Saturday March 31, 2012

Changing of the guard


The Securities Commissions (SC), Malaysia's capital market regulator, has since its founding in 1993 come to be a respected institution, both domestically and abroad.

Playing a pivotal role in the 19-year evolution of the SC is the leadership of its four chairmen - Tan Sri Munir Abdul Majid (Mar 1993-Feb 1999), Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir (Mar 1999-Feb 2004), Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof (Apr 2004-Mar 2006), and Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, the first and only female to lead the regulator.

She will retire when her term ends today, after serving six years as its chairman.

Munir laid the foundation for the regulator’s role in the domestic capital market.

Her replacement is Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh, while Datuk Nik Ramlah Mahmood will come on board as his deputy chief executive.

StarBizWeek takes a look at the past chairmen of the SC and their contributions to the development of the country's capital market.

Tan Sri Munir Abdul Majid

Although best known for his chairmanship at Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Munir was also the founding chairman of the Securities Commission (SC) when it was established in 1993.

He held the position for six years, during which time he laid the foundation for the regulator's role in the domestic capital market. In the early years, there were turf problems as multiple intermediary agencies were overseeing the capital market.

Munir was also the one who mooted the construction of the SC's now iconic headquarters in Mont Kiara which, notably, was funded entirely by the regulator without any borrowings.

The award-winning building was designed by renowned architect Hijjas Kasturi.

Munir had been adamant that the SC be financially independent, with its funds coming from the fees and levies charged on companies needing its services.

He is currently the chairman of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd. Munir received his early education in Penang and attended the Royal Military College in Sungai Besi.

The British twang in his accent comes from his time spent at the London School of Economics, where he obtained a degree in economics and a PhD in International Relations in the 1970s.

The most notable achievement during Ali Kadir’s tenure was the launch of the first Capital Market Masterplan.

Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir

Perhaps the most flamboyant of all the SC's head honchos, Ali Kadir was also a founding member of the Porsche Club Malaysia. He was known to have a penchant for the good things in life.

Prior to his chairmanship, he was partner and executive chairman at Ernst & Young from 1975 to 1999. As the SC's second chairman, he oversaw the creation of the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group following the recommendations of the SC's finance committee in 2002.

Under his watch, Malaysia became the first country to issue a global Islamic bond, which was Kumpulan Guthrie's sukuk ijarah of US$150mil.

The regulator's most notable achievement during Ali Kadir's tenure was the launch of the first Capital Market Masterplan, a 10-year blueprint to prepare the capital market for a more crucial role in supporting the national economic growth agenda.

Post-SC, Ali has sat on the boards of numerous public-listed companies such as JobStreet Corp Bhd, Milux Corp Bhd, Microlink Solutions Bhd, Supermax Corp Bhd, Glomac Bhd, and TH Hin Corp Bhd.

The SC opened up the local stockbroking industry to foreign players under Md Nor Yusof.

Ali began his career as an accountant, and is the fourth son of Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Yusuf and Tun Dr Fatimah Hashim, the first couple to simultaneously serve as Ministers on the cabinet.

Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof

Current MAS chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof was the third SC chairman before Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar took the helm. Said to be a low-profile, yet effective professional manager, his purported softline approach differed sharply from that of his predecessors.

He was handpicked to clean up MAS in 2001 as its managing director as it teetered on the brink of collapse. Md Nor's appointment to the SC was his second major national posting after MAS.

In his time, the SC started to open up the local stockbroking industry to foreign players like JP Morgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse, and CLSA.

The move, although met with harsh criticism from the local brokers, was necessary for the internationalisation of the domestic capital market.

Prior to joining the SC, Md Nor was the president and CEO of the then Bank of Commerce and later bank Bumiputra Malaysia.

He presided over the merger of the two banks, which later went through another merger to become what is today the CIMB group.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in commerce from the University of Otago, New Zealand and is a qualified chartered accountant.

He is a director of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and chairman of its executive committee.

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