SINGAPORE: Singapore's financial sector is in a position to support the region's development as the economic centre of gravity shifts back to Asia, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his keynote address at the DBS Asian Insights Conference on Friday (Jul 13).
Mr Heng said Singapore is prepared to assist in the areas of infrastructure and enterprise financing, as well as toward the adoption of digital financial services across the region.
He said Singapore is fortunate to be strategically located in a region with strong growth potential.
"For Asia to continue growing, the region must invest in meeting its infrastructure needs," he said. "We need to crowd in private capital for more sources to accelerate infrastructure development in the region."
Referring the setting up of the Infrastructure Asia Office in April this year, Mr Heng said Singapore will be able to harness the collective network of public sector agencies, private sector firms and key stakeholders to explore better ways to meet Asia's infrastructure needs.
Another example of this will be the Asia-Singapore Infrastructure Roundtable which will be held in October.
As for enterprise financing, Mr Heng said Singapore is positioning itself as a global-Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise development.
Mr Heng gave the example of how the Monetary Authority of Singapore has revised regulations to facilitate the growth of centre capitalists, and how the government is working with the industry to establish private market funding platforms for companies to gain better access to investors.
"As a major financial centre, with a wide range of financial institutions providing seed funding, Singapore is a strong base to serve the needs of innovative enterprises and to seed the growth of the next-generation of Asian growth companies" said Mr Heng.
Lastly, Singapore can also assist in the adoption of digital financial services, which could see the improvement of access to financial services for the under-served.
"The use of technology and innovation can help facilitate and deepen financial inclusion, which is a key priority under our ASEAN chairmanship," said Mr Heng.
The importance of digital inclusion was echoed by DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, as he spoke on the theme of Reimagining Asia 2030, in light of DBS Celebrating its 50th year in business.
"Tech will be a big game changer in how we lead our lives," said Mr Gupta. "The winners will be those who are nimble and responsive in an ever changing world."
Mr Heng added: "As we grow and develop our financial sector to serve the needs in the real economy, we must take proper risk management. At the macro-level, to maintain our resilience, we must also be prepared for major disruptions in the global financial markets."