Daiwa Wealth Management Opening Ceremony, Address by Mr. Ng Nam Sin, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Friday, 19 January 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to Daiwa Securities Company on the opening of Daiwa Wealth Management office in Singapore. I am honoured to be able to join you here this evening for this joyous occasion.
2 Daiwa has a long history of operating in Singapore, having first set up operations in 1972 through a joint venture with DBS Bank Ltd. Today, all of Daiwa Securities Group's main subsidiaries have established presence in Singapore, which also serves as the headquarters for your fixed income business in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
3 The opening of Daiwa Wealth Management Singapore marks yet another milestone for the Daiwa Securities Group. This will be Daiwa Securities Company's first overseas subsidiary and we are delighted that you have chosen Singapore for the first venture overseas to serve your High Net Worth clients in Asia and Middle East. This is indeed a great testimony of Singapore's standing as a private banking and fund management hub. The underlying attraction is our socio-political stability, strong domestic economy, clean and efficient legal infrastructure, sound financial sector regulation and supervision, a ready pool of experienced professionals and our global connectivity.
4 However, these are not the only reasons. Beyond Singapore's strong fundamentals, more importantly, it is the bright prospects of Asia and Middle East that has, and will continue driving the demand for wealth and fund management services in Singapore.
5 Asia's sustained economic growth and market developments have made it truly one of the brightest and most rewarding region for investors. Japan continues to rediscover its vigour after a decade long slumber. Reports and data emerging from Japan point to a continued strengthening of the recovery. A turbo-charged China locomotive continues to surge ahead, driving cross-border trade and fuelling global economic growth. According to EIU forecasts, China's real GDP growth is expected to still clock a remarkable 8.1% in 2010.
6 India, the other Asian giant, with a booming economy is expected to invest more than US$250 billion in infrastructure projects over the next 5 years as it powers forth. In the Middle East, high oil prices have helped generated more than US$1.2 trillion in wealth and an estimated 300,000 individuals with assets exceeding US$1 million.
7 Closer to home in Singapore, prospects for South East Asian economies too have improved considerably. With the 1997 Asian financial crisis well behind, South East Asian economies have emerged stronger and they too are charging ahead. Governments are now responding vigorously to the threats of terrorism, and channelling efforts and resources to restore business confidence and foster economic growth.
8 Asia's growth and prosperity has presented immense opportunities and created enormous wealth for both corporates and individuals. This has driven a greater demand for a wider range of financial services and products to cater to an increasingly sophisticated pool of investors. With Singapore's strong foundations and our location right at the heart of the action, we are well poised to serve these needs.
9 Singapore's financial services sector has benefited from these developments, having grown at an average rate of 6.5% from 2003 - 2005. The latest asset management survey puts assets under management by Singapore-based fund managers at S$720 billion as of end 2005, a 26% increase over the previous year. About 80% of these funds are sourced offshore with Asia being a major contributor. In particular, funds sourced from Middle East exhibited a staggering growth of 30%.
10 Such has been the trailblazing growth of the wealth and fund management industry in Singapore. Beyond the growth in assets managed in Singapore, a more diverse range of products and services are developed in Singapore for both domestic and regional investors.
11 Are we satisfied with all that we have achieved? The answer is obviously no! We have continued to search for new ways to further develop Singapore's financial sector in order to keep pace with global developments. I will now share our thoughts on three potential growth areas in the wealth management sector.
12 The first is in the area of trust services, which has been growing in importance globally. Trusts have become an integral component of estate and succession planning. Since we updated the Singapore Trustees Act in 2004 and introduced the Trust Companies Act in 2006, we have seen a healthy pipeline of interest from trust service providers to set up operations in Singapore.
13 Secondly, we see family offices growing in importance too. The demand for family office services will grow in tandem with the number of ultra-wealthy in the world. In 2005, there was a 33% increase in global demand for family office services. With our critical mass of wealth managers, a vibrant private banking sector, and an increasing number of trust providers, Singapore is in a superb position to service the ever increasing numbers of family offices in Asia.
14 The third area Singapore is keen to develop is philanthropy. Whether charitable giving comes from corporate or private sources, one thing is clear - the main concern of the donor is that his giving achieves its intended purpose. We are confident that Singapore's reputation for good governance, integrity, efficiency and reliability has put us in good stead to help international donors give to the region. At the same time, we are keen to encourage more private banks to set up specialised units capable of advising clients on organised philanthropy. Whilst there may be much business opportunities to be developed in the region, there are just as much opportunities in philanthropy as we contribute back to improving the welfare of this region.
15 To conclude, I would like to congratulate Daiwa Wealth Management again on the opening of your Singapore office. We look forward to a continued and fruitful partnership with Daiwa and I wish you every success.
16 Thank you