Singapore business leaders rank terrorist and cyber attacks as biggest global risks

Security personnel patrolling the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre area.
Security personnel patrolling the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre area.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Business leaders in Singapore have ranked terrorist and cyber attacks as the most concerning global risks in a new global survey by the World Economic Forum.

This stands in contrast to the top five risks identified globally, which were unemployment, fiscal crises, failure of national governance, energy price shock and social instability.

However, Singapore executives are joined by their US counterparts in ranking terrorist attacks and cyber attacks as their top two concerns, with data fraud or theft in the top five for both countries.

The survey, done in collaboration with Marsh & McLennan Companies and Zurich Insurance Group, asked 12,411 executives in 136 countries to identify the five biggest risks to doing business in their countries, out of a total of 29 risks.

Commenting on the Singapore results, Mr Reg Peacock, chief executive of Zurich Insurance Singapore, said:"The findings suggest local executives are more concerned about external events which might impact Singapore than home-grown trouble."

He added: "As a technological hub with many large regional or global corporate headquarters here, Singapore is a potential target and it is good to see executives are aware of these risks. All companies should ensure they have clear risk mitigation and management strategies in place to manage these issues." 

Singaporeans are also concerned about the spread of infectious diseases - possibly due to experience with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic of 2003 to 2004 and, more recently, occasional reports of avian influenza and Zika virus outbreaks in Asia.



Regionally, executives across East Asia and the Pacific rank cyber attacks and asset bubbles as the top risks, while South Asia executives are most concerned with unemployment and failure of national governance.

Mr David Jacob, CEO of Marsh Asia, said: "This survey reveals fresh insights into the concerns of senior business executives around the world, which helps frame our thinking about products and consulting. Concerns about energy price shocks and asset bubbles appear high on lists for many countries, suggesting there is uncertainty about the state of the global economy."

He added: "Companies should start building resilience to these risks."