Published Date: 08 October 2013

Opening Remarks by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Board Member of MAS, at Official Launch of Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited on 7 October 2013

Mr Jaspal Bindra, Chief Executive of SCB Asia,
Mr Ray Ferguson,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to join you today for the launch of Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited.

Standard Chartered has a history spanning more than 150 years in Singapore, and has played a significant role in the development of Singapore’s financial sector. Very few companies have such a long history. Employees and customers of Standard Chartered should be proud to be part of this. Somebody told me before that the average age of a Fortune 500 company is about 50 years and the age of Standard Chartered is three times of this. The Bank has stayed committed to Singapore in good years and bad, and has continued to serve its customers here well, through the boom and bust cycles of the 19th century, the Great Depression, the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, and more recently, the Global Financial Crisis.

It is also worth mentioning that Standard Chartered was one of four leading foreign banks that were awarded Qualifying Full Bank privileges in 1999, when Singapore liberalised retail banking to allow for more competition. The Bank has since increased its presence in Singapore, with more of its global operations run out of Singapore, even as it expands its local operations to serve the domestic market.

As Ray mentioned just now, Standard Chartered has also been a pioneer in innovation in many areas of financial services, such as introducing the first ATM in Singapore in 1979.  In recent years, it has created and test-bedded innovations from Singapore, for roll-out to its global customers. The research and development of new banking solutions in Singapore will strengthen the Bank’s value proposition to its customers here, and will also enhance Singapore’s role as an incubator for new financial products and services. 

In terms of manpower, Standard Chartered is one of the top three employers in our financial services industry with over 7,600 employees in Singapore. This is a very significant employment base. So the Bank plays an important role in nurturing local talent and leadership in our financial sector. Manpower development is one of the key priorities for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and we look forward to continue the good partnership with the Bank in building a strong Singapore Core within its workforce.

Beyond financial services, I am also glad to see Standard Chartered’s active commitment in the local community through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. For example, the Bank has been the title sponsor of the Standard Chartered Marathon since 2002. This marquee sporting event has become one of Asia’s top road races and it has also raised more than S$1 million for various charities in Singapore. I’m here in my capacity as a Board member of MAS but coincidentally, I’m also the Minister for Sports. In this regard, I look forward to the Standard Chartered Marathon in December and I strongly encourage all of you to join the run. Ray will be running in the 10-km race and I look forward to running with him. Silver Lining is another initiative that seeks to improve the lives of the elderly in Singapore. I encourage Standard Chartered to continue its commitment towards corporate giving and volunteerism among its staff. And I hope this will help to catalyse and inspire even more CSR initiatives across the financial sector.

This event marks yet another key milestone of Standard Chartered’s development in Singapore. MAS welcomes the local incorporation of its Consumer Banking retail and SME business. Standard Chartered serves more than 900,000 retail and SME customers in Singapore and this latest move by the bank further demonstrates its long-term commitment to Singapore and its customers. Through this, I am confident that Standard Chartered will be able to play an even bigger role in contributing to the growth and financial stability of Singapore.

Finally, let me extend my heartiest congratulations to all of you on the launch of the newly incorporated Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited. I wish the Bank every success in its new local operation, and look forward to many more achievements and highlights from Standard Chartered Singapore in the years to come.