Keep Singapore's Books Clean
Bloomberg Businessweek|March 15, 2021
The city-state wants to prove it’s safe not just for wealthy tycoons but for investors, too
Chanyaporn Chanjaroen and Ishika Mookerjee

A series of scandals at Singapore-based companies has regulators tightening oversight and pushing for more disclosure. At stake is the city-state’s role as a global wealth hub, which has become all the more significant as Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong.

About $3 trillion in assets are managed in Singapore, with more than 76% of the total coming from overseas. Singapore aspires to be a place where tycoons and their families can set up business and companies can list their shares under the protection of a well-developed financial and legal system. But being an attractive haven can conflict with the transparency and disclosure that global investors are looking for. “It’s a complex balance,” says Bryan Goh, chief investment officer at Tsao Family Office Pte, the Singaporebased investment arm of an Asian shipping fortune.

Ravi Menon, head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the country’s top financial regulator, in December acknowledged the need for greater scrutiny. “There have been several failures that are due to lapses in accounting, auditing, and some fraudulent activities are not as easily detected,” he said.

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