British companies continue to be drawn to S'pore

PHOTO: British companies continue to be drawn to S'pore

More Singapore firms are looking to exciting new markets in Africa, Russia, Latin America, eastern Europe and the Middle East.

But ties with one of the Republic's oldest trading and investment partners, Britain, are strong - and growing even stronger.

Mr Rudi Geerdink, Singapore country executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), said British firms continue to find powerful reasons to do business here.

Those setting up shop here include service-oriented companies and those in manufacturing-related industries, he added.

Speaking at Thursday's annual business awards organised by the British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham), Mr Geerdink said: "Having been in Singapore for 155 years, RBS has seen the types of UK companies coming to Singapore evolve alongside Singapore's economy."

RBS is a sponsor of the awards, held at the Shangri-La Hotel.

One of the key challenges for British firms is the growing interest in Singapore and Asia generally in exotic new markets.

"Across all those challenges, Singapore's role as a gateway for companies expanding to ASEAN has remained steadfast, as a result of its excellent legal, transport, financial and business infrastructure and its workforce," he said.

Singapore's role as a global financial centre has been evolving rapidly too, he said.

The range of financial services on offer here has expanded.

RBS has built its business here, and helped to foster Singapore-British ties. One example was sponsoring the awards.

Mr Geerdink explained the importance of UK-Singapore ties: "The presence and investment of UK companies into Singapore have introduced diversity into the country's business and industries.

"The UK's strong entrepreneurial culture has been further encouraged in the past few years."

RBS' markets and international banking business here offers clients products and services in debt financing, global markets, risk management and transaction services, he said.

Singapore is also one of four global trading hubs for the bank, and one of two within the Asia-Pacific. The others are London, Tokyo and Stamford, in the United States.

RBS employs 1,500 people here, with its head office located at One Raffles Quay.

Mr Geerdink added: "The success of Singapore as a financial and business hub is also the reason why Singapore houses RBS Group's Asia operations centre, which provides infrastructure support for markets and international banking business regionally."

He said the Republic remains very attractive to RBS.

Singapore's bond market has deepened, with a growing number of international firms raising debt in the Singapore dollar.

Mr Geerdink also noted that "the pool of both trading companies and regional treasury centres of MNCs based in Singapore has continued to increase".

This has meant new regional cash management mandates requested by corporations based in Singapore. Some have been won by RBS, he added.

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