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You're reading: Myanmar gets its first investment bank
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This places him in sparse company. While many chatter about
the economic potential of one of the world’s last frontier markets,
very few foreigners have actually set up shop. The first thing Ali had
to do was explain to people in Myanmar, including some of his new
employees, what an investment bank is.

Decades of isolation have
left Myanmar with a weak education system, feeble banks, questionable
courts, uneven electricity supply, entrenched corruption and an
underdeveloped mobile phone network. In the last two years, sweeping
political change has resulted in the release of hundreds of political
prisoners, the election of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to
Parliament, and the lifting of most U.S. and European sanctions.

Today,
the Southeast Asian country’s bureaucracy is scrambling to keep pace
with multiple transitions, from socialism to capitalism, dictatorship to
democracy, and conflict to peace. The legal environment for investors
remains murky, and beneath the flurry of reforms, many feel a tug of
doubt: Will this change endure? Have the country’s military rulers,
under the leadership of reformist president Thein Sein, really
surrendered the power they grasped with such violent fervor for nearly
50 years?

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