Malaysia's best corporate and investment bank 2020: CIMB
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Malaysia's best corporate and investment bank 2020: CIMB


Abdul Rahman Ahmad, Group CEO, CIMB.png
Abdul Rahman Ahmad, CIMB

If any institution in the region embodies the universal bank concept it is CIMB, which has been led by Abdul Rahman Ahmad since June. What a year to take the hot seat.

The former CEO of government-linked fund manager Permodalan Nasional inherited a firm that is as exposed to the Asean region’s zig and zags as any. With 40,000 employees in 18 countries and the coronavirus stalking Malaysia’s economy, Rahman is not getting even the most fleeting of honeymoons.

In 2019, CIMB recorded a 7.7% increase in core net profit, with a 56% jump in dividend payouts. Its average 9.3% return on equity and a solid capital position – including a 12.9% common equity tier-1 ratio – stacks up well against peers. It led the industry in corporate banking deals.

CIMB’s ubiquity as Malaysia’s most active bookrunner is complemented by growing geographical reach. Its partnerships with Japan’s MUFG, South Korea’s Daewoo Securities and other global players, from the US to the Gulf states, are broadening and diversifying the business.

Last year, CIMB topped the league tables for Asean local currency bond deals for a ninth consecutive year. Other notable deals include its role as sole principal adviser and joint lead manager for Digi Telecommunications’ $215 million sukuk murabaha loan placement and a $478 million asset-backed security deal for Zamarad Assets.

CIMB was joint global coordinator and underwriter for Sapura Energy’s rights issue and its sale of Islamic redeemable convertible preference shares. It also had a hand in one of southeast Asia’s most closely watched refinancing deals: Thai Bev sale of unsubordinated and unsecured debt.

The rest of 2020, though, will be as much about damage control as drumming up new investment business. In early August, Rahman’s team unveiled a new targeted repayment assistance programme, helping customers to manage their debts even after a government-mandated moratorium comes to an end.