Why Singapore

Singapore offers financial institutions and FinTechs a pro-business environment, excellent infrastructure, international connectivity, as well as a highly skilled, cosmopolitan labour force.

Singapore at a Glance

A Globally Competitive Economy

#1 most competitive economy
IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2020

Singapore topped both IMD's World Competitiveness 2020 and World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Global Competitiveness rankings in 2019.

With Singapore’s digital friendly environment, high quality infrastructure, and efforts in adopting technologies, Singapore ranked first in the IMD Smart City Index (2019) and second globally in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking (2019).

In terms of innovation performance, Singapore ranked top in Asia in the Global Innovation Index (2019) as we were assessed to be one of the most innovative in terms of the quality of innovation input which include factors such as business environment and government efficiency.

Finally, Singapore was ranked the third most robust data centre market worldwide in Cushman & Wakefield’s Data Centre Competitiveness Index (2019). This is given its access to high speed connectivity, political stability, and low risk of natural disasters.

International Connectivity

Over 20 Free Trade Agreement (FTAs)
Over 80 Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs)

Singapore is located at the heart of Southeast Asia and provides excellent global connectivity to serve the fast-growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Singapore has over 20 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which provided access to the markets of the partner countries. We also have over 80 Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) which are advantageous to financial institutions (FIs) using Singapore as its regional or global hub.

Singapore is also building linkages, including Bilateral Investment Treaties and FinTech Cooperation Agreements, with emerging economies including in the Middle East, Africa and South America.

FIs in Singapore trade around-the-clock with Asia-Pacific centres, as well as European and American centres. This makes Singapore a hub for 24-hour trading in foreign exchange and securities.

Skilled Workforce

#1 in Asia-Pacific, #3 globally, for talent competitiveness
INSEAD's Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020

Singapore offers a highly skilled and cosmopolitan labour force – ranking 1st in Asia-Pacific, and 3rd worldwide in the 2020 INSEAD Global Talent Competitiveness Index. Singapore also ranked first in its ability to enable and attract talent.

MAS works with industry partners as well as universities to build a pipeline of professionals and leaders in the financial sector. In April 2019, MAS and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) released a study on the impact of data analytics and automation on manpower in the Singapore financial sector . Refer to the media release on the study.

MAS and the IBF are partnering employers and the labour movement to reskill the workforce into new or expanded roles for the future of work in financial services. Financial institutions can get support for hiring and training, as well as support for workforce transformation, while finance professionals can tap on funding for skills and career development. View programmes and schemes.

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Pro Business Environment

#2 in the world for ease of doing business
World Bank's Doing Business Survey 2020

Singapore has a pro-business environment, currently ranked 2nd in the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2020 Report.

Singapore’s regulatory environment is highly conducive to the set-up and operations of a firm in Singapore. There is also stable and efficient infrastructure to support starting a business, financial intermediation and enforcement of contracts.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reaffirmed Singapore’s financial sector oversight to be “among the best globally” in the 2019 Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) for Singapore. It noted that MAS has struck a good balance in fostering financial innovation while strengthening regulatory oversight since its last FSAP review in 2013.

More information on the 2019 FSAP can be found in the media release.

Office Space

Office space in Singapore remains attractive relative to other financial centres.

Singapore’s office rental cost remained very competitive compared to other financial centres like Hong Kong, London and New York.


Singapore emerged 14th in the Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) Global Premium Office Rent Tracker (Q4 2019), making it more cost competitive relative to other Asian cities.

Singapore possesses strong capabilities across wealth and asset management, foreign exchange and derivatives, insurance and risk financing, fixed income, infrastructure finance, as well as FinTech and innovation.

Find out more about the opportunities and plans that we have to grow your business areas. You may also refer to Singapore Competitiveness Factsheet (3.26 MB).

Setting Up in Singapore

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has put together a comprehensive guide on how you can get your operations up and running in the shortest time possible. The guide also includes information on how you can meet your needs around hiring, advisory services, space and utilities, as well as a list of partners offering a range of related services.

To download the guide, you may visit EDB's website .

Regulations and Guidance

MAS regulates financial institutions in the banking, capital markets, insurance and payment sectors.

If you intend to conduct regulated activities, find out more about regulations and licensing requirements.

Jobs and Skills

MAS works with tripartite partners to build a sustainable pipeline of professionals and leaders in the financial sector. Financial institutions can get support for hiring and training as well as support for workforce transformation, while finance professionals can tap on funding for skills and career development.

View programmes and schemes

Incentive and Grant Schemes

Financial institutions with plans to set up or expand their operations in Singapore may apply for MAS tax incentives or grant schemes.

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