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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 29 July 2005

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Strong performance in financial services sector in 2004

Source: www.mas.gov.sg

Opening Remarks By Mr Heng Swee Keat, Managing Director, at MAS' Annual Report 2004/2005 Press Conference, 22 July 2005 - An Excerpt

Strong Performance In The Financial Services Sector
"Financial services continue to grow in scale and sophistication. The overall growth rate came in at 6% in 2004, and the expansion was fairly broad-based across most key segments of financial services. In particular, the asset management market and corporate debt market showed good performance.
"The sector also provided an important source of employment growth. Over 6,000 jobs were created in the financial sector last year. The sector enjoyed the highest average pay in the economy, exceeding S$5,500.
"I shall now touch on a few areas where growth has been commendable, starting with the asset management industry.
Assets Under Management Surged 23%
"Asset management grew strongly. MAS' asset management survey in 2004 indicated that total assets under management (AUM) expanded by 23% year-on-year to over S$570 billion.
"Singapore continues to play the role of an international fund management centre, with 70% of total assets under management (AUM) being sourced from overseas. The Asia-Pacific countries remain the main source of funds but in the past few years, new high-growth markets such as the Middle East and South Asia have emerged.
Number Of Investment Professionals Rose By More Than 15%
"Asset management companies in Singapore have returned to hiring, adding 149 investment professionals in 2004. This is different from the drop we saw in 2002 and 2003.
"Going forward, prospects for asset management are bright. Good economic growth in Asia has attracted global investors to allocate more investments to Asia, to ride on this growth and to provide diversification.
"Within Asia, wealth creation, increasing affluence and investor sophistication will generate strong demand for the full range of asset management services...
Other Areas Of Growth
"In the treasury market, Singapore maintained its ranking as the fourth largest forex centre in the world, according to the 2004 BIS Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange (FX) and Derivatives Activity.
"OTC derivatives turnover also tripled to US$17 billion in 2004. Singapore is now the 12th largest OTC derivatives centre globally, strengthening its position as the second largest centre in Asia.
"We are also seeing a healthy growth of capital market activities, particularly as companies in Asia continue to expand domestically and abroad. The joint market capitalisation of the Mainboard and SESDAQ rose 16% to S$452 billion in 2004, propelled by the rise in equity prices and the growing number of listed companies.
"As at end 2004, we have 625 companies listed on the Singapore Exchange, up from 551 companies in 2003. We continue to see a steady pipeline of foreign companies seeking listing in Singapore. The market for real estate investment trusts (REITS) has grown steadily in Singapore. We are now the largest REIT market in Asia (ex-Japan)..."

Full Text of Speech

Source: www.mas.gov.sg News Room 22 Jul 2005

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