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Singapore can do more to promote its financial centre: panel

FCAP members discussed the importance of developing right mindsets and skillsets in the financial workforce to keep the industry adaptable and nimble in the face of new demands and technologies.


SINGAPORE'S financial centre is well established but it can still do better in several areas like attract more institutional investors, promote innovation and the use of technology, an industry panel said on Tuesday.

At its inaugural meeting, the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) Financial Centre Advisory Panel (FCAP) discussed strategies to grow Singapore's financial centre, promote innovation and the use of technology, and build deep skills and capabilities.

In an MAS statement on Thursday, it said MAS managing director Ravi Menon chaired the meeting, which was attended by 24 FCAP members from across Singapore's banking, insurance and asset management industries.

FCAP members noted that Singapore's financial centre had made strong gains in asset and wealth management, reinsurance and speciality insurance, and foreign exchange (FX) and derivatives.

However, there was scope to do better in several areas such as attracting more institutional investors like pension funds and family offices to strengthen the buy-side ecosystem for the capital markets.

Members also said more could be done to promote digital distribution, advanced analytics and other innovations to drive growth in the insurance industry; provide more seamless capital-raising across the spectrum from startups to global companies; and build up FX electronic trading capabilities and enhance liquidity in Asian bond markets.

FCAP members discussed the importance of developing the right mindsets as well as skillsets within the financial sector workforce so that the industry continued to be adaptable and nimble in the face of new demands and technologies.

"It was an engaging meeting, with lots of good ideas and useful insights," said Mr Menon. "This is a strength - that our industry leaders can come together and discuss candidly and constructively what we can do together to grow the financial centre."

HSBC Singapore group general manager and chief executive Guy Harvey-Samuel said Singapore plays an important role as a regional hub for Asean and as a conduit for inward investment.

"For example, flows into Singapore accounted for 53 per cent of the cumulative foreign direct investment into Asean during the 2001-13 period. As we move beyond the first 50 years of independence, it is important for Singapore to ensure that it remains competitive and attractive as an investment destination," said Mr Harvey-Samuel.

The FCAP plans to meet biannually. The next meeting will be held in January 2016. In the interim, MAS will work with FCAP members to further develop the ideas discussed and co-create initiatives to take them forward.