Singapore Opens New Financial Centre

By CNA/ir | Source: Channel News Asia

The development of the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) and a new financial district downtown has helped to keep Singapore competitive.

Speaking at the grand opening of Singapore’s MBFC on Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the high-quality business environment has strengthened Singapore’s position as a global financial hub.

Built at a total cost of S$4 billion, the MBFC was the result of a vision conceived over 10 years ago, the vision of developing a world-class business and financial centre to make sure Singapore stays relevant to the needs of a
fast-growing financial sector.

Prime Minister Lee said: “We studied many hubs overseas – Canary Wharf, of course; Hong Kong’s International Financial Centre; Shanghai’s Pudong (which was) then just taking off. We identified the features we needed.

“Eventually after much discussion and debate of how it should be done, whether it should be done, we decided in 2003 to carve out a large land parcel on Marina South for a business and financial hub.”

Mr Lee said it was a bold move that paid off as the global economy rebounded.

MBFC comprises three office towers, offering about three million square feet of office space – double of what’s at Raffles Place.

There are also nearly 650 luxury apartments and a retail mall at MBFC.

The MBFC, a key landmark in Singapore’s new downtown, is home to over 20,000 workers and many established companies in the legal services, commodities and financial services sectors, including anchor tenants like DBS Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

Standard Chartered Bank Singapore CEO Ray Ferguson said: “We have the largest dealing room in Asia in our facility here at Marina Bay. So, obviously Singapore…a key financial centre, not just in Asia but in the world now. What we have got at Marina Bay, what we have been able to build really helps support that positioning.”

Mr Lee said Singapore’s open economy, deep pool of talent and robust regulatory regime have also contributed to the success of its financial industry.

The banking and services sector accounts for 12 per cent of Singapore’s GDP.

And Mr Lee said it is expected to grow by 3 per cent this year.

He added that Singapore’s financial industry is at an important juncture as the country transitions to a new phase of development.

And a vibrant financial sector will continue to benefit the Singapore economy by generating better jobs and spurring growth in other sectors like the legal services, industry development and social enterprises.

“Therefore, we must continue to attract high-quality investments to create better jobs for Singaporeans,” said Mr Lee.

He also said there is a need to develop a strong Singapore core of specialists and leaders in finance – a move the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is currently facilitating by working with financial institutions.

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