Published Date: 12 September 2006

Chairman IBF's Remarks at the Soft Launch of UBS Wealth Management Campus - Asia Pacific, 12 September 2006


Good afternoon,
Mrs Kathryn Shih, 
Mrs Christine Ong,
Ladies and gentlemen. 

I am delighted to be here at the soft launch of the UBS Wealth Management Campus - Asia Pacific.   

Building Wealth Management Talent For Asia

2   UBS is a major global player in wealth management, and is well-positioned in Singapore and the region to tap Asia's unprecedented wealth creation. The economies in Asia, all within the same time zone as Singapore's, and a short flight away, are all growing strongly. Millions of people in Asia have been lifted out of poverty and the middle class is expanding rapidly. Each year, many more entrepreneurs, professionals and investors join the ranks of millionaires and billionaires. It is estimated that in 2005, Asia accounted for 23% of global high net worth assets. Asia's growth is also creating many new opportunities for investments, which has attracted the interest of global investors, including those in Latin America and the Middle East.

3   Wealth management opportunities therefore abound. With this expansion of opportunities, the demand for private bankers has also multiplied. As this trend will continue, to sustain the growth of private banking, the industry must develop a steady flow of high calibre relationship managers.

4   Wealth management is highly demanding and knowledge-intensive. Relationship managers and investment advisors need to acquire the trust and confidence of their clients, in order to understand and serve their needs fully. Beyond integrity and discretion, given the diverse cultures in Asia, bankers need to be culturally sensitive and discreet. Apart from the mastery of financial planning, private bankers need to develop deep knowledge and keep abreast of the range of investment options, which are increasingly sophisticated, with complex risk-return profiles. The demands made on private bankers will expand, as innovations in financial markets accelerate.

5   I believe Singapore is an ideal base to develop wealth management talent for the region. Apart from being an international financial centre, our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-lingual heritage enables us to share many common points of reference with people from around the world. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and tourists find Singapore a welcoming and comfortable place to live, work and play. Our geographical position and historical links with the region allow us to connect deeply to this region and to the world.

6   One result of this is that the flow of international students has expanded rapidly, from less than 50,000 in 2002 to 72,000 in 2005. This will continue to grow strongly, as we push ahead to develop Singapore as a "Global Schoolhouse". Already, many world class universities are now offering a wide range of high quality programmes in Singapore, including specializations in banking and finance.     

7   In this context, the UBS Wealth Management Campus is a landmark project for UBS in your expansion in this region, as well as for Singapore's aspiration as a key centre for wealth management and quality education. I understand that the Campus will be training talent that UBS is recruiting from all over Asia, to prepare for your expansion in the region. The Campus will also be embarking on leadership and management education. It is even more significant that the Campus will serve as a centre of excellence for research and innovation in wealth management. This will add to the richness of financial research activities in Singapore.

8   As Chairman of the Institute of Banking and Finance, I am also very pleased that the UBS Wealth Management Campus is building on the Financial Industry Competency Standards that IBF has been championing, to create in-house FICS accredited programmes for their staff, both in and outside of Singapore. 

9   I appreciate UBS' commitment to developing a flow of wealth management talent, and for being a strong partner to MAS and IBF for all our key initiatives in talent development. May I offer my heartiest congratulations to all of you at UBS on the launch of this UBS Wealth Management Campus - Asia Pacific, and wish you every success in this endeavour.