Published Date: 06 October 2012

"Understanding Risks, Charting the Future" - Opening Address by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at the Marsh and McLennan Companies Office Opening on 5 October 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. I am very pleased to join you today at the official opening of Marsh & McLennan Companies’ new home in Asia Square.

Understanding Risks, Charting the Future

2      Your new office is an affirmation of Marsh & McLennan’s rapid growth since entering Singapore almost 40 years ago. It also marks the increasing importance of Singapore as a leading insurance marketplace.

3      Asia will be home to more than half of the world’s most dynamic cities over the next decade. Yet Asia, is vastly different in terms of cultures, economies and political and financial systems, and presents a risk landscape unlike any other region. As we embrace Asia’s growth, we must also strengthen our capabilities to deal with increasingly large and complex risks, such the impact of the Euro crisis, ageing populations and natural catastrophes.

4      Over the years, Singapore has established itself as the leading re/insurance marketplace in Asia-Pacific, serving as a base for insurers and reinsurers to write regional and international risks. Today, close to 60% of the insurance business is derived offshore, reflecting Singapore’s position as a regional insurance and specialty insurance hub. Many of the world’s top global names in insurance broking, captive management and risk advisory and analytics are also present here.

5      With its regional hub in Singapore, Marsh & McLennan is well-placed to help Asia deal with existing risks, as well as anticipate emerging and unforeseen risks. At a time when the global economy is facing major challenges, your expertise in risk, strategy and human capital, through your four operating companies of Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer and Oliver Wyman, position you well in helping clients respond to key business issues in these uncertain and volatile times. Your growing presence here will allow you to take advantage of Asia’s continuing growth and emergence, and to remain at the forefront of risk management and thought leadership.

Individual Excellence, Collective Wisdom

6      For Singapore, having multinational companies establish regional headquarters here also fosters a confluence of ideas, talents and capital. I am glad to know that you have now located 900 staff from the 4 operating companies all under one roof. This physical co-location promotes a culture of learning, knowledge sharing and collaboration, in the same way that Singapore seeks to develop a nation of lifelong learners and innovators.

7      Marsh & Mclennan’s business success is determined by the value you provide to your clients and this depends essentially on the knowledge, expertise and experience of your employees. It is commendable that you have in place different talent development programmes, such as: (i) Marsh and Guy Carpenter’s apprenticeship program with the Singapore College of Insurance; (ii) Mercer’s dedicated recruitment drives with local universities; and (iii) Oliver Wyman’s internship program with NUS and SMU, in addition to your new associate training programme.

Staying the Course

8      As we embark on this journey, it is important to constantly check that we are on the right course. Singapore, and the companies we are home and host to, will have to adapt to changes and strengthen our value proposition, so as to realise Asia’s full potential.

9     I thank Marsh and McLennan for growing with us in Singapore. Once again, congratulations on your new home and I wish you every success.

Thank you.