Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 13 August 2013

Reply to Parliamentary Question on Singapore's Private Banking Sector




Date: For Parliament Sitting on 12 August 2013

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Gan Thiam Poh


To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the current number of financial institutions offering private banking services; (b) whether Singapore's plan to grow the private banking sector is successful and, if so, what are the reasons for its success; and (c) what is the total number of jobs created for Singaporeans in the private banking sector.

Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

1   There are about 40 financial institutions in Singapore offering private banking services.

2   Singapore is one of the leading international centres for private banking. Bankers cite our reputation for sound financial regulation, strong rule of law, and political and economic stability as the fundamentals underpinning our success as a wealth management centre. In addition, Singapore has built up a strong eco-system of capabilities to support the growth of private banking. This includes skills and expertise in asset management, particularly with regard to Asian investments, and in foreign exchange and derivatives trading. The availability of a diverse pool of local and international talent, and our relatively developed capital markets, are also important to this ecosystem. Our location in Asia is also a key advantage, in view of both the wealth being generated in Asia and the opportunities to invest clients’ monies in the region. These are the main reasons why we have seen financial institutions expanding their private banking business here.

3   Many good quality jobs have been created for Singaporeans in the private banking sector in recent years. The sector employs about 9,000 individuals, of whom over two-thirds are Singapore citizens. These jobs include roles in management, client relationship management, risk management, legal and compliance as well as back office functions. The financial institutions are aware of the need to develop a strong Singapore core in private banking, as the basis for  sustainable growth over the long term. MAS is working with the industry to create opportunities for Singaporeans to build up the skills, experience in overseas markets and managament capabilities required to excel.