Singapore International Financial Centre Gateway to opportunities in Asia and beyond A well established and diversified financial sector

In just over four decades, Singapore has established a thriving financial centre of international repute, serving not only its domestic economy, but also the wider Asia Pacific region and in some instances, the world. Singapore's financial centre offers a broad range of financial services including banking, insurance, investment banking and treasury services. A key aspect of Singapore’s financial centre is its deep and liquid capital markets. With one of the more well-established capital markets in Asia-Pacific, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) is the preferred listing location for more than 200 global companies. Today, Singapore has grown to be the largest Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) market in Asia ex-Japan and also provides an extensive offering of investments in business trusts of shipping, aviation and infrastructure assets. Singapore’s bond market has also grown significantly. With an extensive range of both Singapore government securities and foreign corporate bonds available, Singapore offers fixed income investors a wide range of investment opportunities. As one of the top 5 most active foreign exchange trading centres in the world, Singapore is also the second largest over-the-counter derivatives trading centre in Asia, and a leading commodities derivatives trading hub. With total assets under management of around S$1 trillion, and which continues to see steady growth, Singapore is also recognized as one of the premier asset management location in Asia. Why Singapore? As an international financial centre, Singapore offers financial institutions a pro-business environment, excellent infrastructure, cost-competitiveness, a highly skilled and cosmopolitan labour force, and is strategically located in a region of opportunities. Conducive business environment Singapore has long been recognised as one of the best cities for business. In the Swissbased international Institution for Management Development's 2008 World Competitiveness Yearbook, Singapore has been ranked as the second-most competitive country in the world after the United States. This is what a World Bank report had to say about doing business in Singapore "It takes an entrepreneur just over 6 working days to get a new business going in Singapore, with low start-up costs. Overall, taking into account other factors, including business licensing, taxes, credit legal rights and investor protection, Singapore has about the most business-friendly regulation in the world."

Investors have also come to appreciate the high levels of transparency and reliability in business, economic and regulatory affairs in Singapore. A stable political structure with parliamentary democracy, a well-established judicial system, and the presence of strong domestic institutions with good corporate governance practices, have made the Singapore business environment even more attractive to global investors. Excellent Infrastructure Singapore's unique location and sophisticated telecommunications network allow financial institutions here to transact business with any part of the world within the same working day. International travel out of Singapore is equally convenient, with more than 84 international airlines operating scheduled services through Singapore to more than 180 cities in 57 countries worldwide. We have a robust and efficient legal and judicial framework and a well-regulated international financial sector. Singapore is the only Asian country with a "AAA" rating. Cost Competitiveness We offer financial institutions a competitive tax rate environment. Singapore's corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in Asia-Pacific. Singapore also offers the advantage of having a comprehensive network of Double Tax Agreements with more than 60 countries. Singapore also continues to be cost competitive compared with other major cities. Skilled Workforce & attraction of talents We also have a skilled workforce to meet industry demand. In addition to grooming the local workforce meet the demand of the industry, Singapore also has an open door policy to international talent and expertise. Washington-based risk consultancy agency, Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI), has rated Singapore's workforce as the world's best workers since 1980. And according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2007, Singapore has the most skilful and motivated labour force in Asia Pacific. Strategic Location in a Region of Opportunities Singapore is strategically located in a region of opportunities. Located at the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is well placed to serve the fast-growing markets of the AsiaPacific region. Financial institutions in Singapore also trade around-the-clock with AsiaPacific centres, as well as European and American centres, making Singapore a significant hub for 24-hour trading in foreign exchange and securities. International travel is equally convenient. Singapore has grown to be a strategic link and important gateway for global investors. Singapore seeks to ensure its relevance and connectivity to growth markets, not just in Asia but also beyond. As part of this initiative, Singapore has concluded Free Trade

Agreements (FTAs) with major economies, including the United States, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and Jordon. There are ongoing FTA talks with other countries. These FTAs provide privileged access to the markets of partner countries. Beyond the immediate region, Singapore is also building linkages with countries further a-field including the Middle East, capitalising on the growing trade and investment interests between these two regions.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore http://www.mas.gov.sg/fin_development/Singapore_International_Financial_Centre.html

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