Published Date: 02 October 2000

Welcome Remarks by Mr Lee Hsien Loong, DPM and Chairman, MAS at MAS Evening at Art Singapore, 02 October 2000 at Ministry of Information and the Arts Building

Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

1   Welcome to the MAS Evening at Art Singapore.

2   This is the first time that MAS is holding such a "client servicing" event. A few years ago, the very notion that a central bank or regulator had clients, and that it needed to do client servicing, would have been received with raised eyebrows. The authority's role was to oversee the financial sector from an Olympian height, unperturbed by gusts of competitive forces or any need to cultivate market participants. Perhaps this is an exaggeration, but only a slight one.

3   But the financial industry has changed, and so have financial regulators. Regulators still have to oversee the industry impartially and rigorously. But they must also get to know the players, to sense the currents of change, and to stay abreast of new developments. They even need to promote the healthy growth of the financial sector, to craft incentives and policies to ensure that their sector does not get left behind by competitors, or more ambitiously to develop it into a vibrant and dynamic financial hub. This calls for a much closer, but still correct, still arms-length, relationship with the private sector.

4   This is the approach we have taken in Singapore, as we have liberalised and upgraded the financial sector. Many of you have contributed to the process by participating in discussions and consultations, and sitting on committees and review groups. Your feedback and views have helped us to set priorities and fine tune policies, and enabled us to do our job much more effectively. Even when we engaged consultants, we still conducted reality checks of their recommendations with industry participants like you.

5   I hope that as we work together, we will deepen the relationship and rapport between the MAS and the private sector. I trust that you will continue to be as forthcoming with your views and opinions as you have been these past three years.

6   This evening's function is a small token of our appreciation for your efforts. I hope that you will enjoy the chance to get together in a relaxed setting. There will be no weighty speeches full of new exhortations and pronouncements. If you hear anything that is market sensitive in the buzz tonight, it will not be from MAS.

7   I wish you all an enjoyable evening.