Under Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme, the local financial services sector is expected to contribute HK$306.6 billion to the country's gross national income by 2020. The Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) is developing programmes to enhance local talent and position Malaysia as a prominent player in global finance. Established by the Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia, AIF is the umbrella organisation of the Institut Bank-Bank Malaysia, Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia, The Malaysian Insurance Institute and Securities Industry Development Corporation. "AIF collaborates with these four training institutes on initiatives across the whole finance sector," says Ranjit Singh, AIF chief operating officer. "We develop programmes to cultivate a culture of top leadership within the financial services industry." To provide a more comprehensive learning programme, AIF places emphasis on finance research. It carries out extensive research efforts for case study development, providing professionals the opportunity to learn from real-world experiences. AIF has developed the first structured microfinance programme in Malaysia. The programme aims to train professionals about the dynamics of dispensing microfinance loans. It equips professionals with the skills in proper treatment and selection of customers who really need the financial assistance. Risk management is another area where AIF sees opportunities for expansion. AIF aims to establish structured risk management programmes in conventional finance and Islamic finance. To identify potential partners in the region, AIF taps the extensive network of the central banking services of Bank Negara. AIF also conducts high-profile finance programmes and seminars to promote the AIF brand and attract collaboration opportunities. "We want to build a bigger base in Asia," Singh says. "AIF is an institute with a national focus but equally important for us is to work with people within the region. We would like to work with people dedicated to developing talent within the financial services."