Why Singapore

As an international financial centre, Singapore offers financial institutions a pro-business environment, excellent infrastructure, cost-competitiveness, a highly skilled and cosmopolitan labour force.

Key Facts

Overview

Located at the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is well placed to serve the fast-growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region. Financial institutions in Singapore also trade around-the-clock with Asia-Pacific centres, as well as European and American centres, making Singapore a significant hub for 24-hour trading in foreign exchange and securities. International travel is equally convenient. Singapore has grown to be a strategic link and important gateway for global investors.

Singapore remains connected to growth markets, not just in Asia but also beyond. Singapore has concluded bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with major economies, including the United States, European Union, China, Japan, India, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland. Singapore is also part of a number of multilateral FTAs, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, GCC-Singapore FTA and ASEAN FTAs with some of the key ASEAN Dialogue Partners. These FTAs provide privileged access to the markets of partner countries.

Singapore is also building linkages, including through Bilateral Investment Treaties and FinTech Cooperation Agreements, with countries further a-field including the Middle East, Africa and South America, given the growing trade and investment interests in emerging economies.

Conducive Pro-Business Environment

Singapore has long been recognised as one of the best cities for business. This is what a World Bank report had to say about doing business in Singapore:

    It takes an entrepreneur just over 6 working days to get a new business going in Singapore, with low start-up costs. Overall, taking into account other factors, including business licensing, taxes, credit legal rights and investor protection, Singapore has about the most business-friendly regulation in the world.

Investors have also come to appreciate the high levels of transparency and reliability in business, economic and regulatory affairs in Singapore. A stable political structure with parliamentary democracy, a well-established judicial system, and the presence of strong domestic institutions with good corporate governance practices, have made the Singapore business environment even more attractive to global investors.

Cost Competitiveness and Business Infrastructure

Singapore remains highly cost competitive compared with other major financial centres.

Financial institutions benefit from Singapore’s world-class infrastructure and connectivity. Singapore has built on its advantageous geographical location to become one of the world’s top trading and transportation hubs. Located right in the middle of the Asian timezone, Singapore maintains excellent connectivity and proximity to major Asian economies.

Financial institutions in Singapore can also tap on our extensive network of free trade agreements and Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) . Our network of DTAs with more than 80 jurisdictions works to the advantage of any financial institution using Singapore as its regional or global hub.

Skilled Workforce

The availability of a large pool of finance professionals in Singapore is a key reason why global financial institutions operate here, and use Singapore as a regional or global hub. We continue to attract top talent and expertise from overseas. At the same time, MAS works closely with our tripartite partners to build the pipeline of finance professionals and leaders.

Singapore’s labour regulations and workforce have consistently been rated highly by leading international organisations such as the World Economic Forum and Washington-based risk consultancy agency, Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI).

Schemes and Initiatives

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

Tax Incentives

MAS offers tax incentives for financial institutions setting up or expanding in Singapore. Learn about the Financial Sector Incentive (FSI) scheme and Insurance Business Development (IBD) scheme.

Grant Schemes

If your financial institution plans to expand its operations in Singapore, you may apply for grant schemes under the Financial Sector Development Fund (FSDF)

What's New

  • Media Releases
    Published Date: 07 August 2020

    MAS Calls on Finance Companies to Moderate FY2020 Dividends

    MAS has urged finance companies incorporated in Singapore to cap their total dividends per share (“DPS”) for FY2020 at 60% of FY2019’s level. The finance companies are also encouraged to offer shareholders the option of receiving the dividends to be paid for FY2020 in scrip in lieu of cash.

  • Media Releases
    Published Date: 05 August 2020

    MAS Announces Key Initiatives to Support SORA Adoption

    MAS announces key initiatives to support the adoption of SORA. The initiatives aim to catalyse greater activity in SORA markets, safeguard integrity and enhance market confidence in SORA, given SORA’s growing importance as a key interest rate benchmark in SGD financial markets.

  • Media Releases
    Published Date: 04 August 2020

    New Asian Institute of Digital Finance to Spearhead FinTech Education and Research

    MAS, NRF and NUS will be jointly setting up a research institute that will develop deep capabilities to support the needs of digital financial services in Asia. The Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) will provide thought leadership and strengthen synergies between education, research and entrepreneurship in the thriving area of digital finance. It is expected to begin operating by the end of this year.