Media Releases
Published Date: 24 August 1998

Financial Sector Expects Smooth Transition into Year 2000

Singapore. 24 August 1998: The Monetary Authority of Singapore said that efforts to achieve Year 2000 readiness in Singapore's financial sector are well on track.

"Year 2000 readiness is one of the biggest challenges facing the financial industry globally. Singapore's preparations began in early 1997 and we are confident that our financial sector will remain resilient in the transition into Year 2000," said Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) of the Authority, who was speaking at a press conference announcing the Authority's annual report for financial year 1997/98.

MAS' four-pronged supervisory strategy

Mr Shanmugaratnam also announced that MAS had adopted a four-pronged supervisory strategy to address the Year 2000 issue:

  1. To raise awareness and facilitate Year 2000 efforts in the financial sector
  2. To monitor compliance progress through on-site inspection and off-site reviews
  3. To control Year 2000 risks through supervisory actions, industry testing and contingency planning
  4. To cooperate with financial regulators overseas, and other Singapore government agencies in addressing Year 2000 issues

Financial institutions have been given a deadline of 31 December 1998 to complete their Year 2000 conversion procedures. Financial sector as a whole will undergo a series of industry-wide tests to check their Year 2000 readiness. The first industry test was successfully conducted by the Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES) on its trading system yesterday. Mr Shanmugaratnam disclosed that a total of 70,000 trades were done during the 1.5 hr mock-trading session, which is the level of current daily trades (1 day's volume simulated in 1.5 hr.) The test involved 560 dealers' representatives.

"Subsequent industry-wide tests to be held in the first quarter of 1999, including that for the banking system, will help MAS to plug any weaknesses in the system and identify financial institutions that require extra assistance and supervision," he added.

MAS has also mapped out supervisory actions that will apply to those who cannot meet Year 2000 readiness standards. These measures range from requiring identified banks/financial institutions to raise additional liquidity to cushion against potential losses, to imposing operational restrictions to minimize the systemic impact of a service disruption or failure in the institution. In extreme cases, banks or financial institutions could be restricted from engaging in any form of operations, or interfacing with the financial industry for a period of time prior to and after 1 January 2000.

Mr Shanmugaratnam said the local and international financial institutions were working closely with MAS to make for a smooth transition to Year 2000. Most financial institutions had been proactive in their Year 2000 readiness plans. "They understand the onus is on them and they are taking every initiative to meet the Authority's timetable."

Financial Sector Year 2000 Steering Committee

Mr Shanmugaratnam also announced that a Steering Committee has been set up to oversee the smooth implementation of programmes and to coordinate measures to ensure Year 2000 compliance for the financial industry. The members of the Steering Committee are at Annex A.

The Committee will oversee a Year 2000 task force led by Mr Enoch Ch'ng, Senior Director, Specialised Supervisory Resources, MAS. The task force is working closely with other government agencies such as the National Computer Board, Telecommunication Authority of Singapore to ensure that efforts by the financial sector and other sectors striving for Year 2000 readiness move in tandem. Members of the Task Force are at Annex B.

"Singapore's reputation as a world-class financial centre is built on its excellent infrastructure, and the ability of MAS to maintain confidence and stability in the financial system. We are confident our efforts to facilitate and supervise Year 2000 readiness with the co-operation of financial institutions will ensure this reputation remains well protected."

For further information:Mr Leong Sing Chiong
Assistant Director (Corporate Communications)
Planning & Policy Co-ordination Unit
Tel: 6229-9105
Fax: 227-9865


Annex A

Financial Sector Year 2000 Readiness Steering Committee


Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Managing Director, Financial Supervision Group, MAS


Banks/Financial Institutions

  1. Mr Ng Kee Choe, Chairman, Association of Banks in Singapore
  2. Mr G B Low, Chairman, The Singapore Merchant Bankers' Association
  3. Mr Albert Koh, President, General Insurance Association of Singapore
  4. Mr N Ganesan, President, Life Insurance Association
  5. Mr Peter Tan, Chairman, Finance Houses Association of Singapore
  6. Mrs Elizabeth Sam, Chairperson, Investment Management Association of Singapore


  1. Mr Ang Swee Tian, President, Singapore International Monetary Exchange
  2. Mr Lim Choo Peng, President, Stock Exchange of Singapore


  1. Ms Yeo Lian Sim, Assistant Managing Director, Markets & Investment Department
  2. Mrs Foo-Yap Siew Hong, Senior Executive Director, Banking Department
  3. Mrs Lim Shu Chiau, Executive Director, Insurance Department
  4. Mrs Huay Khee Chuang, Executive Director, IT Department
  5. Mr Seow Kok Leong, Senior Director, Securities & Asset Management/Financial Futures Division
  6. Mr Tan Kim Kway, Senior Director, Corporate Finance Division
  7. Mr Enoch Ch'ng, Senior Director, Specialised Supervisory Resources.


Annex B

Financial Sector Year 2000 Readiness Task Force

Task Force Leader

Mr Enoch Ch'ng, Senior Director, Specialised Supervisory Resources, MAS.

Task Force Members


  1. Mrs Mimi Ho, Director, Securities & Assets Management
  2. Mrs Adelene Koh, Director, Insurance Department
  3. Mr Tan Wei Cheng, Director, IT Department
  4. Mr Mok Seow Poh, Deputy Director, IS Supervision
  5. Mrs Malkit G Singh, Deputy Director, Banking Department
  6. Mr Neo Boon Sim, Manager, Corporate Finance Division
  7. Mr Vincent Cheng, Senior Officer, Specialised Supervisory Resources
  8. Mr Harry Lim, Officer, Specialised Supervisory Resources


  1. Mr Bob Pang, Senior Vice President, Singapore International Monetary Exchange
  2. Mr Chew Kok Kong, Assistant Manager, Stock Exchange of Singapore


  1. Mrs Ong Ai Boon, Executive Director, Association of Banks in Singapore
  2. Mrs Rose Lui, Association of Banks in Singapore (Senior Manager and Head Year 2000 Task Force, DBS Bank)
  3. Mr Alex Woo, Vice President, J.P. Morgan

Merchant Banks

  1. Mrs Lim Eng Ai, Executive Secretary, Singapore Merchant Bankers' Association
  2. Mr Lee Han Chwee, Vice President, Compliance, Credit Suisse First Boston (Singapore) Limited

Fund Managers

  1. Mr Daniel Chan, Managing Director & Chief Investment Officer, UOB Asset Management (Investment Management Association of Singapore)

Insurance Companies

  1. Mr Ho Ming Heng, Chief Operations Officer, Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Limited (Life Insurance Association)
  2. Dr Lai Chee Chong, IT Convenor, General Insurance Association of Singapore

Finance Companies

  1. Mr Ting Tiong Hock, Director, Finance Houses Association of Singapore

Accounting Firms

  1. Mrs Fang Ai Lian, Chairperson, Banking and Finance Committee, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore

Government Bodies

  1. Mr Chew Hong Gian, Deputy Director, National Computer Board


  1. Tang Peng Chou, Head (MI/ISTRP), Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore
  2. Mr Goh Teck Soon, Senior Vice President, Corporate Services, Central Provident Fund Board