Financial and Professional Services sectors

An Expert's View about Banking and Finance in Singapore

Posted on: 2 Dec 2012

Strategically located to serve Asia Pacific, Singapore is a well-regulated global financial sector reputed for its robust legal framework.

Financial and Professional Services sectors in Singapore Strategically located to serve Asia Pacific, Singapore is a well-regulated global financial sector reputed for its robust legal framework. Singapore has also topped the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings for the past 6 years. Market overview Home to over 600 financial institutions and more than 100 foreign law firms, Singapore is well- regarded as a triple-A rated economy, making it the only Asian country with this rating. The financial services sector currently constitutes about 11% of Singapore’s GDP, while the legal sector has outperformed the overall economy, posting growth even during the worst of the recession in 2009. As one of the top 4 most active foreign exchange trading centres in the world, Singapore is the second largest over-the-counter derivatives trading centre in Asia, and a leading commodities derivatives trading hub. Singapore is also recognised as one of the premier asset management locations in Asia, with total assets under management of around S$1.4 trillion (£0.7 trillion). Being a key insurance marketplace in the Asian time zone, Singapore serves as a base for insurance and reinsurance firms to write regional and international risks. Key opportunities ξ Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced changes in June 2012 to its Qualifying Full Bank (QFB) programme to encourage foreign banks to deepen their roots in Singapore. For QFBs that operate as local subsidiaries, MAS will consider granting such QFBs an additional 25 places of business, of which up to 10 may be branches. These QFBs will be able to operate up to 50 places of business in Singapore. ξ Insurance Act: MAS is undertaking a comprehensive review of the Insurance Act (IA). This is to strengthen MAS' powers for effective regulation and supervision of insurers, enhance clarity on some Act provisions, and align the regulatory approach where possible with those taken in the banking and securities sector. The changes will be incorporated into the IA and its subsidiary legislations in 2012. ξ Access to regions: Singapore seeks to enhance its connectivity to growth markets, not just in Asia but also beyond. As part of this initiative, Singapore has concluded Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with major economies, including the United States, China, Japan, India, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Jordan. There are ongoing FTA talks with other countries. These FTAs provide privileged access to the markets of partner countries. The EU-Singapore FTA currently being negotiated is targeted for conclusion by end 2012. Latest export opportunities in the Financial & Professional Services sector Latest export opportunities in the Philippines Getting into the market The financial services industry is governed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). MAS offers tax incentives and grant schemes under the Financial Sector Development Fund for financial institutions seeking to establish their operations in Singapore. Institutions in the banking, finance and insurance sectors are required to obtain the relevant licences from MAS in order to carry out certain regulated financial services activities. Foreign Law Practices (FLPs) looking to establish in Singapore are required to register at the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC). Every FLP must have professional indemnity insurance coverage in Singapore against any claim, of not less than the sum of $2 million. Written proof of the insurance coverage must be furnished by the applicant firm at the time of its application for registration. The Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) scheme allows FLPs to practise certain permitted areas of Singapore law. QFLPs and Joint Law Ventures (JLVs) can hire Singapore Lawyers (SLs) and Foreign Lawyers (FLs) holding Foreign Practitioner Certificate (FPCs) to practise Singapore law in “permitted areas of legal practice”. FLs who satisfy certain eligibility criteria may sit for the Foreign Practitioner Examination and obtain a FPC to practise Singapore law in an Singapore Law Practice, QFLP or JLV in the same “permitted areas of legal practice”. The Singapore Courts are given discretion to admit Queen’s Counsel and foreign counsel of equivalent distinction on an ad-hoc basis for complex commercial and financial cases. Other entities can register with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). More about doing business in Singapore Contacts Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country - or contact your local international trade team. ξ Phil Hickson, British High Commission Singapore. Tel: +65 6424 4323 or email: ξ Abby Chan, British High Commission Singapore. Tel: +65 6424 4388 or email: Contact your local international trade team UKTI Events UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows. Latest events in the Financial & Professional Services sector Latest events from Singapore Major Events Private Banking Asia Date: 12-14 March 2013 Website address: asia/?pk_campaign=Terr-Listing&pk_kwd=Finance+%26+Investment+in+Asia Useful links More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters
Posted: 02 December 2012

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