Government to boost pool of local finance experts

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 that Singapore needed to continue to attract high-quality investments in the financial industry to create more and better jobs for Singaporeans. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 that Singapore needed to continue to attract high-quality investments in the financial industry to create more and better jobs for Singaporeans. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday that Singapore needed to continue to attract high-quality investments in the financial industry to create more and better jobs for Singaporeans.

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

Mr Lee was speaking at the opening of the Marina Bay Financial Centre, a project that underscores the government's efforts to take the financial industry to the next level.

He recalled how the Government foresaw the potential of the Marina Bay area as a business and finance district, and reclaimed land there, before releasing a large parcel to provide the high quality infrastructure needed by the finance industry.

"It was a bold move at the time," he said, noting that land had previously been released in smaller parcels, and how the market did not look good during the scheduled release, coming after September 11 and SARS.

But it paid off. MBFC's Towers 1 and 2 have been fully occupied. Tower 3, which houses DBS bank's headquarters, has been 90 per cent filled.

The financial industry as a whole is similarly doing well. It accounts for more than 12 per cent of the economy and is expected to grow by 3 per cent this year, he said.