Financial Markets in Pakistan
A financial market is a place for buying and selling of financial securities such as stocks and bonds. It facilitates:
- the raising of capital (in the capital markets).
- the transfer of risk (in the derivatives markets.
- in matching those who want capital to those who have it.
The financial market in Pakistan consists of two things:
- Money market: provides short term funds
- Capital market: makes long-term funds available to businesses and industries
The financial market can be reclassified into two areas:
- Primary market in which new shares or bonds are issued
- Secondary market in which securities previously issued are traded such as shares, bonds, commercial papers, options and mutual funds.
Of this, the banking sectors and non-banking sectors are regulated by the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan. While rest of the market (lease, stock exchanges, modarba, mutual funds and insurance) is regulaled by Secruities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
A sketch showing financial markets in Pakistan is shown at top of this article and is further explained in the paragraphs that follow.
A type of bank providing checking and saving accounts, credit cards and business loans. Such a bank induces the general public to deposit their savings in the banks and offers a wide range of services such as:
- Deposit Mobilization
- Money transfer
- Financing Working Capital
- Financing other trade-related mode (import and export)
- Investing in government securities
- Call money operations
These banks are of three categories: (i) Public Sector Banks, (ii) Private Bank and (iii) Foreign Banks.
Investment banks perform a variety of functions. Primarily, they assist corporations to raise equity-capital by underwriting the public issues. They also assist companies desiring of mergers and acquisition and derivatives. In addition, they provide services like trading of derivative, foreign exchange, fixed income instruments and shares listed on the stock exchanges.
Such banks cannot take deposits. They manage their affairs by charging fees such as (i) retainer fee, (ii) advisory fees based on the transactions, (iii) commission on underwriting and (iv) other financial services.
These banks provide guidance in selection of industrial units and extend direct financial assistance to partly cover their financial requirements. Also, they engage themselves in promotional activities to attract investors towards neglected sectors through publishing brochures and research papers. Besides, they help in assessing feasibility of potential projects. Such banks are responsible for speeding up the pace of economic growth in the country in conformity with the national objectives, plans and priorities.
Their core functions are:
- Direct financial assistance
- Catalytic function
- Mobilization of domestic savings
- Ensuring balance regional and industrial growth
- Expanding the entrepreneurial base by encouraging newcomers
At one time, there were 14 Development Banks in Pakistan. However, most of them have been closed one after another as their bad debts mounted up. It is natural as they take substantial risks in promoting new types of industrial projects in underdeveloped areas sponsored preferably by new-comers. Nevertheless, their contribution brings fruits to the economy in the shape of successful industrial units and the transfer of technology.
At present, 8 development banks are operating which mostly are joint-venture with other Islamic Countries.
A microfinance bank would cater to the credit needs of poor households and their small enterprises. Thus microfinance bank provide credit to those poor who are not considered creditworthy by the commercial banks and other financial institutions. On the other hand, the microfinance bands recognize every single human being as a potential and creditworthy entrepreneur. In addition, they provide basic training in start of a small business, simple book-keeping and accounting.
The main aim of microfinance institutions is alleviation of poverty through helping poor persons to earn some money especially the women.
In Islam, it is prohibited to charge interest on any loan. However, it is acceptable to pass on funds to a needy person or corporation for trade purpose in which case profit could be shared on an agreed basis whereas loss should be shared according to the funds invested. Besides, there are certain businesses where any form of deal is forbidden like alcohols and pork.
Accordingly, an Islamic bank refers to a banking activity which is consistent with the Sharia, the Islamic Laws. Otherwise, there is no difference between the traditional banks and the Islamic bank.
These are firms that buy and discounts bills of exchange, banker' acceptance, commercial paper, etc. Discount houses also tender for treasury bills, deal in short-dated government bonds, and are an important part of the short-term money markets.
Insurance is a hedge against the risk of a contingent and uncertain loss. In other words, it is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. For this service, the insurer charges a fee called premium depending upon the risk involved.
Besides traditional insurance companies, there are many Islamic insurance companies in Pakistan known as Takaful operators. Takaful is an Islamic insurance concept based on mutual co-operation, responsibility, assurance, protection and assistance between groups of participants. These companies believe in promoting the cause of Takaful as well as promoting the insurance business in a Shariah Compliant i.e. halal and absolutely Riba-Free insurance.
The stock exchange is a place where securities are bought and sold. Such securities include shares, derivatives, unit trusts and bonds. It also provides facilities for the issue and redemption of securities. Prices of shares and bonds are influenced by their demand and supply like in other commodities.
In order to list a security on the stock exchange, there are certain requirements. Transactions in the stock exchange are conducted by members only. The stock exchange serves both as a primary market for the initial public offerings and as a secondary market for their subsequent buying and selling
Investors are not bound to sell stock or bond through the stock exchange. They can directly deal with the seller. Similarly, there is no compulsion that stock must be traded on the exchange. The securities can change ownership out of the exchange which is called ‘over the counter” or “curb dealings.
It is a contract where the owner of an asset agrees to allow someone to use it for a fixed rental. It can be for a fixed or indefinite period of time. It is a binding contract which sets out terms of the lease agreement between the owner and the user.
Leases are of various types mainly (i) a financial lease and (ii) an operating lease. The financial lease is a long-term and non-cancellable contract where the user assumes some of the risks of ownership and has the right to keep the assets or get it transferred to its own name after fulfilling the necessary conditions. In an operating lease, the owner transfers only the right to use the assets which is returned back at the end of the lease.
There are some other types especially in the aircraft industry like wet lease and dry-lease and. In a wet lease, a company agrees to provide an aircraft along with pilot and crew and would be responsible for the maintenance of the aircraft. Dry lease, on the other hand, refers to leasing only the aircraft.
It is a form of partnership which has two distinct parties: (i) the financier and (ii) the manager. The financer takes no part in the management of the business. The profits are distributed among the subscriber while the manager is paid the usual salary.
Modarba is one of the modes of Islamic finance. It is like a mutual fund minus its un-Islamic features.
Not only in Pakistan but the Islamic financial services industry has also witnessed a phenomenal growth all over the Islamic world. In particular, the Modaraba Sector has been able to create a market niche for itself in the corporate sector. This model is enjoying a unique recognition due to its well-designed structure with proper rules and regulations defined by the regulators. It has proved its resilience in this time of global financial turmoil.
It is a professionally managed type of pooled investment for acquiring securities like stocks, bonds, marketable securities and commodities. The profit is distributed by way of dividend to all investors.
Suggestions for Improvement
The financial market in Pakistan experienced boom conditions in1991 due to liberalization policies of the government. There was a manifold increase in the number of listed companies; number of commercial banks, local and foreign and financial instruments like commercial paper.
But it has still to develop and a number of suggestions have been made:
- The public sector should reduce its dependence on State Bank of Pakistan.
- The infrastructure projects should be financed through domestic bonds of longer maturities (10-20 years).
- The financial sectors (capital markets, microcredit, banking and non-banking sector) should have a better and more clearly delineated division of responsibilities.
- Foreign institutional investors should be encouraged to take up (i) private equity funds, (ii) private pension funds, (iii) provident and gratuity funds and (iv) Real Estate Investment Trusts.
- Mortgage financing should be encouraged.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.