Published Date: 18 November 2015

Remarks by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, and Member of the Board of Directors, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at 40th Anniversary Celebrations of Schroders Singapore on 18 November 2015

Mr Andrew Beeson, Chairman, Schroders
Ms Susan Soh, Managing Director and Country Head, Schroders Singapore
Members of the Schroders board
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

I am delighted to join you to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Schroders Singapore and the opening of your new office.

2   Established in London in 1804 – 15 years before the founding of modern Singapore by Stamford Raffles, Schroders is a venerable institution with a long and rich history.  

3   Over the last 200 years, your institution has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, financial manias and depression, and changing centres of economic power, from east to west through the industrial revolution, and more recently, back to the east.

4   Today, long after the sun has set on the British empire, your institution continues to survive and thrive.  Schroders is a highly respected investment manager for sovereigns, institutions and individuals, with over GBP 300 billion of assets managed out of offices across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

5   Of course, I’m sure Schroders Singapore is proud to have come from such distinguished parentage.  In 40 years, you have rapidly expanded your capabilities across multiple asset classes and enjoyed robust growth. As of July this year, the Singapore office oversaw over S$33 billion in assets under management (AUM).

6   Your achievements go beyond the numbers.  Schroders Singapore is also a key part of the overall group business

  • It is the regional centre for fixed income investment, risk management, compliance, legal, operations, IT and finance in the Asia-Pacific.
  • It holds leading positions in both institutional and retail fund markets, and is one of Schroders’ three trading centres of excellence. 
  • It is also the largest overseas location in terms of headcount. 

We thank Schroders for your vote of confidence in Singapore, and we hope to continue this partnership for many more years to come.

7   As you are aware, Singapore celebrated our Golden Jubilee – 50 years of independence – this year.  In the history of nations, 50 years is really a very short time. It goes off in a blink of eye because nation-building is really the work of generations, spanning hundreds if not thousands of years. 

8   History has dealt us a weak hand of cards to play with – a small island without natural resources.  But we’re fortunate to be located in the heart of a region that is brimming with renewed dynamism and vibrancy.  No doubt there are near-term headwinds. But the longer-term outlook for Asia remains positive. 

9   We’re taking full advantage of these trends to strengthen our position as a leading financial centre in Asia. 

10   We’re particularly glad to see the asset management industry making good progress over the years.  Since 2000, the assets under management (AUM) has grown by nearly 10 times from $276 billion to over $2.3 trillion, across both traditional as well as alternative assets like hedge funds and private equity.  More importantly over 80% of industry AUM is sourced from outside Singapore, with the bulk of it invested in the Asia Pacific region, which speaks to our  position as a pan-Asia asset management centre.

11   Global asset managers like Schroders are important partners in our continuing efforts to develop our asset management industry.

12   First, we are continuously looking at ways to enhance market access, for example, by building on our joint initiatives with China to allow fund managers based here to launch more investment products linked to the RMB.  With your extensive global network and market insights, Schroders can contribute greatly to these efforts.

13   Second, we are investing more in Singaporean capabilities. We want to strengthen our technical competencies and leadership capabilities across the entire value chain of financial services.   Schroders Singapore already has a strong Singaporean core holding key management positions, and we certainly hope to work with you to develop more pathways for young Singaporeans eager to pursue a career in this sector.

14   Third, we are harnessing technology to realise our vision of a Smart Financial Centre.  Technology will play an increasingly important role in the financial sector, including in asset management.  Already, we’re seeing an increase in global assets handled through robo-advisors.  This is not an issue of robots displacing humans, because research everywhere shows that investors still value the human touch. But it’s a question of how we can better integrate digital technologies as part of the value proposition of a successful asset management strategy, and I’m sure there’ll be many opportunities for collaboration in this space. 
15   Finally, we welcome Shroders as a long-term partner, anchored and rooted here, and committed to contributing to our local community.  I am very pleased that Schroders will be making a contribution to your adopted charity, the NUHCS Heart Fund administered by the National University Heart Centre.  And I would encourage you to continue with your corporate giving efforts, be it as patrons of the arts, sponsors of sporting events or donors to charitable causes. 

16   On this note, let me congratulate Schroders Singapore on your 40th anniversary in Singapore and I wish you many more successes from your new office here.