Asia is proving new and fertile ground for Western lobbyists and public affairs consultancies who are helping shape post-crisis financial reforms in a region where regulators traditionally operate behind closed doors.
As the reform agenda has become increasingly global, regulators in Asia are having to juggle local issues such as poor corporate governance and rampant insider trading, while implementing extensive G20 reforms - from overhauling the derivatives markets to clamping down on shadow banking.
All this is going on across several markets, each with their own rules and watchdogs, making for disproportionately high compliance costs - a combined $89 billion last year for financial services firms operating in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and China, according to estimates by law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner and Oxford Economics research group. The more developed European markets of the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy had combined compliance costs of $68 billion.
This is a potential gold-mine for lobbyists who have created an industry out of influencing policymakers in the West.
"The financial services public affairs industry in Asia is growing significantly," said Andrew Naylor, Asia-Pacific director at London-headquartered lobby firm Cicero Group. "The regulatory debate is much more global, and Asian jurisdictions are playing an important role in shaping it."