The financial industry is now at an important juncture domestically and globally, and Singapore must continue to attract high-quality investments to create better jobs for Singaporeans, even as we develop a strong core of finance specialists and leaders, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Speaking at the official opening of the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) on May 15, Mr Lee said Singapore was qualitatively upgrading its economy and moving to a new phase of development even as financial services and flows grew in tandem with Asia’s progress.
At the same time, the financial sector is undergoing a fundamental review on the global stage, with new regulations introduced to manage systematic risks and anxieties over tax evasion and money laundering, he noted.
Given that banking and financial services account for more than 12 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product, it is imperative that the financial sector is strengthened, PM Lee said.
“We must therefore continue to attract high-quality investments to create better jobs for Singaporeans; to develop a strong Singapore core of specialists and leaders in finance – and the Monetary Authority of Singapore is working with financial institutions on this – and contribute to international efforts to reform and enhance the global financial system,” said Mr Lee.
He said: “A vibrant financial sector continues to benefit our economy and our people. It catalyses growth in other sectors... (and) enhances Singapore’s position as a global trading and services hub.”
His call to expand the local pool of finance experts resonated with top bankers like DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta.
“If you want to anchor any industry and make it sustainable, you need a local core. That is true in Wall Street, in the City of London, and in Singapore,” Mr Gupta told The Straits Times.