Banking Industry and Major Banks
Singapore is a flourishing financial centre of
international repute servicing not only its domestic economy per se but also
the entire Asia Pacific region. The banking industry is a key player in the country’s
financial market segment, soon emerging as one of the strongest in the world.
Factors such as a sound economic and political environment, conducive legal and
tax policies, reputation for integrity, and strict enforcement against crime
and money laundering, have contributed to Singapore’s status as an
International Finance Centre – the third largest in Asia, after Japan and Hong
Kong. Today there are as many as 117 foreign banks and 6 local banks that
dominate the banking scene.
Factors that have contributed
to the success of the banking industry in Singapore include:
- Liberalisation of the domestic banking market.
- Local banks strengthened their regional presence through mergers
- Expansion of foreign banks, some of which made Singapore a
regional or even global platform for important banking services, which in turn
led to increased competitiveness.
- Increased competition spurred the development of innovative
products and more competitive pricing models.
- Provision of sophisticated banking services like corporate and
investment banking activities, apart from traditional lending and
- Strict banking secrecy laws, tax friendly policies and a suite
of wealth management services created a private banking boom. Swiss giants
Credit Suisse Group and UBS AG have expanded private-banking operations in
Singapore to cater to new demand from Asians and Europeans.
- Recognising and catering to the needs of Small and Medium
Enterprises who comprise a sizable banking market in Singapore.
This guide provides
an overview of the banking industry in Singapore focusing on the key trends,
the major domestic and international players and the services they offer, the
role of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and banking regulations that
govern the industry today.