Financial services: a sector profile


A profile of the financial services sector in Papua New Guinea, including information on banks, finance companies, capital markets, superannuation and insurance.

Industry snapshot

PNG’s financial services sector, which is regulated by the Bank of Papua New Guinea, is considered amongst the most competitive in the Pacific region.

Four commercial banks, including the dominant Bank South Pacific, Kina Bank, Westpac and ANZ (which divested its retail operations to Kina Bank to concentrate on institutional banking in September 2019) operate in the country.

While retail banking has grown, the remoteness of the bulk of PNG’s population and its challenging terrain mean that physical retail outlets are costly to establish and maintain. To increase financial inclusion and financial literacy, there has consequently been a heavy focus on mobile and online banking, which is gaining traction, including in remote areas.

Plans by the central bank to introduce a regulatory ‘sandbox’ to encourage innovation in the sector were well advanced at the end of 2019.

PNG nevertheless has one of the lowest levels of formal banking in the world, with 80 per cent of the population estimated to be without formal banking services.

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The country also has savings and loan societies as well as licensed financial institutions including superannuation funds, microfinance companies, money remitters, money changers and foreign exchange dealers.


PNG is well-serviced by banking services, and over the past decade there has been good liquidity in the banking system. The largest bank by assets and lending, Bank South Pacific, is listed
on PNGX and has an extensive branch network, and subsidiaries in other Pacific territories such as the Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji. It has around one million retail customers and is the country’s leading lender of PNG’s currency, the kina.

The other two main retail banks in PNG are ASX- and PNGX-listed Kina Bank and Australia’s Westpac. All three banks have branches in PNG’s key population centres and their own network of automated teller machines. ANZ conducts corporate and commercial banking in PNG only.

In recent years, Westpac has revealed its intention to exit PNG’s banking market. However, a deal to sell its PNG business to Kina Bank was rejected by PNG’s Independent Consumer and Competition Commission in September 2021.

Greater competition in the banking sector would be welcomed by all players. BSP currently has a market share in excess of 60 per cent, which provided the pretext for the government to apply an ‘additional company tax’ on the bank in late 2021. A number of second-tier financial services companies have signalled their desire to acquire banking licences, including PNG’s National Development Bank, Credit Corporation and Moni Plus.

Finance companies

The ten finance companies licensed by the Bank of Papua New Guinea include the POMSOX-listed Credit Corporation (which also has operations in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands), Fincorp, Resources & Investment Finance Ltd, and Kina Finance (part of the larger Kina Securities group).

A concerted effort towards financial inclusion, led by the Bank of Papua New Guinea, has seen the rise of microfinance in PNG. Microfinance is offered by such organisations as PNG Microfinance, MiBank (formerly Nationwide Microfinance) and the state-owned National Development Bank.

Capital markets

The capital markets in PNG are underdeveloped. There is no secondary bond market and international equity investment is still paper based.

The Port Moresby Stock Exchange (POMSoX) was incorporated in 1998 and began trading in 1999. In December 2018, Bank South Pacific sold its 62.5 per cent share of POMSox to Pacific Capital Markets Development; it was then renamed as PNGX.

As of June 2022, there were only 12 listed companies on the exchange, many of which are dual-listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Liquidity and trading activity remains low. The PNGX is considering listing government debt securities, which would create a secondary bond market (at the moment investors cannot trade government bonds, they must hold them to maturity) and could also open the way towards greater foreign investment in PNG government debt. Other initiatives being contemplated are to allow Papua New Guinean companies to list debt securities (corporate bonds) and the issuing or ‘green’ or sustainable bonds.

In June 2022, PNGX entered into an agreement with international tradings systems provider XBourse to develop a new trading and platform based on blockchain.


Superannuation in PNG is compulsory for companies of 15 employees or more (although companies with smaller numbers of workers may participate voluntarily). Organisations are authorised to provide superannuation services in PNG by the Bank of Papua New Guinea under the Superannuation (General Provisions) Act 2000.

PNG has two major superannuation funds: Nambawan Super (K8.8 billion in net assets and 208,000 members at December 2021) and Nasfund (K5.94 billion in net assets and 622,000 members at December 2021).

Both funds play a major role as investors in the domestic economy.


PNG’s insurance industry is regulated under the Insurance Act 1995 by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, and under the Life Insurance Act 2000 by the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

The PNG Insurance Council is the peak industry body.

The key insurers include Pacific MMI Insurance, QBE Insurance, Alpha Insurance and Tower Insurance. In June 2022, an agreement was reached for Alpha to acquire the Tower business in PNG.

State-owned Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited is the sole compulsory third party insurer of all motor vehicles in PNG.

The industry is also serviced by a number of insurance brokers, which are licensed (by the regulator) to transact PNG domiciled business in the local insurance market or offshore (by means of exemption). Key insurance broking companies include Marsh, Aon and Insurance Partners.

The PNG insurance industry is an ‘admitted insurance market’. The sector benefits from regulations that make insuring locally the norm rather than the exception. Formal permission is required from the regulator to place PNG-domiciled risks offshore.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance cannot be placed offshore due to the confines of the Act on this class of insurance.

What else would you like to know?

This sector file is a living document created as a service to our subscribers. It is updated from time to time, as new information comes to hand.

Is there something else you’d like to know about this sector? Is there new information we haven’t included? Let us know in the Comment section below, or email and we’ll look into it.

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