Zeti Akhtar Aziz – ‘a tough act to follow’ (Bank Negara Malaysia)

Another Business Times article from the same edition. It was written by Anita Gabriel. The above, has served 16 years at the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country’s central bank. Apparently, she was also considered as a potential successor to Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That is a a big deal indeed. Arguably, her excellent performance was aided to some degree by the 2009 Central Bank of Malaysia Act. The law prevents politicians in influencing its policy decisions. It is not stated in the report how much she pushed for it unfortunately.

Apart from cultivating Malaysia’s lead position in Islamic bonds (Sukuk), she likewise injected financial discipline a few years after the Asian Financial Crisis. These included increased capital and liquidity ratios in banking; fostering greater risk management and compliance in the sector. Gabriel then pinpointed this as apt preparation for the global subprime crisis that exploded in 2008.  Later in 2013/14, the BNM restricted credit card as well as loan/mortgage policies to curb increased household indebtedness. These actions in itself are hard to execute since right moves are not always popular. With little doubt, to walk her walk would be ‘tough’!

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