Published Date: 21 May 2010

Remarks by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister For Finance, at The Opening of Standard Chartered at Changi on Friday 21 May 2010, 10.30am


Mr Jaspal Bindra, Group Executive Director and CEO, Asia
Mr Ray Ferguson, Regional CEO, Singapore and South East Asia
Distinguished Guests

It gives me great pleasure to join you today here at the official launch of the Standard Chartered @ Changi ("SCC") facility. It is a significant new facility, bringing together under one roof the global management and design functions for Standard Chartered Bank's Global Technology and Operations functions.

A New Environment for Banking Operations

2   It is also another step forward in Standard Chartered's relationship with Singapore. It has been a fruitful relationship, and marked by constant innovation. This new SCC facility itself brings innovations in its energy-efficient and eco-friendly features, including a design that maximizes natural light, air flow and ventilation. The use of  "cold isle containment" as well as the provision of a rare-species garden on the ground level recreational space are also examples of your bank's commitment to raise the bar for environmental needs. I congratulate Standard Chartered Bank for being awarded the Platinum Green Mark certification [1] by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

3   I understand too that the SCC facility provides a flexible work environment for staff, through extensive use of technology. They can interact freely via IPT phones, WiFi, extensive AV video-conferencing, as well as Follow-Me Printing technologies that allow them to work around any part of the building.

Supporting Global Financial Institutions' Growth

4   The SCC facility is also a good example of the greater scale and complexity of global operations that are being located in Singapore, both in manufacturing and services. I understand that Stanchart has developed in Singapore an integrated IT system[2] for handling its global derivatives business, which is implemented across the bank's entire Global Markets business in Asia, Europe, Middle East and the US.

5   A word about Changi Business Park, which is one of two major new physical clusters that we are developing to cater to the next phase of growth in Asian and global finance:

a) the Marina Bay Financial Centre offers top quality, competitive prime office space, set against a distinctive bay-side environment. It represents a doubling of the space in our existing financial district.

b) the Changi Business Park, on the other hand, offers build-to-suit, modern business park facilities. It allows financial institutions to customize land-space to meet their own unique IT and back-office needs. Being next to Changi Airport, it also provides financial institutions with a speed of access to their operations abroad that is unmatched in Asia. It also offers lush greenery, and central amenities such as childcare centres and F&B options. There are plans for retail and hotel facilities to be built around this area.

6   So if you put it all ltogether, looking at the front, middle and back office needs of global financial institutions over the next 10 years, Singapore offers the most competitive location with regard to quality, costs and connectivity. If you take our existing financial district, the Marina Bay Financial Centre and Changi Business Park together - front, middle and back office needs, and based on quality, costs and connectivity - it is now the most competitive location you can find in Asia and, in some respects globally.

7   These major new developments in physical infrastructure come at the right time. Asian finance is once again on an upward trajectory, and Singapore is well-placed to spur its growth. There is in fact considerable opportunity for growth in the next 5-10 years in areas that play to both Stanchart and Singapore's strengths. Let me mention just three areas:

a) First, trade finance. Asian trade is expected to reach US$20-25 trillion by 2020, with intra-Asian trade constituting at least 50% (McKinsey estimates). In Singapore, we are further integrating physical trade with related services such as trade finance, risk management, supply chain management, certification and distribution. We are also seeking to grow opportunities in ASEAN, working together with our regional partners to realize the vision of a single market under the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

b) Second, infrastructure financing. The demands in Asia are huge. But there is also a critical need for financial institutions to work with public and private sector clients to mitigate risk and attract new sources of infrastructure finance.

c) Third, risk management. This too will be a growth activity in Asia, both in banking and in the capital markets. It will be the foundation for a robust Asian financial system. On this front, Singapore is leveraging on our universities and research centres to conduct industry-relevant research and training on risk management. An example is the NUS-UC Berkeley risk management certification programme. I am glad too that Stanchart has established a new Quantitative Analytics team based in Singapore, working with the NUS to develop methods to better price risk in the structuring of derivative products.

8   We therefore have our work cut out for the next decade. I would like to once again congratulate you on this major new banking facility. Let's look forward to many more years of Standard Chartered Bank's growth and innovation in Singapore.

[1] The Award is the highest environmental award in Singapore recognising projects that demonstrate a minimum of 30% energy and water savings as well as environmentally sustainable building practices and innovative green features.

[2] The system is used for trading, operations, risk management, as well as accounting for the bank's derivatives business.