World Bank Group to double S'pore headcount, open Asia treasury hub over next 2 years

The World Bank Group on Tuesday (Oct 27) signed an agreement with the Government to expand its infrastructure financing services here over the next few years.
The World Bank Group on Tuesday (Oct 27) signed an agreement with the Government to expand its infrastructure financing services here over the next few years.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The World Bank Group on Tuesday (Oct 27) signed an agreement with the Government to expand its infrastructure financing services here over the next few years.

As part of the expansion, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group member firm, plans to open a full-fledged Asia treasury hub including a new trading floor by June next year to help firms raise local currencies for regional projects out of Singapore.

Altogether, the World Bank, the IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga), the political risk guarantee arm of the World Bank, will employ more than 200 people here over the next two years. Currently, the group has about 75 employees based in Singapore.

Employees will service the group's global clients from the expanded office, with a focus on Asia.

The larger team will also include experts on energy and resource extraction, water, transport, information and communications technology, public-private partnerships, and urban development.

Mr Vivek Pathak, the IFC's director of East Asia and the Pacific, said that the expanded operations here would allow the group to deepen its relationships with Singaporean firms, which are increasingly interested in investing outside Singapore.

"Because of our large footprint overseas, we can go to them with projects and ideas and work with them as partners rather than just financiers," he said.

Mr Jingdong Hua, vice president and treasurer for the International Finance Corporation, said: "A full-fledged Asia treasury hub in Singapore will complement our global operations in Washington, DC and London. It will allow IFC to always be open for our clients."

As a AAA-rated bond issuer, the IFC will also promote capital market development in the region, he said.

Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah witnessed the signing at the World Bank Group office at the Marina Bay Financial Center.

"Since the inception of the World Bank-Singapore Urban Hub in 2011, our common objective has been to harness synergies of the World Bank Group and Singapore-based knowledge and resources," she said.

"The World Bank Group can collaborate with Singapore's business and research ecosystem to enhance its range of solutions for developing countries in the region and beyond."

marilee@sph.com.sg