Deloitte director in Myanmar appointed as national finance minister

20 June 2018 3 min. read

Deloitte Myanmar managing director U Soe Win has been appointed as the nation’s new planning and finance minister following the departure of the previous incumbent amid corruption claims.

With a unanimous vote by parliament following his nomination by Myanmar President Win Myint, the 80 year-old finance veteran and Deloitte Myanmar Country Managing Parter U Soe Win has assumed the role of national Planning and Finance Minister. The appointment follows the resignation of former finance minister U Kyaw Win in the wake of an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption body the ACC, and comes at a time of stagnating economic growth.

“Although he is old, we believe he is the best one who can take the post, which is most important to drive economic development in the country,” a senior source from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party told The Myanmar Times upon Soe Win’s nomination. “He runs his own business and has a good reputation. He accepted the position as he wants to help the country.”

Following three decades with the state-run Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB), and a stint with PwC, Soe Win founded tax and investment consultancy Vigour Advisory in 2003, which after several years of collaboration became an official Deloitte member firm in 2016 under the banner of Deloitte Touche Myanmar Vigour Advisory – with Soe Win installed as Country Managing Partner. At the time, government regulations dictated that audit practices be operated under local company titles, banning foreign auditors.U Soe Win, Planning and Finance MinisterSoe Win said of the official integration in 2016; “We would like to bring local [certified public accountants] up to international standards so that our CPAs can perform to the requirements of the multi-national corporations who are investing in this country and according to the demands of the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards).” In addition to tax, accounting, and assurance, together, the entity offers services in strategy & operations, technology, human capital, M&A, infrastructure, market entry, and, incidentally, anti-corruption and corporate restructuring, amongst other areas.

According to local reports, the ACC, which had commenced its investigation into the former finance minister Kyaw Win last month following complaints of corruption, has since delivered its report to the President. Prior to Kyaw Win stepping down, however, there had already been local and World Bank concern expressed for the lack of progress on economic reforms. Kyaw Win had been in the role since 2016 – despite criticism over claims of a fake doctorate – during which time foreign direct investment has slowed and in turn the economy; a slide the government will be hoping the experienced finance operator Soe Win can arrest.

Altogether, Soe Win has 46 years of experience in advising on taxation, investment laws, finance and banking, and is a member of the Bar Council in Yangon and senior member of the NLD’s Central Economic Committee, as well as serving on the board of independent economic think-tank the Renaissance Institute. After joining the Foreign Exchange Department of the MFTB – where he would ultimately become general manger, Soe Win trained in the UK with the National Westminster Bank and the Bank of England in 1976.