from a local bank, it was more to do with the social prestige the British legacy bank commanded in this part of the world. When I joined Standard Chartered in mid-1993, it was repositioning an erstwhile lousy bank.
Bangladesh has made gradual progress in reducing some constraints on foreign direct investments (FDIs). However, many feel a lot needs to be done when it comes to improving the ease of doing business here.
Hundi might be informal, but it is quite well-organised and more importantly, it is perceived to be much easier and more convenient in comparison to the formal banking system.
The Bangladesh Bank capped the interest rate on loans at 9 per cent and on deposits at 6 per cent for banks, and 11 per cent on loans and 7 per cent on deposits for non-bank financial institutions.
Digital transformation is the process of embedding technologies across businesses to drive fundamental change. Starting a digital transformation journey also requires a new mindset. It is a chance to reimagine how companies do things, often from the ground up.
Whether it is semi-controlled or self-censored media, corridor discussions or even Transparency International Bangladesh reports, we have been hearing about corruption in the public enterprises and inaction by the subsequent governments for the last many years.
Traditionally, natural gas has been the primary source of energy in Bangladesh. For the last few years, domestic gas production has been declining and we have started importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet the excess demand.
Despite diverse challenges, the banking sector is evolving faster than ever before, and such changes are expected to happen even quicker in the coming years.
Although our banking sector itself is lagging behind its neighbouring peers, the story of the non-banking financial institution (NBFI) sector is rather much more precarious.
Let me start by thanking the central bank for its recent circular on the foreign currency cash holding limit. This should help us not to dollarise our economy and face the fate of Cambodia, where a lot of people have forgotten their local currency’s name over the years.
There is possibly no denying that in view of a very weak opposition along with a not-so-active parliament, some above-average and reasonably honest civil bureaucrats have taken command of the country’s policy regime.
Out of my 26 years with three global banks, I spent more than half of it in treasury dealing room environment in Dhaka, Mumbai, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and New York.
Like in any other developing country, all public interest projects in Bangladesh are supposed to be well thought out with their ultimate impacts reviewed. However, courtesy of the media, even the state investigation agencies, we mostly don’t get to hear good things about projects being well-researched, the ultimate impact on the target market or group well-thought out, finance being well-managed or done with sincerity of purpose.
Before delving into the matter of blue bonds, it is important to briefly understand the “blue economy” itself. Blue economy is a term in economics which relates to the preservation and exploration of the marine environment.
Sovereign debt, which is usually in the form of securities, is issued by a nation’s government to borrow money and may also be referred to as government debt, public debt, and national debt. This borrowing is done for a variety of reasons, from financing public investments to boosting employment.
In March 2020, when governments around the world announced lockdowns and quarantine to prevent the spread of a contagious disease, no one could anticipate what would happen. Covid-19 changed the order of businesses in such a disruptive manner that it made even long-established corporations rethink management practices and how to do business in this new reality.
The circular economy has quickly become one of the most popular buzzwords in business literature with many reputed publications claiming it to be the solution to the inherent conflict that exists between the profit incentive of businesses, the society businesses operate in and the external costs they impose on society.
Investors typically take 5 to 10 years of historical data as a basis for projections of the future. But in cases such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or Sri Lanka’s rapid economic deterioration, the past is not a metric that can be relied on for the future.
Bosses indeed play a key role in determining a worker's happiness factor. More than half of the employees responding to an annual job-satisfaction survey admit they do not leave companies, they leave bosses.
In today’s dynamic and ever-changing business environment the need to transform, reshape and restructure is a constant and no longer an option.
The private sector is well-known for its efficiency but is also negatively viewed for its greed and an inherent nature that lacks focus on welfare. The public sector is considered to work for the benefit of the people but is often cited as being inefficient and wasteful.
Fifty years of Bangladesh is marked with a few significant achievements. The country became a $400-plus billion economy in 2021. Per capita income rose to $2,554 in FY21, which is higher than our neighbouring countries, including India.
I took over as head of treasury and a country senior team member in the then ANZ Grindlays Bank in early 1988 and since then worked as a senior executive in three global banks at home and abroad.
Knowledge never stays still. There is a constant evolution of knowledge as insights are built upon previous ones and the pace of knowledge growth has never been faster than in the 21st century.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) puts the onus back on business enterprises themselves. Under this concept, it becomes the duty of businesses to be conscious of the kind of impact they have on various aspects of society from the economic, social, and environmental perspectives.
I take pride in sharing with my readers that I was taught branding at Kellogg School of Management by a certain Professor Philip Kotler. At the same time, my piece on “Branding Bangladesh” drew the attention of Simon Anholt, known to be a guru of this subject, who subsequently wrote a piece on nation branding in the local newspaper.
There is an uproar, at least among civil society forums, the media and common people, regarding a recent government decision to increase the price of diesel and kerosene by Tk 15 per litre each.
The breakneck pace of innovation disrupting the financial sector has ushered in a level of uncertainty which the sector has not faced before. New entrants and a rapidly changing business model have provided customers with a multiplicity of options.
The world has changed. Radically new technologies, new forms of working, new customs, new standards, and the gamut of changes spurred on by the “new normal” have drastically changed the modern day workplace.
As of March 2021, the total outstanding loans in the banking sector in Bangladesh stood at Tk 111,1940 crore. Out of this, an amount of Tk 95,090 crore was classified, equivalent to 8.48 per cent of the total loans.
June 3 marked a remarkable date for Bangladesh as the finance minister presented the country’s 50th budget in parliament on the occasion of the 50th year of independence. As expected, the Tk 603,681 crore budget is the largest that has ever been proposed.
A trade deficit may not be too bad even amidst the coronavirus challenges if you have a healthy foreign exchange reserve, strong remittance inflow, foreign direct investment, and aid flow. More importantly, when capital machinery or industrial raw materials import is the cause of this possible trade deficit.
With disruptive innovations across the financial sector, new entrants and multiple options for customers, many might think that traditional banking has a bleak future.
Covid-19 has accelerated technology adoption across the board. A key sector that has witnessed a boom is financial services, viz. mobile financial service (MFS), cards, and other alternative payment methods. Fintech has unpredictably and truly arrived in Bangladesh.
Among perennial issues such as geopolitical, economic, climate and health, one of the biggest challenges for countries today is cybersecurity.
Bangladesh has seen a significant rise in consumer banking or retail offering by banks or a few non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) in recent days. During the coronavirus pandemic,
I received a short message on my phone just before noon on July 1 but could not notice it properly due to office work.
Despite a lot of loud discussions regarding financial inclusion, a large number of people in Bangladesh are far from being granted access to basic financial services, making financial inclusion development an essential project in the country.
As Bangladesh has covered considerable ground into achieving the coveted middle-income country status, a robust insurance sector will be vital in consolidating the growth story.