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Speech By Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister For Health And 2nd Minister For Finance At The 140th Anniversary Of Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore, 28 Oct 99

28 Oct 1999

Evening, Sir Patrick, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to Standard Chartered Bank on its 140th Anniversary in Singapore.

2 Since its establishment in 1859, Standard Chartered has grown steadily in both size and function in Singapore, and is now a well-known bank among Singaporeans. The bank's growth has mirrored the growth of Singapore's economy and financial sector. Despite the ups and downs in Singapore and the region, Standard Chartered has remained a faithful partner in progress.

3 After 140 years in Singapore, Standard Chartered Bank has reached a milestone in its achievements here. Among the valuable contributions made by Standard Chartered towards the development of Singapore's financial industry, the bank has broadened the range of financial services available to consumers in Singapore. I am also happy that Singapore has been chosen as the global base for Standard Chartered's 3 main businesses, being Treasury, Corporate & Institutional Banking and Consumer Banking. This choice fits in well with Singapore's strategy to be the operational headquarters of financial institutions and multinational corporations. We look forward to continue working with Standard Chartered in developing Singapore's financial sector.

4 As you would know, Singapore is continually seeking new initiatives to further liberalise and develop our financial sector and ensure that Singapore remains an attractive location for financial institutions to operate in. As part of Singapore's liberalisation programme for the financial sector, MAS announced last Wednesday the award of Qualifying Full Bank Licences to four foreign banks, of which Standard Chartered was one of them.

5 Change is necessary. Although Singapore is an attractive place for financial institutions to operate, we will not rest on our laurels, as the increasing globalisation of international financial markets and players has spurred the need for financial centres to adapt to new demands. We want Singapore to remain an attractive and conducive location for financial institutions.

6 Acting in partnership with financial institutions, we will be able to build on our existing strengths in order to meet these challenges. We recognise that it is vital to implement initiatives that the financial sector is comfortable with. We have and will continue to work hand-in-hand with the industry to explore new initiatives. Financial institutions' ideas and feedback have and will carry on to play a significant role in shaping our initiatives and policies. By striving to provide a conducive business environment for big market players like Standard Chartered, I am confident that Singapore can emerge as an even more attractive and vibrant financial centre.

7 Thank you for your long standing commitment to Singapore and your recent efforts to raise funds for the Dover Park Hospice, the Home Nursing Foundation and the Kidney Dialysis Foundation. I am glad to say that Singapore's financial system has weathered the storm relatively well. With the recovery of the region's economies becoming a reality, financial institutions like Standard Chartered are well positioned to reap the benefits afforded by new opportunities that the recovering region will present. I wish you every success in your future endeavours.