The future of finance


The financial sector in Macau still has room to develop, with competition pushing innovation; however, diversification has to unfold “step by step” – in particular with areas such as new financial offerings, says Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) CEO Pedro Cardoso in a sit-down with
“From the relation between the number of residents in Macau and the number of branches in Macau, it’s still not overbanked,” says the CEO, noting, however, that “competition is quite fierce. We have some of the biggest banks in the world operating in Macau.”
The MSAR Government’s efforts to diversify the economy have targeted financial product development including leasing – which Cardoso supports – in order “to diversify Macau to be not only dependant upon the tourism sector.”
Yet step-by-step implementation is necessary, he points out.
“For leasing, […] other than just changes in terms of regulatory framework, it’s quite important to have a very competitive tax system to attract the leasing transactions to be performed,” notes the CEO of the bank celebrating its 115th anniversary this year.
While focusing efforts locally and creating more avenues to the Mainland through its newest branch in Hengqin, the group is paving the route for its links to Portuguese-speaking countries as well, to be accessed via the Mainland.
“We’re part of a banking group operating in 23 countries. Of those 23 countries I would say our core, our most valuable presence, is in the Portuguese-speaking world,” said the CEO.
“The bulk of the flow of business, between China and the Portuguese-speaking world, by far, is coming from Mainland China. And a big part is coming from the south of China; in particular, Guangdong or the Pearl River Delta area,” notes Cardoso, pointing out that the Hengqin branch links Chinese companies wishing to invest in the Portuguese-speaking world with companies wishing to set up a presence on the Mainland.
Although observing significant economic changes in the six years that the CEO has been in Macau, the “enormous amount of progress” in the city’s development as a tourism and leisure centre compared to a “somewhat slow” pace of development seen in Europe has also led to the company and the sector as a whole going through “tremendous development and improvement” in terms of compliance.
With the recent Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering audit of the MSAR, Cardoso notes that the process “has been a challenge to all of us” although confiding that “I’m pretty sure the results will be quite good”.
Cardoso speaks more about the devaluation of the Yuan, the group’s Onshore and Offshore Yuan services, the MSAR’s exposure to outside risk, the loan market and the future exclusively on at