Media Releases
Published Date: 15 April 1999

MAS Opens New Promotional Offices In U.K. And U.S.

London and New York offices to
spearhead MAS' efforts to promote Singapore
as a financial centre in overseas markets

Singapore, 15 April 1999 ... The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) officially opened its new London representative office and its promotional office in New York yesterday. The Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of MAS, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, was in London to officiate the event. His speech was video linked live to the New York office where Mr Koh Yong Guan, Managing Director of MAS, hosted lunch.

In his speech, DPM Lee said that the Asian economic crisis has reminded governments, regulators, and investors of the need for higher standards of supervision, disclosure and transparency. At the same time, the benefits of rationalisation, consolidation and economies of scale and exploitation of IT were too valuable to ignore. DPM Lee said that, "The long-term trend towards more responsive and market-oriented regulation will continue, especially in the developed countries."

DPM Lee said that Singapore began to liberalise and further develop its financial sector before the Asian crisis hit. The aim was to help make Singapore a leading financial centre in the Asian time zone, linked to the major financial centres of the world. He said that the crisis gave Singapore a window of opportunity to make careful incremental changes that will cumulatively develop the financial centre and allow Singapore to emerge ahead when the region recovered.

The establishment of a London representative office and expansion of the role of its New York office was part of this broader effort by MAS to promote Singapore as an international financial centre to financial institutions and investors globally. "These overseas offices will foster greater understanding and cooperation between MAS and other central banks, enable MAS to communicate more effectively with the international financial community, service financial institutions which have operations in Singapore, and attract more financial activities to Singapore, " DPM Lee said.

MAS' Financial Sector Promotion Department, set up in April 1998, has to-date made 10 promotional visits to the U.S., Europe and Asia to inform key international financial players of the latest developments and opportunities in Singapore. With the new offices, the Department will be able to complement its promotional visits through direct support to financial institutions based in Europe and the U.S.

Mr Lee Boon Ngiap, a Senior Deputy Director in MAS, will head the MAS London Representative Office, while Mr Thomas Lim, Industry Development Manager, will spearhead the promotional efforts from New York.

Mr William McDonough, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who was unable to attend the New York function, sent a congratulatory message through Mr Terrence Checki, Executive Vice President. Said Mr McDonough, "The MAS offices in New York and London will further enhance Singapore's position as a major international financial centre, serving to inform financial institutions in America and Europe about the opportunities that Singapore offers as an international financial hub in Asia."

The opening of the London office was part of DPM Lee's 2-week working visit to Europe, which includes calls on British Deputy Prime Minister Mr John Prescott and Bank of England Governor Mr Eddie George. DPM Lee will also visit Ireland, France and Germany where he will meet political and business leaders. He is expected to return to Singapore at the end of April.