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Best Securities Houses Awards

Malaysia's best securities house 2020

Affin Hwang Capital

Affin Hwang Capital has been tested over the last year, dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic while going through a change in leadership. But it did not let its performance slip.

Malaysia’s government declared a six-month loan moratorium as the economy nosedived in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak; while that helped citizens, it put immense pressure on the financial system.

Affin Hwang entered this difficult period with a new chief at the helm, after long-serving group managing director Maimoonah Hussain retired in the third quarter of 2019. Yip Kit Weng, Nomura’s former head of investment banking in Malaysia, took up the reins in October; his title is deputy group managing director, but he is running the business.

Since then, the firm has faced a drought in the equity capital markets, severe volatility on the stock exchange and a tough economic situation. But it managed to maintain dominance in securities trading, one of its primary businesses.

It was top of the league table, based on secondary trading volumes, every month from July 2019 through June 2020, and ranked first for overall trading value in 11 of those 12 months.

It led international firms and the country’s largest names, handling 18.6% of all trades by volume and 14.4% by value, in the year to date. CGS-CIMB Securities, CIMB’s trading tie-up with China Galaxy Securities, managed 9.7% and 11.4% during the same six months.

In Malaysia’s primary capital markets, CIMB and Maybank typically lead the show. CIMB dominated during the awards period, with a 57.4% share of business, compared to 10.6% for Credit Suisse in second place.

With the top domestic players and international banks capturing the vast majority of the market, other local firms are left to fight over smaller trades or secure a position on the occasional big listing.

The IPO pipeline dried up in the past 12 months, but block trades and follow-ons propped up the market. Affin Hwang took spots on two trades, including a RM457 million ($109 million) follow-on by Serba Dinamik, which ranked it fourth among its domestic peers.

Considering Affin Hwang’s ability to ride through the Covid-19 pandemic with a new leader, all the while maintaining its hold on the securities trading market and eking out ECM business, it is the clear pick for best securities house.

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