Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced plans to remove obstacles faced by foreign fund managers and ease ratings requirements for the corporate bond market, in a bid to attract investors.
The moves, according to Najib, are also aimed at encouraging a "stable and inclusive" financial system in Malaysia, which aims to attain developed nation status by 2020.
Najib on 9 June declared that foreign firms will be allowed to wholly own unit-trust management companies in Malaysia with immediate effect - a move market players said will give foreign fund managers a broader access to the nation's retail investors.
Najib, speaking at the two-day Invest Malaysia 2014 conference in Kuala Lumpur, also announced that beginning in 2017, Malaysia will remove mandatory requirements for domestic firms to obtain credit ratings on the corporate bonds they issue.
He also said that international credit rating agencies with full foreign ownership will be allowed to operate in Malaysia from January 2017 onwards.
"There will be no barrier to entry for new foreign unit-trust management companies coming into Malaysia," Najib said, according to media reports.
"The entry of international agencies will further enhance the quality and standard of rating services, introduce a more competitive fee structure and widen both expertise and the range of credit rating services on offer," he added.
Malaysia's annual GDP growth picked up in the first-quarter, to its fastest in more than 12 months, supported by consumer spending and a turnaround in exports.
Gross domestic product jumped 6.2% in the three months to 31 March, 2014, as against a 5.1% increase in the year-ago period.