Malaysia to open bond, sukuk market to retail buyers next month

Sept 19 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s Securities Commission said on Wednesday it would make it easier for retail investors to buy bonds and sukuk issued domestically, aiming to expand Asia’s third-largest fixed income market.

The regulator said the revised rules would come into effect on Oct. 11, including loosening documentation requirements for issuers and expanding the range of products that can be offered beyond plain vanilla instruments.

Malaysia is home to a 1.3 trillion ringgit ($313.9 billion)debt market, and is the world’s largest market for Islamic bonds or sukuk.

Retail investors will be able to access existing bonds in the over-the-counter market as long as they have been outstanding for over 12 months and have a minimum A credit rating.

To spur the local bond market, the regulator last year launched a Bond+Sukuk Information Exchange (BIX), a centralised platform which consolidates bond and sukuk prices and credit data.

Earlier this year, it introduced a grant scheme for issuers of green Islamic bonds, seeking to capitalise on interest for environmentally friendly financial products. ($1 = 4.1415 ringgit) (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Kim Coghill)