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BIS Survey ranks Singapore as world's 5th largest FX centre

Growth of structured finance products in Singapore

Monograph on supervisory framework for financial institutions

Islamic finance in Singapore

Proposed changes to rules for unsecured credit

The Banking (Amendment) Bill passed

Banking (Amendment) Bill - First Reading in Parliament

New 20-year SGS bond to further develop Singapore's debt market

Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) unveiled

How Singapore can contribute to Asia's infrastructure financing activities

MAS sets up payment systems for liberalised stored-value card market

Singapore's insurance and re-insurance industry - next phase

MAS liberalises multi-function stored-value card market

MAS enhances corporate governance for banks & insurers

Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre launched

Findings of First National Financial Literacy Survey - 2005

Money-changing & Remittance Businesses (Amendment) Act 2005

5-day clearing week for banks from 15 May 2006

Securities & Futures (Amendment) Bill 2005 passed

Financial Advisers (Amendment) Bill 2005 passed

MAS releases first issue of Financial Stability Review

No first-year cash rebates for housing loans from 6 Jan 2005

Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre

National Electronic Bills Payment Hub Implemented

MAS Guidelines on Structured Deposits Issued

Survey of Singapore Treasury Activities 2003

MAS specifies procedures under current housing loan rules

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) publishes investor alert list

MAS allows credit cards secured by bank deposits





     - Singapore’s GDP expected to contract by 6.0 to 9.0 per cent in 2009

     - MAS issues guidelines on fair dealing




MTI Forecasts Growth of -1.0–2.0% for Singapore in 2009

In view of the continued deterioration in the outlook for external and regional demand, MTI has moderated the GDP growth forecast for 2008 further downwards to around 2.5%.
The economic downturn is expected to last for several quarters, well into 2009...



MAS Statement on Pinnacle Notes Series 9 and 10

The total issue size of the Pinnacle Notes Series 9 and 10 was S$26 million, sold to about 700 retail investors through five distributors: DMG & Partners Securities, Hong Leong Finance, Kim Eng Securities, OCBC Securities and UOB Kay Hian.
Investors who consider they have a genuine claim that they were mis-sold the product or that the product was misrepresented to them should lodge their complaints with the financial institutions (FIs) that sold them the products.



MAS's actions on Lehman Minibond Notes Programme

To provide noteholders with an independent opinion on the options that best serve their interests, MAS has appointed Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance Pte Ltd (DTCF) as an independent financial adviser on the Lehman Minibond notes programme...
MAS understands that noteholders are anxious to know what they should do and what to expect next. At the moment, there is no action required on their part. MAS and the trustee will continue to keep noteholders updated on all developments including any options for them to consider...



Bank guard foils robbery attempt at UOB in City Plaza

On 10 Nov 08 at about 3.30pm, Security Officer Lance Corporal (LCP) Rosli Bin Mohd Sa’ad was on duty at a bank at a shopping centre along Geylang Rd when he spotted a Malay man behaving suspiciously in the banking hall.

Sensing that something was amiss, LCP Rosli decided to conduct a check on the subject. When confronted, the subject became agitated and a scuffle ensued that attracted the attention of some of the bank staff, who came forward to assist in subduing the Malay man.



Singapore’s economy is strong

This downturn is just beginning. No one can say how long it will last and how deep the downturn will be. Recovery will come when the property market in America reaches bottom and begins to rise. That may not be for many months or even years.
Fortunately, in Singapore, having learned from the 1997/98 financial crisis, we have not allowed a speculative rise in residential property prices. Few citizens have bought homes that they cannot afford to service their instalments on their mortgages. High price condominiums and office properties have declined in prices...





Singapore fund management industry has done well in last few years

The trading of OTC commodity derivatives has also flourished over the years. Last year, total trading volume amounted to approximately US$600 billion, accounting for almost 8% of global trades.
Singapore is also home to the largest REIT market in Asia ex-Japan with a total market capitalization in the region of USD$20 billion.
The Merrill Lynch report also noted an interesting investment trend for HNWIs in Singapore. On the average, alternative investments (including structured products) account for almost 10% of total portfolio allocation for 2006...




Outlook for Singapore economy in 2008

MTI forecasts the Singapore economy to grow by 4.5-6.5 per cent in 2008. This represents a moderation in growth towards the economy's underlying potential rate, following four years of above-trend growth.
The market consensus is that the US economy will slow down in the first half of 2008 as a result of weaker credit and housing markets before resuming healthy growth in the second half. This would support GDP growth in Singapore in the upper half of the 4.5-6.5 per cent forecast range...



Proposed exemption from maximum credit card limit

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a consultation paper proposing to exempt card issuers from complying with the maximum credit limit when issuing credit or charge cards to individuals with an annual income of at least $120,000 or net personal assets exceeding $2 million[1].
With the proposed exemption, card issuers may determine the appropriate credit limits for this higher income group in line with their assessment of the credit worthiness of these individuals...



MAS issues revised property fund guidelines

The revised Guidelines are intended to improve safeguards for investors and to provide greater clarity and flexibility for commercial transactions...
MAS will amend the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) to include REIT management as a regulated activity...



BIS Survey ranks Singapore as world's 5th largest FX centre

According to the latest survey by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), average daily foreign exchange (FX) turnover volume in Singapore jumped 84% from the previous survey in 2004, to reach US$231 billion in 2007.
The survey ranks Singapore as the fifth largest FX centre in the world and the second largest in Asia, closely behind Tokyo...
The survey also ranks Singapore as eighth largest centre globally in terms of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives trading, up from twelfth position in 2004...



Jackson Tai to step down as CEO of DBS

DBS Group Holdings said today that Jackson Tai will step down as Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to be with his family in the United States, and his last day at the bank will be towards the end of this year...
DBS has initiated an extensive global search for the new CEO. In the interim, with the endorsement of the Boards, Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of DBS Group Holdings and DBS Bank, will with immediate effect take on an active management oversight role. He will oversee the Corporate Office to ensure continued strong leadership and a smooth transition over the next few months...



No plans to change minimum annual income requirement for credit cards

"First, let me clarify that the minimum annual income requirement to qualify for a credit card has not been relaxed, and remains at $30,000.
"There are no plans to change this. When Mr Palmer mentioned the relaxation in the minimum annual income for credit cards, I presume he was referring directly to payment instruments with a maximum credit limit of $500.
"MAS has exempted payment instruments with a credit limit of less than $500 from MAS' rules to provide some leeway to the market to innovate and develop convenient payment instruments..."



Banks to adopt new guidelines on home loans

"These guidelines provide customers with clear disclosures on the use of home loan board rates, the financial indicator(s) against which these rates are benchmarked, and the basis for the change in the rates over time...

"The new guidelines are applicable to loans taking effect from 15 June 2007 and not to loans committed before that..."




Growth of structured finance products in Singapore

Ms. Tay Bee Bee, Director Monetary Authority of Singapore

"Over the last 3 years, Singapore managers originated more investment CDOs than any other country in Asia ex-Japan, with an estimated S$6 billion of CDOs in 2006...
"In Asia, Singapore has been pro-active in providing clarity and certainty on the treatment of CDOs into our regulatory regime. Banks have been allowed to invest in all tranches of CDOs, while insurance companies have been permitted to invest in the equity tranches of CDOs since January 2006..."




     - Singapore Public Holidays 2008

     - Monograph on supervisory framework for financial institutions


UBS opens Wealth Management Campus in Singapore

“ 'The Campus will be a centre of excellence for development programmes targeted at employees and clients in the Asia Pacific region. More importantly, it will also serve as a hothouse for wealth management research and thought leadership in new wealth management initiatives,' said Kathryn SHIH, Head of UBS Wealth Management in Asia Pacific...

"Equipped with state-of-the art facilities, including a lecture hall with video conference facilities and voice activated cameras, five seminar rooms, a media lab for business technology training, networking and administrative areas, UBS expects to train approximately 5,000 existing and future UBS Wealth Management staff by 2010..."



Police bust unlicensed moneylending syndicate

"Seventeen Chinese men aged between 17 to 38 years old believed to be members of an unlicensed moneylending (UML) syndicate were arrested in an island-wide operation conducted on 12 April 07. More than $130,000 in cash was seized...
"Fifteen premises in Woodlands, Sengkang, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Hougang, Yishun, Sembawang, Serangoon and Changi were raided during the operation, which lasted from 8pm on 12 April 07 to 1am on 13 April 07..."


     - Bank Julius Baer opens wholesale bank branch in Singapore


Islamic finance in Singapore

Mr Ng Nam Sin, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"We have reviewed our policies to ensure that Islamic finance is not disadvantaged vis-ŕ-vis conventional finance...
"Regulatory wise, we have worked proactively with Financial Institutions in allowing Islamic Finance transaction under existing regulation...
"All these put together, along with Singapore's open markets, efficient infrastructure and transparent regulations allow Singapore to further develop itself as an international financial centre offering Islamic Finance possibilities..."




Proposed changes to rules for unsecured credit

"A measured step of lowering the minimum annual income threshold for unsecured credit facilities from $30,000 to $20,000. A more conservative maximum credit limit of twice the borrower's monthly income will be set for individuals in this $20,000 to $30,000 income group, with no access to credit cards...
"Create appropriate modifications to the moneylenders regime.  For instance, for unsecured loans of $3,000 and below, no minimum income requirement would be imposed but such loans would be subject to an interest rate cap..."



The Banking (Amendment) Bill passed

"Entities that have not been approved to issue credit cards in Singapore will be prohibited from soliciting for or accepting card applications in Singapore, and this applies equally to third parties acting on their behalf...
"The proposed regime also clarifies that single party merchant credit is exempted from regulation.  Such an arrangement, where the card is used only for transactions with the issuer, is essentially a deferred payment scheme offered by merchants to their customers.
"In addition, a new exemption for cards granting credit in small amounts not exceeding S$500 will be introduced.  This allows flexibility in payments for small-ticket items without raising substantial concerns about Singaporeans spending beyond their means..."


     - Changes to CPF Minimum Sum and Investment schemes from 1 Jan 2007




Expansion of the hedge fund industry in Singapore

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"In Singapore, we have seen a steady increase in the number of hedge fund managers - from a handful 5 years ago to over a 100 now.

"It is not only small boutique firms but many large well-known hedge funds have also set up operations in Singapore, drawn by a pro-innovation and competitive business environment, high regulatory standards and trusted legal regime, and the available talent pool..."




Banking (Amendment) Bill - First Reading in Parliament

"The Bill introduces a requirement for foreign full and wholesale bank branches to maintain a minimum level of eligible assets in Singapore in proportion to their liabilities...

"Such a requirement would help to improve the recovery of assets from a failed foreign bank branch in Singapore to meet the claims of Singapore depositors..."



Challenges for the Asia Bond Market

Mr Heng Swee Keat Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore

"Most Asian markets are still dominated by local investors, comprising mostly banks, insurance companies and pension funds. Anecdotal evidence suggests that on average, non-resident investors hold less than 5% of Asian bonds...

"After the financial crisis, most Asian economies lifted restrictions on foreign participation in their bond markets...

"But I believe we need to go much further - beyond removing barriers to foreign participation, we should be actively facilitating foreign participation, and integrating our markets into the global system..."


     - 34 people to be charged in court for assisting loansharks

     - 15 sleight-of-hand cases reported since January 2006

     - New 20-year SGS bond to further develop Singapore's debt market

     - NETS launches debit card payment service for the taxi market

     - Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) unveiled


How Singapore can contribute to Asia's infrastructure financing activities

Lee Chuan Teck, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"On the other hand, Asian property developers who need to raise funds efficiently issue a REIT in Singapore because there is a ready pool of investors there. In this way, Singapore became the conduit for funneling global investments to Asian property developments.

"The same can be done for infrastructure. Singapore is a leading project finance hub in Asia. Leading banks such as Standard Chartered, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Sumitomo Mitsui, Mizuho and BNP Paribas having sizeable on-shore project finance teams to access regional opportunities..."



UK Securities & Investment Institute opens Singapore office

"The SII anticipates offering its front and back office qualifications in Singapore, otherwise known as the Certificate and IAQ suite. It has appointed Mona Poomy as its VP based in Singapore.

"SII examinations are approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and there are a large number of international banks with offices in Singapore who are keen that their workforce are trained to the same standard of competence as those in the UK..."


     - Incentives to encourage development of infrastructure finance

     - Police may not allow some IMF/WB civil society representatives to enter Singapore

     - Singapore tightens security ahead of IMF/World Bank meetings


     - Police arrest Malaysian for smuggling counterfeit S$1 coins


Proposed Changes to Unsecured Credit Rules

"To lower the minimum income threshold for unsecured credit facilities to $20,000 from $30,000.  The minimum income requirement for credit cards remains at $30,000.

"To set the maximum aggregate credit limit of all unsecured personal credit facilities and credit cards granted by a financial institution at four times monthly income for individuals with at least $30,000 in annual income. For individuals with annual income of at least $20,000 and below $30,000, the maximum aggregate credit limit will be twice their monthly income..."


     - Proposed changes to the Banking Act

     - No outdoor demonstrations and processions during IMF/WB meetings


Singapore's GDP growth for 2006 likely to be 5% to 7%

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"The Singapore economy grew by a robust 6.4% last year...

"Barring any unexpected shocks in the external environment including an escalation in geopolitical risks in the second half of this year, GDP growth for the year as a whole is likely to be in the range of 5 to 7%..."



MAS Launches Finance Scholarship Programme

MAS will set aside a budget of S$30 million from the FSDF over the next 5 years. It expects to award some 150 FSP scholarships over the next 5 years.



Singapore sees growth in debt capital market

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

"...First, real estate investment trusts or REITs. These have seen explosive growth, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong over the last 3 years...

"In Singapore, the market capitalization weighted-average returns since IPO have been exceptional at over 30%. The market has also moved beyond traditional REITs to other products like shipping trusts and hotels...
"Singapore is also a fertile ground for CMBS development due to its stable economic environment (sovereign credit rating AAA/Stable/A-1+) and robust legal and land title system which have enabled structured finance issuers to raise highly rated debt...."



Singapore as A Leading Wealth Management Hub

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director, MAS

"Rising wealth in Asia, and the focus on Asian growth prospects have seen total assets under management in Singapore's fund management industry grow from about S$280 billion in 2000 to much more than S$600 billion now.

"Growth in private banking assets under management has also been strong, with anecdotal feedback suggesting Singapore private banking AUM averaging 20% per annum over the past few years to about US$200 billion currently...
"Our reputation for high standards of regulation and supervision and a robust legal and judicial framework, is trusted by financial intermediaries and clients alike to conduct wealth management activities..."


     - MAS sets up payment systems for liberalised stored-value card market

     -MAS conducts first mystery shopping survey on financial advisory practices

     - Singapore's insurance and re-insurance industry - next phase

     - Six foreigners arrested for theft from ATMs; S$370,000 cash seized

     - MAS launches SGS electronic bond trading platform

     - Gradual and modest appreciation of Singapore dollar expected


Deposit Insurance Scheme launched in Singapore

"From 1 April, the deposit insurance scheme will compensate individuals and charities for the first $20,000 of their Singapore dollar deposits in standard savings, current and fixed deposit accounts, net of liabilities, in the event that their bank or finance company fails...."


     - Khoo Teck Puat Estate agrees to sell Stanchart shares to Temasek

     - Performance of Singapore economy in 2005

     - Importance of corporate governance for insurance companies

     - MAS liberalises multi-function stored-value card market


     - CPF Board tightens admission criteria for new CPFIS funds



Changes proposed for nomination of beneficiaries in insurance policies

"Presently,...a nomination by a policyholder of his spouse and/or children will automatically create a statutory trust in favour of the spouse and/or children governed by section 73 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (CLPA).

"The creation of a statutory trust effectively causes the policyholder to lose all rights to and control over the policy. This means that without the consent of all the beneficiaries, he cannot make any change to his nomination or the terms of the policy...
"MAS proposes to amend the Insurance Act to bring under its purview the nomination of beneficiaries in respect of the proceeds of insurance policies..."


      - MAS releases Financial Stability Review for 2nd half 2005

     - Emergence of New Poor a worrying trend

     - Singapore household debt and credit card bankruptcies

     - Key indicators on Singapore's Corporate Sector 1999-2003

     - Treasury survey shows foreign exchange trading reaching 7 year high

     - MAS enhances corporate governance for banks & insurers


Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre launched

"First, by handling all disputes that relate to forms of financial transactions, it provides consumers the convenience of a one-stop centre...

"Third, FIDReC is affordable. To ensure easy access, mediation services will be free. If current trend continues, it means that 95% of all cases handled by FIDReC will be free. Should adjudication be needed, consumers will pay just $50."



Findings of First National Financial Literacy Survey

"The majority of Singaporeans save, monitor their spending and are generally responsible in the use of credit...

"While these findings are positive, the survey showed that many do not have a clear idea of how much they would need for their retirement.

"Many have also not set aside sufficient cash savings to meet emergency needs. In addition, the majority are not aware of the key features of common financial products such as life insurance policies and unit trusts..."


      - Strong performance in financial services sector in 2004


Money-changing & Remittance Businesses (Amendment) Act 2005

"Currently, a holder of a remittance licence can be set up as a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a company. The proposed amendment will require the holder of a remittance licence to be incorporated as a company and to have a minimum capital of S$100,000."



Policy changes affecting the property market


increase the housing financing limit to 90% of the property value


lower the cash payment for private residential properties from 10% to 5%


allow CPF members to use their CPF savings to purchase private residential properties with remaining leases of 30 to 60 years


allow non-related singles to use their CPF savings to jointly purchase private residential properties


phase out the Non-Residential Properties Scheme (NRPS) by 1 Jul 2006


allow foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than 6 levels without the need to obtain prior approval


     - 5-day clearing week for banks from 15 May 2006

     - Performance of Singapore Economy in 1st Quarter 2005

     - MAS Monetary Policy Statement

     - Singapore Public Holidays 2006 Gazetted

     - Singapore Budget 2005

     - Securities & Futures (Amendment) Bill 2005 passed

     - Financial Advisers (Amendment) Bill 2005 passed


     - Citibank Singapore Ltd incorporates in Singapore

     - No first-year cash rebates for housing loans from 6 Jan 2005




     - Singapore derivatives market being developed further

     - NYMEX may set up futures exchange in Singapore

     - Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre

     - National Electronic Bills Payment Hub Implemented

     - MAS issues guidelines on switching

     - MAS Guidelines on Structured Deposits Issued


Singapore's last ATC to close on 1 Oct 2004

DBS and the Singapore Exchange will shut Singapore's last authorised trading centre (ATC) at DBS's Shenton Way branch on 1 Oct 2004. In 1994, there were 133 ATCs in 107 branches of local banks and 26 broking houses.

Source: Straits Times 29 Sep 2004 (M1)

     - Survey of Singapore Treasury Activities 2003


Number of affluent people here up by 25%

The number of affluent people in Singapore has gone up by 25% since 1998, according to a new study by London-based business and consultancy firm Datamonitor.

There are now over 415,000 individuals here with more than USD50,000 in onshore liquid assets such as cash, deposits, stocks and unit trusts. Total investible wealth of Singapore's mass affluent increased to USD112 billion in 2003, from USD87 billion in 1998.

Source: Straits Times 9 Sep 2004 (A15)

     - Phishing alert by OCBC Bank

     - MAS specifies procedures under current housing loan rules

Bank's mortgagee sale of HDB flat a first

OCBC Bank has put a 3-room HDB flat up for sale, the first mortgagee sale by a bank since the HDB home loan market was opened to banks on 1 Jan 2003. OCBC's head of consumer secured lending, Mr Gregory Chan, said it had put the HDB flat on the market because the owner had volunteered to give it up. "We have not repossessed any HDB flat, and by that, we mean that we have not forced any HDB home owner to surrender his flat because he defaulted on his loan," he added.

Straits Times 21 Aug 2004 (H10)


Banker Lien Ying Chow dies

Lien Ying Chow, the founder of Overseas Union Bank (OUB), died on 6 Aug 2004 after a short illness. He was 98.

Source: Straits Times 7 Aug 2004 (3)


    - Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) publishes investor alert list

    - Qualifying Full Banks can open up to 25 service locations from Jan 2005


Singapore households put 24% of wealth in savings accounts

The latest Consumer Wealth Review by Citibank Singapore reveals that Singapore households put just 24 per cent of their wealth in savings accounts in 2003, way below the average of 52 per cent for Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea - the countries covered by the survey. The figures were obtained from data published by banks and monetary authorities.

Source: Straits Times 10 Jun 2004 (M1)


     - MAS allows credit cards secured by bank deposits

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