Page 1

Display to 31 March 2019 S$5.90

Daily news at www.sbr.com.sg

t N E m t S E V IN IDEAS for

10

It was a terrible year for equities, but experts are not completely writing them off in 2019.

R A N K I NG A THE

ASIAN

S

BUS I

SS

RD WA

NE

WHO ARE SINGAPORE’S NEXT UNICORNS? CRAZy, POOR EXPATS? WHy FOODTECH IS THE NEXT BIG THING WILL THE NEW TRAINING SCHEME HIT LAWyER HEADCOUNT? EXPORT AWARDS

2018

2018

86 73

MICA(P) 244/07/2011 KDM No: PPS1645/3/2008

2019 EYLAW V R T SUARGESS& ST

S L M E 25 FIRLARGE FIRM 50RANC U INS


FROM THE EDITOR About Us

AUDITED CIRCULATION: 23,116 ONLINE READERSHIP: 410,000 monthly uniques through Google Analytics The Singapore Business Review is the highest circulating and best read business magazine in Singapore. Our online readership has an average of 215,000 unique viewers, according to Google Analytics. We won the Business Trade Media of the Year Award at the 2017 MPAS Awards. Do reach out to us if you would like us to tell your story to our readers via print & online advertising or events. Publisher & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tim Charlton Associate Publisher Rochelle Romero production editor Genelie Sta.Ana-De Leon GRAPHIC ARTIST Elizabeth Indoy ADVERTISING CONTACT Vanessa Austria vanessa@charltonmediamail.com Aileen Cruz aileen@charltonmediamail.com Karisse Coderes karisse@charltonmediamail.com ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTS DEPARTMENT accounts@charltonmediamail.com Advertising advertising@charltonmediamail.com Editorial sbr@charltonmedia.com

SINGAPORE Charlton Media Group 101 Cecil St. #17-09 Tong Eng Building Singapore 069533 +65 3158 1386

On this issue, Singapore Business Review rounded up the most promising investment opportunities for the Year of the Earth Pig. Most equities have languished during the year amidst heightened uncertainty and volatility, but experts have not written off equities entirely in 2019, seeing investment pays in China, Europe, and the U.S. However, some signaled the need for a broader scan of the market as opportunities ranging from the oil services sector, U.S. regional banks to attractively priced Japanese companies arise. We’ve also listed some life hacks to guide investment decisions based on investor outlooks and conversations with industry experts and observers. However, the usual caveat applies, here at Singapore Business Review, we don’t have a crystal ball and merely gathered ideas from the experts. This issue also bears the coverage of most recent awards programme that we’ve held. The inaugural Asian Export Awards lauded the top exporters in the region, whilst outstanding products and services were awarded at the second Made in Singapore and Designed in Singapore Awards. Lastly, business leaders and winning teams received the highest honours at the recently concluded Management Excellence Awards. Flip the pages and enjoy!

HONG KONG Charlton Media Group Hong Kong Ltd 19/F, Yat Chau Building, 262 Des Voeux Road Central Hong Kong. +852 3972 7166 www.charltonmedia.com Printing Times Printers Private Limited 16 Tuas Ave 5 Singapore 639340 www.timesprinters.com a member of Times Publishing Limited

Can we help?

Editorial Enquiries: If you have a story idea or just a press release, please email: sbr@charltonmedia.com and our news editor will read it. For a personal message to the editor, put the word “Tim” in the subject line. For Media Partnerships, please email: sbr@charltonmedia.com and put “partnership” in the subject line and it will forward to the right person. Subscriptions email: subscriptions@charltonmedia.com Singapore Business Review is published by Charlton Media Group. All editorial is copyright and may not be reproduced without consent. Contributions are invited but copies of all work should be kept as Singapore Business Review can accept no responsibility for loss. We will however take the gains. Sold on newstands in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, London, and New York. Also out in sbr.com.sg with online readership of 215,000 monthly unique visitors*.

Tim Charlton Singapore Business Review is available at the airport lounges or onboard the following airlines:

Singapore Business Review is available at the following clubs and hotels: American Club Grand Plaza Park Hollandse Club Royal Laguna National Hotel InterOrchid Country Club Continental Raffles Country Club Le Meridien Orchard Raffles Town Club New Park Hotel RSYC Pan Pacific Seletar Club Raffles Hotel Sentosa Golf Club The Hilton Singapore Cricket The Regent Singapore Club The Ritz Carlton Singapore Island The Swiss Hotel Country Club Stamford Swiss Club Traders Hotel The Tanglin Club Singapore The China Club Darby Park The Legends Fort And at 16 serviced Canning Park residences The Pines Club Tower Club Singapore Fullerton Hotel

*Source: Google Analytics **If you’re reading the small print you may be missing the big picture   



SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

1


CONTENTS

FIRST 08 Crazy, poor expats feel pressure of

lower salary package and allowances

09 Expats turn to co-living as housing

allowances disappear

10 Which Singaporean companies

40

LEGAL INDUSTRY SURVEY Singapore’s 20 legal luminaries aged 40-and-under in 2018

will reach unicorn status in 2019?

12 Start-ups ditch VCs for family offices

REGULAR 24 Economy Watch 50 Legal Briefing

RAnkings

20

FINANCIAL insight Singapore M&A deal activity stutters as Chinese inbound interest wanes

22

COVER STORY Where to park your money in 2019

36 Will a tougher training scheme

hurt lawyer headcount?

44 Check out Singapore’s largest

insurers in 2018

ANALYSIS 42 Developers take a beating

52

EVENT COVERAGE 16 top exporters lauded at the first Asian Export Awards

66

event coverage 18 companies lauded for their exceptional business practices at the SBR Management Excellence Awards & Business Ranking Awards 2018

as home sales may crash 20%

EVENT COVERAGE 72 Huawei boosts global investment

For the latest business news from Singapore visit the website

www.sbr.com.sg Published quarterly on the Second week of the Month by Charlton Media Group 101 Cecil St. #17-09 Tong Eng Building Singapore 069533

in AI development


News from sbr.com.sg Daily news from Singapore most read FINANCIAL SERVICES

markets & Investing

Are Singapore banks bracing for another O&G nightmare amidst Coastal Oil troubles? The liquidation process undertaken by crude oil supplier Coastal Oil Singapore is unlikely to result in the previous oil and gas (O&G) downturn that pushed up the banking sector’s bad debt and credit costs, according to CIMB. The total market value of the Coastal Oil’s assets, roughly estimated at around US$40-45m based on Clarkson Research data, would not be sufficient to cover its debts and result in an earnings reduction for the Singapore lenders.

residential property

Investors pool cash into Singapore REITs amidst dovish Fed stance

Developers take a beating as new home sales set to crash 20% in 2019

Trailing only behind healthcare as the sector with the best performance in the second half of 2018, S-REITs are set to retain investor interest as bond yields remain pressured by the Fed’s dovish position, according to DBS Bank Research.

Property developers are faced with a dismal sales outlook for the year ahead as primary transaction volumes are expected to crash 20% YoY to 7,5008,500 units in 2019 in line with the weakening residential property market, according to DBS Research.

MOST READ COMMENTARY Last-Mile Challenges in Singapore’s Food E-Commerce Industry BY SUSAN BELL It’s hard to remember a time when people could “shop” off catalogues that came in the mail, or phoned-in to order from a TV shopping program. There were much less variety to choose from, and things generally took a little longer to arrive. What’s more, the potential for damaged or lost goods were also much higher back then. Today, Singapore’s internet economy contributes 3.2% of the overall GDP.

.

Navigating Crypto: Singapore Tackles ICO Concerns BY ROGER LIM

How the gig economy is fueling business expansion BY ANDREW HU

Banning sugar products in Singapore may not be the best idea BY BRYAN CHEANG

Developers: Singapore retailers’ secret weapon for the holiday season BY PIRUZE SABUNCU


Agenda PEOPLE | PLACES | SERVICES | OPPORTUNITIES

OPPORTUNITIES

OPPORTUNITIES

direct link

EASB East Asia Institute of Management (EASB) is a four-year EduTrust certified private education institution. We offer Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and MBA programmes. Major disciplines include Hospitality and Tourism Management, Business Management, Accounting, Banking & Finance, Medical Bioscience, and many more. For more information, visit www.easb.edu.sg

OPPORTUNITIES

kaplan singapore Ranked by JobsCentral as the number one Preferred Private Education Institution consecutively in 2012 and 2013, and by AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015, Kaplan Higher Education provides full-time and part-time diplomas, bachelor’s and master’s degrees to individuals looking to pursue careers in various fields. For more information, visit www.kaplan.com.sg

6

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

OPPORTUNITIES

Global deliveries, the Nordic way.

ABEAM

For years now, delivery companies have bragged about having the biggest trucks, the fastest planes and the coolest ships. But a brave new world needs brave new solutions. For global e-tailers, finding the right way to the market matters more than which truck takes them there. So instead of owning a fleet of planes, trucks and ships ourselves, we’re experts in finding the best possible delivery solution for you. That’s our take on deliveries. No more, no less.

ABeam Singapore is part of the ABeam global family that was established out of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in 1981 in Japan. Since changing our corporate name to ABeam Consulting in 2003, the group have grown leaps and bounce to reach 5000+ headcount in 2018 while operating in 15 countries with over 30 offices, and continuously growing. ABeam Singapore started our operations in 2005. From our infancy of 10+ consultants working mainly on Japanese MNCs roll-out projects, we have transformed into a 150-teamstrong organization, focusing on ERP implementation & roll-outs ; Analytics & Big Data implementation ; Robotic Process Automation (RPA); Business Process Re-engineering and Change Management; across multiple industries, covering not only Singapore but the region. Our focus industries are EC&O, FSI, Hi-tech, Discreet Manufacturing and Telco.

visit

charltonmedia.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION on EVENTS AND ADVERTISING

SERVICES

TAFEP The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) organises a series of clinics on the Tripartite Standards (TS) to assist organisations understand what the TS initiative is about, so as to help them adopt and implement the various standards that have been launched to date. For more information about the Tripartite Standards Clinics, visit tafep.sg or email ts@tafep.sg.


Co-published corporate profile

Meet the trailblazing humanoid robots in AIA Singapore’s customer service centres You can’t spell AIA Singapore without AI. The insurer continues its pioneering streak, this time in customer service, by fielding humanoid robots to assist in its newly built centre.

W

such as AIA Singapore pave the way for tangible tech-enabled solutions to realworld business challenges, as Singapore pushes the frontiers in our Smart Nation drive,” Prof Thalmann, Director of the Institute for Media Innovation at NTU Singapore, referring to the country’s national drive to support better living using technology. “Through Nadine’s four-month stint at AIA, we hope to define new humanoid features that are necessary for jobs in the insurance and banking industries.” Nadine’s four-month internship is a Customer experience at the forefront pilot between AIA Singapore and NTU For AIA Singapore, this marks another Singapore to explore the use of social milestone that is in line with its vision robots in Singapore’s insurance industry. It to harness the potential of cuttingaims to bolster the AI knowledge database edge technologies to further bolster its customer experience. “As industry leaders, through deep learning and gather data on how the public interacts with a robot. it is our responsibility to constantly push the boundary of innovation to bring Digitally driven solutions greater value and service excellence to AIA Singapore’s humanoid robots are our customers,” said Patrick Teow, Chief the latest in a series of breakthrough Executive Officer of AIA Singapore. initiatives from the insurer, which was “As we strive to become the most recognised as the industry’s Innovator digitally enabled insurer, we look to of the Year in 2017. Its other digital accelerate Singapore’s progress in innovations include introducing the embracing digitalisation for the future,” first-in-market Digital Underwriter in added Patrick. “In doing so, we hope to elevate our standard of customer service, its interactive Point-of-Sales system; launching the award-winning POS EZ, increase productivity and create higher a first-in-market service that uses value careers for our workforce.” remote authentication so customers AIA’s Pepper and Nadine solidifies its can authenticate their requests without bid to not only improve its customer needing to physically meet with an service but also cement its position as insurance representative; and rolling out a market leader. AIA is banking on its the award-winning AIA Vitality Weekly. partnership with NTU Singapore to help the insurer unlock innovative solutions Challenge to current customer pain points. “Such “Incorporating artificial intelligence with collaborations with industry leaders Pepper and Nadine is just one of many digitally-driven efforts at AIA Singapore,” said Melita Teo, Chief Operations Officer at AIA Singapore. “On this, we are singleminded in creating a customer-centric digital ecosystem that establishes a Nadine and Pepper engage with customers whole new standard that goes beyond by responding to general enquiries about AIA how customers are typically serviced to Singapore and their policies. deepen engagement with our customers, supporting them in leading healthier, “It is our responsibility to constantly push the boundary of longer and better lives together with their families.” innovation to bring greater value and service excellence.”

hen AIA Singapore handpicked the front desk crew for its new digitally enabled customer service centre at Finlayson Green, the requirements were stringent: The staff would need to be very friendly when greeting guests, understand the needs of different customers quickly and respond to an array of general queries. AIA Singapore’s humanoid robot, Pepper, checked all the boxes, emboldening the insurer to become the first in Singapore to field intelligent machines to their customer service frontlines, shoulder-toshoulder with human representatives. Aside from Pepper, AIA Singapore deployed the homegrown humanoid, robot Nadine, to its Tampines customer service centre. Both robots are socially intelligent, meaning they can perceive emotions and adapt their behavioural responses

accordingly, with each successive customer interaction building on their knowledge and, both humanoid robots will evolve continuously through acquiring new knowledge to become more effective to customers. Initially, the robots will be assigned to respond to general enquires about AIA Singapore and the customer service centres, details on customers’ policy loans and submission on some policy transactions requests etc.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

7


FIRST

Singapore took the 50th spot amongst 72 countries for the cost of living rankings in 2018.

Crazy, poor expats feel pressure of lower salary package and allowances

M

oving out from London to become an expat in Singapore was fairly straightforward for trader Oriano Lizza. He noted how the lower tax levels make everything “considerably easier” now that he has stayed in the country for over 20 months. Sheena Chauhan, a senior account manager from the UK who has been in Singapore for over four years, shares the same sentiment and said that whilst working hours and salary are very similar to the ones in London, the lower tax “makes an impact” on take-home pay. However, a high cost of living undermines this benefit. Whilst Chauhan and Lizza have different careers and experiences, the two share their complaints about the cost of living in the Lion City. Crazy, poor expats? “The general feeling towards packages is that unless the individual is not very senior in their career, it’s the additional bolt ons, such as education and housing allowances that are either being trimmed or removed from packages all together. Some expats are being compensated in salary increases or increased bonus structures,” shared Lizza. This was highlighted by the fact that

8

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

over half or 52% of expats in Singapore are dissatisfied with the city’s cost of living, a new report by expat community InterNations revealed. Singapore took the 50th spot amongst 72 countries for the cost of living rankings in 2018. Had it fared better, it could have taken over Taipei as the overall champion of InterNations’ list. This issue was also reflected in other firms’ study of expat life around the globe. In June, ECA International revealed that Singapore is in the 20 most expensive cities for expats around the world. “The price of goods and services included in our basket of goods has only seen a modest increase in Singapore over the past 12 months, in line with other similar economies in Asia,” said Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International, in June. “However, the rise in the rankings has been due to the relative strength of the Singapore dollar versus the US greenback in the past year.” Quane told Singapore Business Review

that their study was also affected by the fact that an increasing number of expatriates recruited into Singapore came from lower salary locations. When these salaries are adjusted to Singapore, they become lower than that of expatriates from higher salary locations like Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia. However, Lizza noted that the expats he spoke to have also said: “the packages of yesteryear were considerably more attractive.” For him, an ideal expat package stands at $100,000. He added, “This is the case of many developing expat environments. From what I hear they have certainly come down. I feel the current package is sufficient but as humans, we always want more.” Chauhan shared a broader perspective and said, “The cost of living isn’t cheap, but it’s possible to live more frugally (or more lavishly) if you choose... Companies are increasingly customising their packages to suit individual needs, rather than a one-sizefits-all approach.” Are you getting paid enough? Quane explained how some companies take into consideration some select factors when computing the total value of the expat package. He identified the employee’s nationality, “since many salary packages are calculated by making reference to the home country salary structure,” as well as their employment relationship and family size. Other trends that have significantly affected the value of expat packages include cheaper expat benefits such as housing and child education costs and the shift in approaches towards expats’ tenure of employment. “More expatriates are being employed in Singapore on a permanent basis. This means that their employers expect them to remain in Singapore for a long period of time (e.g. permanently),” Quane said. As a result, they are often provided a cash salary in line with what would be provided to Singaporeans. In some cases, this may be lower than what a typical expatriate on a standard expatriate assignment compensation structure would have earned, the director added. Despite the significant implications of a consistently high cost of living, Chauhan

For him, an ideal expat package stands at $100,000. He added, “From what I hear they have certainly come down. As humans, we always want more.”


FIRST and Lizza are still fairly satisfied with their Singapore expat life. InterNations noted that the majority of expats (88%) are extremely satisfied with their personal safety, compared to 48% globally. Lizza commented, “The cleanliness and safe nature of Singapore is also very reassuring and makes Singapore a fantastic place to raise a young family. Transport tends to be very efficient and not overly costly regardless of where you live on the island. Travel options are endless as well as its business opportunities both globally and in the SEA region.” Singapore also ranked high at fourth in terms of quality of life thanks to its good performance in travel & passport. Chauhan was able to draw comparisons between her home country and Singapore. “The low cost and reliability of public transport is the most marked difference when drawing comparisons to living in London,” she said. Singapore clinched 14th place as the best city for working abroad, based on satisfactory career prospects & satisfaction, work & leisure, and economy & job security. Singapore’s top employment statuses also stand out compared to global and regional results: 31% of expats in Singapore are managers. Expats also found it easier to settle in the Lion City. Chauhan, a native English speaker, said she had no problems with language. “As a British national of Indian origin, I also found cultural assimilation less of a challenge as there are many synergies with the melting pot of Asian cultures within Singapore.” Weighing their options Lizza, however, still struggles with integration into the local society and culture. “Singapore can be somewhat sterile and it often feels as though you are living in a bubble, in comparison to other major cities in the world. It is often to healthy to return home from time to time to obtain that sense of reality. Family wise, I am torn with raising a family here and if so for how long. I feel the international element is beneficial but the ‘bubble culture’ could be a hindrance.” Chauhan noted that there is more to gain from working and living abroad than remuneration alone. “Savvy employers are becoming more flexible in meeting the needs of their employees, so it’s important to consider the expat package as a whole, beyond just net salary,” she concluded.

special report

Expats turn to co-living as housing allowances disappear

E

xpats who are burdened with poor housing allowances have found a reprieve in Singapore’s costly housing market: co-living spaces. Co-living spaces allow tenants to share rooms and apartments with the aim to build relationships and interactions amongst its tenants as they are made to live with people with the same hobbies and interests. “On the offset, co-living spaces seems like a “privatised” version of communal hostels, and hover somewhere slightly below the traditional full package offered by private home rentals and service apartments,” Tan explained. “Some people may still prefer having the full privacy of common living areas that private apartments offer. There is that level of assuredness and freedom. Whereas in co-living spaces, one may have to share common living areas with other tenants.” With monthly rents starting from $1,500, Ong Choon Fah, CEO of Edmund Tie & Company Hmlet’s co-living space (ET&Co) believes that co-living spaces will continue to lure mostly foreigners, expats and singles with higher income and those who have Hmlet said. Aside from Hmlet,other blue-chip the ability to afford them. developers have also jumped in to the co-living “The co-living concept and lifestyle offers trend hoping to cash in on the space-hungry an appealing alternative to millennials and expats and millenials in the city. professionals, thus the outlook for co-living concept appears positive.” More choices This was also echoed by Rohit Hemnani, COO City Developments-backed Login started & head of alternatives, capital markets at JLL operations back in Q1 2018 under the brand Asia Pacific. “In the near term, millennial expats name Mamahome. According to Kemmy Sim, are likely to be the main occupiers although the Head of Marketing at Login, the operator now list of users could be expanded to include other has about 50 bedrooms in different locations groups such as foreign students, or even seniors such as Novena, Queenstown and the East with as the concept could appeal to a broader age occupancy above 80%. spectrum beyond expat or local millennials,” “Rates range from S$1,500-S$2,200 for one Hemnani said. bedroom per month, depending on size and location,” Sim told Singapore Business Review. Co-living boom “We are aiming to grow to 300 units or 900 One of the earliest players in the co-living rooms in 2-3 years, with more locations added to industry is Hmlet which entered the Singapore our portfolio.” market in 2016. At present, they have grown to Sim revealed that LOGIN is set to roll out over 10 locations in Singapore and 6 locations their app by 2020 which will include end to end in Hong Kong, sprawling over 200,000 sqft of rental processing which include our room listing, co-living spaces and providing a home to over Community Manager in-app chat, to payment 600 members. processing and rewards program, and introduce A true testament to the burgeoning demand payment tokenisation in our app. She added that for co-living spaces, Hmlet now operates 500 they are eyeing to enter regional markets such rooms and has so far launched Singapore’s first as Vietnam, Thailand, as well as, Australia, by the co-living building, Hmlet@JooChiat as well as beginning of 2020. Hmlet @Portofino which they regard to be the Meanwhile, Ong Teck Hui, National Director, largest co-living building in the city-state. Research & Consultancy at JLL thinks that the co“As we expand our portfolio across Singapore living momentum will extend as the supply side and Hong Kong, we’re now found in highly is beaming with projects in the pipeline including desired locations like Tanjong Pagar, One North/ Ascott’s lyf Funan which will launch 279 units in Buona Vista, Holland Village, and Queenstown 2019, lyf Farrer Park and lyf One with 240 units in Singapore and also Mid-Levels in Hong and 324 units, respectively, which are set to open Kong,” Yoan Kamalski, CEO & Co-Founder of by 2021. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

9


FIRST being branded as Singapore’s next possible unicorn. “Carousell’s purpose is to be more than just a transactional platform. Our end goal is to a grow a community of millions of people around the world who share our belief that changing the way we consume things can make life more meaningful.” In June, Carousell launched its e-wallet CarouPay which was developed in partnership with leading financial institutions DBS, Stripe and Visa. In August, it announced it would expand its meetup services to the Philippines for users to conduct deals as part of a new partnership with logistics solutions provider Xend.

Which Singaporean companies will reach unicorn status in 2019?

I

n the mythical world of venture capital investing, the most prized animal of all is the unicorn which is a startup valued at over US$1b. Singapore is currently home to four prime unicorns – Grab, SEA, Lazada and Razer – which have a combined market value of $20b out of the 10 unicorns produced in Southeast Asia, according to a report by Bain & Company. Grab has been promoted to decacorn status, a term used to describe startups that have the potential to hit a valuation of $10b. Grab is positioning itself as Southeast Asia’s ‘superapp’ following recent deals with global banks to incorporate a wider range of payment options for users through its e-wallet GrabPay. The firm also announced it will roll out its remittance service in early 2019 to capture the region’s remittance market that was estimated to be worth $70b in 2017, data from World Bank showed. New unicorns This current roster of unicorns like Grab may be joined by three succesful startups this year. According to online platform Tech Collective, the online property platform Property Guru, logistics firm Ninja Van and community marketplace Carousell have the best potential to be Singapore’s next 10

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

unicorn. PropertyGuru has raised $329.6m ($240m) over four funding rounds from seven investors, including VCs, Emtek, and TPG. Its series D funding round clinched $200m led by global investment firm KKR. It also fully consolidated Vietnam property portal Batdongsan which is used by over 4 million property seekers into its group. Ninja Van has raised S$161.37m ($117.5m) from five investors and is Southeast Asia’s fastest growing logistics startup. Ninja Van’s series C funding round in January racked in $114.39m (US$8m). Carousell on the other hand, has expanded to 19 cities across seven countries around the world, raising $174.14m (US$126.8m) YTD in funding from seven venture capital firms in the process including Sequoia Capital, 500 Startups and QuestVentures. “We still have a long way to go in realising our vision for Carousell,” Quek Siu Rui, Carousell’s co-founder and CEO, told Singapore Business Review in response to

Other contenders According to Eric Dadoun, CCO of international mobile messaging and cloud communications solution provider Silverstreet, the country’s next unicorn could potentially come from already established traditional players like DBS or a firm that sprouted from humble beginnings in the past two years and found success like Grab. Hugh Mason, CEO for seed accelerator JFDI.Asia, on the other hand disagreed with the assumption that traditional finance players are best positioned to breed the next Singapore unicorn as tech giants in the last few years were a product of ‘platform’ businesses. “What we can say is that some traditional sectors that are highly regulated are going to take longer to be ‘unbundled’ and ‘rebundled’ as part of superapp offerings,” he explained “A superapp that wants to include legal services or investment activity, or to prescribe drugs using artificial intelligence (AI) will meet more barriers than one offering ride sharing,” Mason added. Unlocking the unicorn Ee Ling Lim, CEO for edtech startup Smart Me, is also making a case for healthtech and edtech startups who she believes have a fighting chance to claim unicorn status.“I look forward to seeing a healthtech company that can integrate traditional healthcare, preventive healthcare, wearables and insurance,” she said. “If a healthtech company can create an infrastructure or app which can give it instant access to a

64% of CEOs in Asia felt that Singapore’s economy was the perfect stage for unicorns to breed and thrive thanks to its stability.


FIRST user’s data conveniently, it’s poised to be a unicorn.” The key to sustaining growth all the way to a billion-dollar valuation comes by investing and tapping into new verticals to expand at a much faster rate at a much lower cost, Lim said. Mason echoed this sentiment, highlighting how beyond a certain point in their path, unicorns tend to find it easier to grow by acquiring other businesses as keeping up amidst market growth means building multiple new levels of structure, culture and governance in a businesses. One memorable example is Grab’s ambitious acquisition of rival Uber’s Southeast Asia operations in March which caused a stir and resulted in the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) slapping a $13m fine on both ride-sharing platforms. Nevertheless, Grab continues to bulk up its services in its bid to claim the title as Southeast Asia’s everyday app. “If you are the latest how $100m business that everyone is tipping to be a unicorn, would you want to be acquired by someone who already reached that status? Or would

Grab is one of SIngapore’s most notable unicorns

you hand in there hoping to make it yourself,” Mason highlighted. “A founder who feels they are on the way up is going to put a big price tag on the next bright young thing that looks so delicious for a unicorn to munch up.” Overall, superapps that can create a cashless and seamless ecosystem to help

users maneuver their daily lives easier are best poised to be achieve unicorn status. Coupled with Singapore’s thriving startup ecosystem and government support, the country as whole presents a lot of opportunities for various sectors to tap into the needs of its tech-savvy and mobile-first population.

foodpanda’s Luc Andreani on the key to tickling Singapore’s food palate A massive restaurant network spanning 6,000 establishments helps fuel its bid for market leadership. With nearly seven years of experience in Singapore’s hyper-competitive tech landscape, foodpanda has become a household name in its relentless bid for a larger slice of a global market tipped to grow to over US$250b by 2022. By striking the balance between logistics, technology and data, the Delivery Hero-backed startup was able to successfully grow its network to over 6,000 food outlets and 6,000 riders in an effort to expand its bustling digital marketplace and muscle against the competition. In an exclusive interview with Singapore Business Review, Luc Andreani, managing director at foodpanda, explains how the firm was able to stay ahead of the game by riding the growing push for personalisation and outlook for the year ahead. What other strategies is foodpanda deploying for its growth plans? favourites by foodpanda is a central kitchen with a dine-in space that brings together multiple popular F&B brands under one roof. Customers located within a 5km radius of the outlet can mix & matchvendors within one single order. Pick-Up is the first-of-its-kind feature from a food delivery provider. By toggling from delivery to Pick-Up on the app or website, customers can

now order food and collect the order directly from their favourite restaurant without incurring delivery fees, without adhering to minimum order values or geographical restrictions, all within 15 minutes. How does the company plan to sustain its positive momentum? Our advantage lies in our strong infrastructure, efficiency in managing orders via an advanced dispatch algorithm, and by far the largest restaurant offering in Singapore with more than 6,000 restaurants. As we continue to grow, our focus lies in offering our customers the most variety at prices they love. We partner with the best restaurants islandwide such as new recent additions PS.Cafe, KFC and PappaRich. Another example of our strategic partnerships in the food industry is TigerNow which we launched in July 2018, allowing our users to order ice-cold Tiger beers island wide until 3am.

Luc Andreani, managing director at foodpanda

6,000 restaurants on our platform. In addition to this, we deliver island wide and the launch of favourites by foodpanda in areas such as Woodlands and Mandai help to further increase our reach and ensure we cater to customers that don’t have easy access to many restaurants in their area. We have a big range of halal compliant restaurants on our platform as we were the What’s foodpanda’s outlook for the first delivery service to introduce the necessary foodtech sector? packaging and we also offer 24/7 delivery. All of our growth plans for 2019 and beyond Our key focus areas are on creating lasting will continue to focus on offering the best user experience in the industry and catering to all. We relationships with our vendors, riders and loyal have the largest offering in the market with over customers.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

11


FIRST NUMBERS

Singaporeans lead Asia-Pacific region in international travel

%

Singaporeans Lead Asia Pacific Region in International Travel TRIPS OVER 2 YEARS

Singapore travellers continue to lead the Asia Pacific region in international travel, averaging more than six trips for leisure or business over the last two years, according to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2017 (“Study”).

Average number of leisure & business international trips taken over the last two years

5.72

6.62

5.81

5.02 5.08

Average number of trips planned

6.58

In addition, Singaporeans plan to travel the most, with an average of 6.58 international trips for leisure and business planned for the next two years.

5.98

6.21

5.64 5.33

Average number of nights away & average flight time Although Singapore travellers lead in terms of number of trips, they are spending fewer nights away while on holiday (compared to regional and global travellers). They are also sticking closer to home.

6

5

NIGHTS

APAC REGIONAL AVE: 7 GLOBAL AVE: 8

HOURS

APAC REGIONAL AVE: 6 GLOBAL AVE: 7

Preferred destinations for Singapore travellers

Start-ups ditch VCs for family offices

W

Team behind Delegate

Bye-bye VCs? What used to be the exclusive domain of VCs is no more as family offices have been slowly but actively expanding into the thriving tech startup landscape,

particularly in the early-stage scene, as part of their long-term wealth generation ploys, observed Justin Hall, partner at Golden Gate Ventures. The private equity (direct and fund investing) asset class currently accounts for a 22% share of the average family office portfolio, up 3.8 percentage points from 2017, according to a report from UBS and Campden, which noted how nearly 80% of these investments either met or exceeded their performance expectations. Usually shrouded in secrecy, there are an estimated 500 family offices in Asia that manage a family’s private wealth affairs including investment, philanthropy and taxation. The transition of wealth to the tech-savvy younger generation is only set to lend further momentum to the growing interest in private equity deals in Singapore, said Ramesh Raghavan, vice chairman of Business Angel Network of Southeast Asia (BANSEA). “This is a positive development as family business and high net worth individuals could be sources of more stable capital and not exposed to the constraints of a fund life as many VCs are focused on entry and exit within the fund life and raising follow on funds,” he said.

hen Singapore-based startup Delegate sought to raise US$1m for its pre-series A round to improve the capabilities of its event platform, a number of VCs were immediately cut out of the picture. The funding amount was either too small for VCs investing at Series A and above or too large for those with a focus on seed stage funding. To maintain operations, the cash-strapped startup chose to knock on the door of a lesser known funding scheme but one with just as deep the pockets: region’s ultra-wealthy. Through the capital injection of an undisclosed Singapore-based family office and the participation of an angel investor, Delegate managed to raise enough money for its plans to expand into the US and Australia and enhance its SaaS offering, highlighting a growing trend of startups embracing family offices. “We weren’t willing to raise more than we required so family offices were the ideal investment vehicle for us. The flexibility in their investment mandates was a definite advantage for us,” Jacqueline Ye, co-founder of Delegate told Singapore Business Review.

Top 5 most popular destinations visited in the past 2 years

#2

#1

Japan

Malaysia

37%

47%

#3

Thailand

36%

#4

#5

Hong Kong

Australia

34%

31%

Singapore travellers decide on travel destinations based on:

43%

Budget considerations

40% Value for money

40% MONDAY

Available travel days

34%

APAC REGIONAL : 29% Strict with travel budgets GLOBAL : 32%

*The Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2017 was conducted in 27 markets between June-July 2017 based on a minimum of 500 respondents per market

Source: Visa

12

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Mobile App Watch

No waiters, no waiting time for takeaways with Eatsy With the promise of never waiting in line again, Eatsy hopes to be the Deliveroo for takeaway meals. Shaun Heng, Eatsy’s co-founder and CEO, says that the app is intended to “help diners save more time for more important things in life” by allowing users to preorder and pay for their takeaways via mobile. Users can then pick up their orders at the exact time, without the need to queue for orders and payments. Eatsy has over 200 local merchants in Singapore in its platform. The capabilities of this mobile app are in line with the government’s SME Go Digital Programme, which encourages the use of digital solutions and promotes cashless transactions nationwide. Eatsy plans to finance its expansion through a recent seed funding worth US$550,000 from Indonesia-based East Ventures and angel investors.

Eatsy app


FIRST

Banks embark on a hiring spree

M

aking the digital shift welcomed many opportunities for banks but have also paved way for fraud-related activities to expand their scope. Singapore banks have acknowledged that they need to rev up their talent pool through hiring more professionals as well as upskilling their existing workforce. OCBC revealed that it is in an extended proof of concept and pre-implementation phase with fintech firm Theta Ray in its crusade to improve transaction monitoring and to fight financial crime through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). “Financial crimes are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated, with new trends and patterns emerging frequently,” an OCBC spokesperson told Singapore Business Review. “Coupled with a mounting volume of transactions that banks have to monitor, a more accurate and efficient system of anti-money laundering (AML) monitoring would help us tremendously in preventing financial crime.” On its part, UOB tied up with regtech firm Tookitaki Holding to roll out a machine learning solution that would help detect and prevent money laundering activities in the bank’s systems.“The use of RegTech such as Tookitaki’s AMLS enables us to augment our ability to identify actionable alerts and to minimise false positives. These sharpen the accuracy and effectiveness of our AML risk management,” said Victor Ngo, head of group compliance, UOB. The advent of these new developments ultimately leads to an increase in demand for professionals who could work in the cybersecurity domain particularly security operations management, vulnerability assessment management, and research and development, Michael Page Singapore associate director Shinjika Shukla said. “Whilst the first two jobs are to counteract the cyber threats and attacks, the latter is a futuristic approach by banks to invest in technology to counteract or reduce the risks of cyber threats to their business,” she noted. As of current, a salary guide by Robert Half Singapore found that IT security consultants working in the financial services sector earn around $75,000 to $180,000 a year depending on their experience and qualifications.

Looking for a profitable start up? Try Foodtech

A

lthough the foodtech scene was once limited to pioneering delivery applications such as foodpanda and Deliveroo, the budding space is gradually heating up as players tapping on the complex food supply chain jostle for a larger slice of Singapore’s profitable foodtech pie. Grab which earlier acquired UberEats, Honestbee, WhyQ, food delivery provider Plum are some of the big-ticket names that have joined the city state’s foodtech fray in recent months, data from EY show. Restaurant booking platform Chope was also able to raise US$13m for its funding in a deal that drew Square Peg Capital, C31 Ventures and Moelis Australia, attesting to the growing shift in investor palate towards startups disrupting the food supply chain. “This space is fast becoming saturated as competition intensifies. More recently, the Singapore government has released its blueprint to develop Singapore into a leading food and nutrition hub in Asia by 2025. Since then, we have seen rapid development in various fronts that appeal to foodtech players,” Sarah Cheah, Associate Professor, Department of Management & Organisation at NUS Business School told Singapore Business Review. Investors have poured nearly US$2.5b into the restaurant tech segment globally since 2012 over 600 deals, according to data from startup insights provider CB Insights. “In the near-term, we should see more share of investor funding, especially with more startups with deep technology and strong intellectual property being created (e.g. Alchemy Foodtech’s 5ibrePlusTM technology that tackles diabetes), new government schemes to de-risk by co-investment with private investors in foodtech (e.g. Seeds Capital’s co-investment with Heritas Capital Management in Alchemy Foodtech), and new venture capital funds being launched that focus on the future of food (e.g. US$40m VisVires New Protein fund),” added Cheah. Food fight Enterprise Singapore has also called for interested investors in foodtech to apply for co-matching funding to help plug gaps in sector knowledge and experience in the budding foodtech sector, noted Wang Yunming, venture partner at

FoodPanda’s satellite kitchen

Quest Ventures. “Singapore’s weakness is in the marketing of its abilities, and the seemingly inability of local investment firms to support local food companies. For example, there are already companies in Singapore that can do what Silicon Valley-based companies such as Impossible Foods do. From our vantage point in China, where local investment firms heavily support indigenous companies, this lack of local support in Singapore is odd and an unhappy and probably false indication that local companies cannot meet the expectations of local investors,” he explained. Fertile ground for Foodtech Despite its limited domestic market, culinary-loving and tech-savvy Singapore is increasingly positioning itself at the centre of the global food market that is poised to grow by over US$250b by 2022 as the Lion City serves as fertile ground for foodtech startups testing the limits of public and investor appetite for their product and service offerings. One succesful foodtech venture in Singapore is London-based Deliveroo who entered the Singapore market in mid2015. To this end, the firm has deployed a predictive algorithm dubbed Frank which evaluates the most efficient way to distribute orders based on the location of restaurants, riders and customers so that delivery times are up to 20% faster. “We will continue to see ways in which brands leverage this for the benefit and convenience of their users,” said Deliveroo general manager Siddharth Shanker. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

13


FIRST AMBASSADOR BRIEFING

3,000 companies leverage from Singapore-Japan ties

His Excellency Ambassador Jun Yamazaki

I

n an exclusive interview with Singapore Business Review, His Excellency, Ambassador Jun Yamazaki shared the unique business relationship between Singapore and the Land of the Rising Sun. Currently, there are 3,000 Japanese companies operating in Singapore who stand best to leverage in this unique partnership. What is the current business relations between Singapore and Japan? Singapore exports to Japan was $23.5b, and Japanese exports to Singapore was $28.2b. For Singapore, Japan is one of the biggest trading partners in Asia. In addition, investments from Japan to Singapore, on a stock basis, was $98.6b, or about 6% of the total investments into Singapore from around the world. Furthermore, about 3,000 Japanese companies are doing business in Singapore. In 2017, more than 400,000 people from Singapore visited Japan. What is unique Singapore and Japan’s business environment? Singapore and Japan share the common social challenge of rapidly ageing society with low birth rates. This means that a new healthcare industry is emerging where firms from both countries can collaborate. Furthermore, since both our countries are actively promoting further efficiencies through the realisation of a digital society utilising state of the art technologies in such areas as AI and IoT, there is much room for further collaboration between companies What are the opportunities for Singaporean businesses in Japan? Applying cutting-edge digital technologies such as AI and IoT would be one of the key factors for future economic development of both Singapore and Japan. Active exchanges between the two countries in these fields are very much welcome. In addition, following the ASEAN Smart Cities Network envisioned by Singapore, there is expectation that exchanges and cooperation between metropolises in ASEAN countries and Japan would increase. There is room for cooperation between Japan and Singapore as these exchanges between the metropolises move ahead. Any business events that Singapore companies can get involved in? There is an online site called “J-messe” operated by JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) providing information about many events and exhibitions, sorted by regions and fields. I hope that many Singapore companies will access this site and participate in events/exhibitions in Japan.

14

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Grab ventures into insurance

Grab has partnered with Chinese Internet-based insurer ZhongAn Technologies International Group (ZA International) to establish a joint venture (JV) company in a move to enter Southeast Asia’s digital insurance distribution business, an announcement revealed. The JV will create a digital insurance marketplace offering innovative insurance products in a range of categories with fractionalised premiums to users directly through Grab’s mobile app. It will also collaborate with global insurance partners to develop products which are tailored specifically to the lifestyle needs of people in Southeast Asia. Pain points “The tie-up will address the usual pain points of insurance discovery, unaffordable premiums and payment options by allowing for insurance premium payments to be adjusted and automatically deducted through GrabPay or its affiliate payment partners,” the firms said in a joint statement. ZA International which is the entity for overseas business development formed by Zhong An Online P&C Insurance Co. will bring technical assets to build the platform as well

Grab aims to bring affordable insurance

as insights into internet ecosystems. Grab will then launch the platform through its app to tap into its user base to deliver the products to users. Affordable insurance “Our mission is to bring relevant and affordable financial services to Southeast Asia,” Grab Financial’s head Reuben Lai said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we hope to provider our users, driver-partners and merchants with relevant and affordable insurance protection from life’s uncertainties.” As a starter, Grab will offer a driver’s insurance product in conjunction with insurance provider Chubb to its driver-partners in Singapore in a bid to protect them from loss of income owing to illness or accident.

CHARTIST

Co-working space hits 1.4 million sqft in 2018 The co-working boom has no end in sight in Singapore as the co-working market doubled to around 1.4 million sqft in 2018 from just about 700,000 sqft in 2017, according to CBRE reasearch. “Ever since the concept of co-working took root about five years back, operators have had some time experimenting and fine-tuning their products,” CBRE noted. The research firm noted that average sizes of co-working facilities have also expanded from just about 5,000-10,000 sqft in 2013 to about 60,000 sqft similar to those occupied by WeWork, JustCo, and Distrii. Meanwhile, Campfire is set to launch an 85,000 sqft co-working space at Cecil Street.

Growth of co-working market

Source: CBC Research


Embark on an MBA journey that serves your career goals Marina Square

City Campus in the Financial Heart of Singapore

Purpose-built MBA Facilities to Support Interactive Learning and Discussion

On-campus Networking Events and Talks for Students, Industry, and Alumni

Speak to Us to Find the MBA Programme Best Suited to Your Career Goals

Master of Business Administration in Global Business (Part-Time) • The MBA with a focus on global business perspectives • Designed to enhance business development and entrepreneurship knowledge • 100% coursework — Practice and application-based learning with no exams • Top 13 University in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2019)

Master of Business Administration (Part-Time)

• Be part of a global MBA community • Accredited by AMBA and EQUIS, and a member of AACSB • Options to study on-campus in the UK and attend international study tours with industry visits • Top 82 University in the World (QS World University Rankings 2019)

City Campus 6 Raffles Boulevard, #03-200 Marina Square, Singapore 039594

6390 9050 (Kenn) 6390 9056 (Suresh) postgrad@psb-academy.edu.sg psb-academy.edu.sg/postgrad


startups

Carmen Automotive alerts drivers before car breaks down

W

hat Fitbit does for the human body, Carmen does for cars. Singapore-based data and analytics startup Carmen Automotive has driven away with $1m (US$730,000) in a pre-series A funding round led by Silicon Solution Ventures in January 2019 as it seeks to expand its data-powered automotive technologies. Founded in 2014, Carmen uses predictive technologies to alert drivers of potential problems before they occur by measuring vehicular health through the engine control unit (ECU). “Carmen analyses various data in ECU

to inform Car Owners (CO) of possible problems. The longer CO use, the software gets more intelligent with more data collected,” the firm said. A typical Carmen package, which retails at $168, includes a dongle to plug into the car’s OBD port, a mobile app for real-time data transmission and an analytic web dashboard. Through the dongle, a wide range of driving and vehicle data including battery life, fault codes, fuel efficiency and mileage is collected which is then transferred to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth and uploaded to the Cloud. “Whether you are driving to work or for family outings, Carmen watches over your car, ensuring you a safe drive on the roads,” the firm said. Once potential issues are detected with the car, both the driver and the car workshop is immediately alerted to ensure that the vehicle is in top condition to hit the roads. In the event of a vehicular breakdown, the app sends the distressed driver’s location to a tow company. Carmen also shares driver data with the workshop to monitor regular vehicular status.

AI platform Osome digitises HR functions

Setting up a company in Singapore involves several trips to the bank, filing registration papers and more tedious tasks that Osome, an AI-powered business management startup, wants to do away with. Osome has raised US$2m in a seed funding round led by German venture capital firm Target Global, as it seeks to ease the burden of administrative and secretarial work off of businesses through its digital capabilities. Osome, which started its operations in 2018, offers to do the business registration, payroll management, accounting, company record keeping, corporate secretarial service and tax filing of small and medium-sized firms. These

16

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

services are provided directly to clients through packages worth $350 to $2,550 per year, eliminating the need for a middleman. Osome’s strength lies in its proprietary AI chatbot technology, which facilitates business processes by letting robots perform routine administrative tasks. Osome’s AI service is accessible via text messaging and can respond to queries in just a matter of minutes at any time of the day, thereby reducing the business registration time. Osome has already incorporated more than 50 new companies in Singapore, accounting for approximately 1% of new firms registered in the country in November 2018. Osome had more than 600 customers and more than 40 employees. According to company founder Victor Lysenko, “by delegating these routine tasks to robots, we are able to ensure greater quality of work, and in most cases, this turns out to be even more cost effective for our customers.”

IoT platform Overdrive clinches $2.9m in Series A funding round

Tracking moving assets from place to place can be a real painpoint especially for merchants who want to keep track of their inventory. Luckily, Industrial IoT platform Overdrive aims to reduce the unnecessary stress of tracking these assets through its data-sensing technology. By attaching iBeacons or small Bluetooth transmitters, Overdrive can pinpoint a physical location by relaying contextual information to smart devices nearby. The company counts the Ministry of Manpower, Sentosa, Nanyang Technological University, Fedex and Ascendas amongst the roster of its big-ticket clients, and it has also raised $2.9m in a series A funding round from VC firm Tin Men Capital. Through its proximity solutions, Overdrive enables customers to perform command centre visualisation, real-time tracking, and monitoring and exception alerting through a mash-up of third-party devices and connectivity technologies. The startup also speeds up communication between machines and vehicles, as well as to manage people and products, in an efficient business environment. Continuous upgrades Overdrive’s IoT platform is characterised by an open architecture that can manage in-house and partnered intelligence modules and device-level firmware. “Overdrive has built a powerful and dynamic platform in allowing any devices and sensors to communicate with each other and with data and video capabilities… [We] continue to upgrade our platform aggressively to stay ahead. With Tin Men’s involvement, we will expand our business regionally, focusing on logistics, facilities, transportation and people,” says chief executive and co-founder Aston Chia. Chief operating officer and co-founder Chin adds: “We are scaling up our R&D bandwidth… and have already embarked on a few industrial-level implementations with customers in Singapore and Malaysia, with more markets and sectors being targeted over the next 18 months.” The additional funding will enable Overdrive to upgrade its operational capabilities so that it can focus on asset tracking for the construction, supply chain, and facilities management sectors. Overdrive’s robust and scalable technology has become attractive not only to prestigious clients but also to keen investors. Tin Men co-founder Benjamin Tan has complimented the success of Overdrive, saying that the company is “ready for accelerated expansion into the sectors and geographies that Tin Men is aligned with.”


WINNER OF THE MILK CATEGORY

2018 ASIAN EXPORT AWARDS

HIGH IN CALCIUM

PACKED WITH VITAMINS

NO ADDED SUGAR

AUSTRALIA’S NO.1 DAIRY FREE MILK BRAND* *Nielsen Scantrack 7/10/18


Co-published corporate profile

Prudential adds value for Singapore SMEs with an innovative digital ecosystem: Pruworks Pruworks is a seamless digital insurance ecosystem geared at closing the protection gap for SMEs.

W

hen it comes to attracting and retaining talent, small-andmedium sized enterprises (SMEs) are often at a distinct disadvantage against multinational firms. Large companies can offer attractive employee packages and plenty of other perks, which are often prohibitively expensive for SMEs. To address this disparity, Prudential Singapore has set up Pruworks, a digital ecosystem designed to help SMEs grow their business as well as retain employees. “SMEs are an underserved market in need of such solutions catered to their size and budget. Many SMEs do not even offer insurance to their employees or have dedicated HR functions looking after employee benefits and engagement. These are must-haves in the modern workplace,” explained Dennis Ng, Prudential’s Regional Head of Enterprise Strategy. Pruworks is the first product of its kind ever offered by an insurer in Singapore. This one-stop digital shop gives business owners, HR teams and employees easy

Dennis Ng, Regional Head of Enterprise Strategy, Prudential Singapore

18

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

and convenient access to insurance, employee benefits and business solutions in one seamless digital experience. This innovative system allows for easy tracking of insurance claims and employee benefits online as well as access to value-added services such as financing options or wellness programmes.

anytime. “Prudential is the first insurer to develop an employee benefits platform and offer coverage plans that meet the needs of the smallest of enterprises. Furthermore, as insurance solutions are provided by Prudential itself, we can be more nimble in meeting the evolving needs of customers,” said Ng.

Responding to market needs Innovative value-added services A survey conducted by Prudential Pruworks also offers easy access to Singapore in April 2018 revealed that more a sales portal where through a simple than 50% of SMEs do not have group life four-step process, one canselect plans, insurance,1 whilst up to 43% do not have add employees, enter their company group medical insurance. SMEs surveyed said insurance plans were too expensive for information and hit submit. This enables a their small company size and that employee faster response and easier conversations to conversions by reducing the number benefits were not a priority. This is an of meetings by the customer with their alarming trend, given that SMEs make up financial consultant. An HR portal is also more than 99% of businesses and employ up to 65% of the workforce in the country. 2 available to help HR managers take charge of managing insurance policies by providing “This is why we have partnered business an overall view of employee coverage. associations and technology companies The system also features an employee to bring a range of services that are portal with mobile-friendly access convenient and cost-effective for SMEs in allowing workers to view their entire a single digital platform,” said Ng. insurance coverage Backed by an and easily find the initial investment Pruworks is a digital nearest panel clinic. of S$3 million, ecosystem designed to They can also submit Pruworks is designed for SMEs help SMEs grow their claims by uploading and submitting a with an annual business and attract turnover of up and retain employees. picture of the receipt. Beyond insurance, to S$100 million SMEs can also enjoy and headcount of complimentary access to the Health between three and 200 employees. Since Promotion Board (HPB) SME Health+ the launch of Pruworks in June 2018, Initiative that features programmes on Prudential has onboarded more than 200 chronic disease management, healthy SME customers and aims to increase this eating, active living and mental well-being. number to 5,000 by the end of 2019. “We plan to roll out more value-added To help SMEs protect their employees services on Pruworks in the areas of and business, Prudential offers insurance productivity and innovation, promoting plans that provide coverage catered to a entrepreneurship and addressing the needs company’s size, needs and budget. With of an ageing population. These are all areas the assistance of its Financial Consultants, that directly affect SMEs as they look SMEs can choose plans that offer the best for growth opportunities in a tight labour coverage to fit their needs. market,” Ng said. Through Pruworks, business owners and To find out more about Pruworks, speak HR personnel can easily adjust insurance to your Prudential Financial Consultant or coverage based on employee movement. visit www.prudential.com.sg/pruworks In turn, employees have mobile access to a benefits portal which allows them 1 Survey by Prudential Singapore to submit and make claims easily and at 2 Department of Statistics Singapore (Singstat)


SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

19


FINANCIAL INSIGHT: MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Singapore M&A deal activity stutters as Chinese inbound interest wanes Consolidation plays and domestic firms’ global acquisition spree lent some support to dealmaking activity.

M

&A deal activity in Singapore hit a snag: the value of total deals as of September 2018 were down by roughly one-fifth from the same period in 2017. Overall Singapore M&A activity stood at $54.3b, down 18.5% from 2017, although still “elevated” compared to historical levels, Thomson Reuters said. The average M&A deal size for disclosed deals declined to $113.4m from $129.1m during the same period. State entities GIC and Temasek led Singapore’s outbound M&A activities, Clifford Chance partner Satbir Walia told Singapore Business Review. Notable deals include GIC and Temasek jointly backing Ant Financial as they acquired an undisclosed stake for its subsidiary in a funding round that hit about $19.14b (US$14b). Temasek also subscribed for an approximately 3.6% interest in Bayer AG for about $5.06b. The decline in overall Singapore M&A activity was driven by a 41% drop in total cross-border deal activity to $27.6b in the first nine months, from $46.8b. Singapore’s inbound M&A activity was substantially weaker in 2018, falling 68.1% in deal value to $9.9b, marking the lowest first nine months since 2014 when deal value for foreign acquisitions targeting Singapore-based firms reached $9.5b, Thomson Reuters data showed. Private firms also made their presence known with

Historically, a considerable number of noteworthy Singaporean outbound M&A transactions have involved either GIC or Temasek. However, in 2018 we have seen domestic firms driving the Singapore M&A market.

Deal #1: Lazada’s warehouse. Alibaba increased its stake in Singapore-based ecommerce platform Lazada for $4B

20

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Grab buying 27.5% stake in its competitor, Uber, emerging as the talk of town, and even drawing a penalty from Singapore’s competition watchdog months later. Grab has also raised more than US$2b from the likes of Toyota, OppernheimerFunds, Microsoft, and Ping An, noted Walia, in addition to forging a collaboration with various global and regional players across different sectors to helped achieve its superapp ambitions. On the property market, CapitaLand’s US buying spree worth $1.14b (US$835m) was amongst the biggest deals, Walia observed. The transaction earmarked the firm’s foray into the multifamily asset class in the US which is seeing a growing demand for long term rental housing. Meanwhile, also worth noting in the M&A scene is Golden Spring Group selling 75% of its stake in one of Asia’s major pure-play animal feed manufacturer, Gold Coin, to Pilmico International which is a subsidiary of Philippine conglomerate Aboitiz group for $683.83m (US$550m). For Matthew Gorman, partner, at Reed Smith LLP, the steady surge in M&A activities come as no surprise given the inherently limited domestic market in Singapore. “The rationale could be that firms in Singapore are aiming to widen their company profile to a global scale – Singapore remains a relatively small market in global

Deal #2: after Grab’s much talked about acquisition of uber, it has raised more than $2b in funding from Toyota, Microsoft and Ping An.


FINANCIAL INSIGHT: MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Chinese companies have also been shedding assets to bolster their balance sheets, Walia reckoned, an opportunity that Singapore firms have eagerly jumped on. UOB’s Tan reckoned Singapore companies continue to be keen to expand overseas, including into China, to break into larger markets or to lower their manufacturing costs.

Any Singapore Involvement Announced M&A

Source: Thomson Reuters

terms,” he explained. The year also witnessed a lot of consolidation plays, observed UOB group investment banking head of mergers and acquisitions Tan Chee Yang. Such transactions include the privatisation of Wheelock Properties as well as the pre-conditional general offer by Keppel and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) for M1. Chinese takeaway Whilst acquisitions by Chinese companies in Singapore continued to dominate in 2018, the trend has slowed compared with recent years, possibly due to an overall decline in outbound investments by China enterprises, said Tan. Analysts traced the decrease in outbound investments from Chinese firms to the tighter regulatory regime surrounding such deals. Foreign acquisitions, remittances, money exchanges and other outbound transactions of more than $5m became subject to mandatory prescreening by regulators which started November of 2016. “China’s capital controls are taking a visible toll on its companies’ investment activity abroad and discouraging foreign multinationals from pumping money into the world’s second-largest economy,” said Gorman. “We understand that regulators have also indicated that real estate, hotel, entertainment, film, sports club and other ‘irrational’ overseas investments would be tightly monitored making acquisitions in fields other than high-tech manufacturing difficult. This would have an effect on Singapore,” Gorman added, citing Jones Lang LaSalle’s China Outbound Cities Connectivity Index, where Singapore topped the rankings in 2018 as the city that is most connected and impacted by China’s internationalisation. The JLL report noted that a new wave of Chinese corporates led by technology firms such as Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba and Tencent making inroads in global markets via acquisitions and venture capital investments. China’s Alibaba Group Holding planned to raise its interest in Singapore-based online retailer Lazada for $4b, in a privately negotiated transaction. This pushed China to become the most active acquirer country in Singapore in terms of deal value, clinching 40.7% of Singapore’s inbound activity. The U.S., by comparison, accounted for 22.9%, whilst Japan captured a 13.3% market share and also saw the most number of inbound acquisitions in Singapore.

Tan Chee Yang

Matthew Gorman

Satbir Walia

Luke Pais

Geographic diversification Gorman noted that whilst GIC and Temasek participated in one of the most notable transactions in 2018, there was a wider variety of firms at the dealmaking table. “Historically, a considerable number of noteworthy Singaporean outbound M&A transactions have involved either GIC or Temasek. However, in 2018 we have seen domestic firms driving the Singapore M&A market in pursuit of geographic diversification with Singapore Technologies Engineering, CapitaLand and Keppel Land all getting in on the action,” he said. In addition, Gorman reckoned Singaporean firms saw improvements in deal origination, owing to global experience and talent that they are increasingly able to leverage. Overall deal values in 2018 were lower than 2017, and corporates and boards will likely “act with caution” in 2019 amid prevailing global trade and geopolitical uncertainties, said Luke Pais, Asean M&A and private equity leader at EY. “However, there is still an active appetite to invest and we find that deal pipelines and corporate balance sheets are quite strong.” Pais added that Singapore corporates, who spent 2018 balancing growth and profitability in a more volatile economic environment, will likely focus on continuing to actively review and realign their portfolios. He expects firms to focus on core business growth and expansion, improving profitability and reducing complexity, whilst also looking for exits in non-core business segments. Technology sector Amongst sectors, dealmaking was “buoyant” in the renewable energy and technology sectors, noted Gorman, citing transactions such as Global Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of independent power producer Equis Energy for $5b; Temasek’s €3b injection to help Bayer AG finance its planned takeover of U.S. rival Monsanto Co.; and Alibaba Group raising its control by investing another $2b in Lazada Group SA. In renewables, Gorman said one of the largest transactions by his firm involved advising AT Capital on its sale of Indian wind and solar player Orange Renewables to Greenko. Deals in the high technology sector accounted for 25.5% of Singapore’s inbound M&A activity, totaling $2.5b, in the first nine months of 2018, Thomson Reuters data showed. “Technology sector has been leading the way in M&A activity and funding raising,” said Walia, citing Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations. Grab has raised more than $2b in funding from likes of Toyota, OppenheimerFunds, Microsoft and Ping An. The SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

21


FINANCIAL INSIGHT: MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS company has also been inking collaboration agreements with leading global and regional players across different sectors. Aside from technology, real estate and consumer were two of the other most active sectors in 2018 in terms of dealmaking activity, Walia said. Thomson Reuters data showed the real estate industry has been the most targeted sector for Singapore outbound M&A in the first nine months of 2018, capturing 35.2% or $6.2b worth of deals, although this is 14.2% lower than the prior-year period. Germany was the most targeted nation for Singaporean overseas deals during the period, accounting for a 23.2% market share, driven by Temasek’s $3.7b additional stake acquisition in Bayer AG. Gorman reckoned the Temasek deal was noteworthy not only because of the scale of the transaction, but also because it highlighted two themes that will shape the outbound M&A market. “Firstly, Temasek continues to seek opportunities abroad and lead the way for the rest of the Singapore market,” he said. “Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, overseas domestic regulators appear to be more receptive to interest from Singaporean investment in sectors that have historically been subject to notable regulatory intervention in relation to foreign investment.” Crush of consolidation plays Consolidation figured prominently in Singapore M&A deals in 2018, analysts noted. “This year, Grab certainly dominated the headlines with its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, as well as fundraising rounds and other tuck-in acquisitions,” said Pais, citing other marquee deal announcements such as Salim-Medco Group’s investment

Competition authorities in Asia are also paying closer attention to transactions.

in Hyflux and ESR REIT’s acquisition of Viva Industrial Trust. “All of these deals are focused around the theme of consolidation and optimisation.” Tan reckoned consolidation plays were popular in 2018 as controlling shareholders were keen to increase their shareholdings in subsidiaries and associated companies wanted greater management control and flexibility to execute business plans, as seen in the privatisation of Wheelock Properties and the pre-conditional general offer by Keppel and SPH for M1. Tan noted how acquirers were keen to buy firms in the same business, as seen in BRC Asia’s takeover of Lee Metals for $200m, which further consolidated the metals sector in Singapore. Challenges on the horizon “Competition authorities in Asia are also paying closer attention to transactions” and could have an impact on M&A activity, Walia added, noting the recent penalties imposed by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore on Grab and Uber. Singapore’s role as a hub for Southeast Asia could also turn into a mixed bag, as some countries in the region grapple with currency devaluations, which may lead to uncertainty and volatility. Even as interest rates are rising, Tan said they are still considered relatively low on a historical basis and any future increases will likely be gradual. He expects the M&A market in 2019 to stay active as Singapore’s open and business-friendly economy continues to draw foreign investor interest in potential transactions.

HONG KONG VIEW

Nervousness is translating into fewer strategic M&A deals in Hong Kong

M

&A activity in Hong Kong suffered both in volume and value as geopolitical and regulatory headwinds weighed on dealmaking interest. Mergers and acquisitions where Hong Kong financial firms were targets fell to 1,050 transactions with a combined value of US$87.93b in the first eight months of 2018, from 1,252 transactions with a combined value of US$108.28b in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters data. However, analysts have ruled out a steeper decline in 2019 and instead forecast a mostly steady performance as private equity interest, amongst other factors, look to provide a substantial lift in the coming year. The megadeals in the telecoms sector that bolstered dealmaking value in 2017 may have dissipated, but China’s technology giants have gone on an acquisition spree and sectors such as real estate have seen greater activity which has mitigated the slowdown as firms and investors adopted a more careful approach. “In the private sector, as boardrooms contemplate sky high multiples and a possible correction in the global markets, nervousness is translating into fewer strategic deals. Deal volumes have slightly declined this year as compared to 2017,” said Bryan Koo, 22

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

partner at Clifford Chance. “That said, this year we saw a more stable flow of M&A activities across the year and, from the third quarter of 2018 onwards, we are seeing more activity in the Hong Kong public M&A space,” he added, citing GuoLine Overseas Limited’s proposed privatisation of Hong Kong-listed Gupco Group Ltd and Swire Pacific’s $9.4b privatisation of HAECO, Swire Pacific’s subsidiary.

Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners acquired 17 Hong Kong shopping centres for $23b from Link REIT.

Goldman Sachs, Sequoia Capital and Boyu Capital that acquired travel booking services provider Klook Travel Technology


Service Lines

ABeam IoT Solution

IoT Data-Driven Manufacturing Solution

IoT Data-driven Manufacturing Manufacturing is becoming more difficult for a number of reasons: demand for better than ever quality, ultra-short turnaround times, a declining labor workforce, retirement of a generation of skilled disciplined craftsmen, and the need to generate added value in a changing manufacturing environment. As Industry 4.0 leads the way towards utilizing IoT, AI, and other technologies to make manufacturing more digital, automated, and less labor intensive, a wave of manufacturing improvements utilizing connected equipment demands an effective response. ABeam Consulting supports digitalization of the manufacturing workplace to achieve better product quality and productivity by means of proven IoT solutions, business scenarios, state-of-the-art analytics technologies, IoT platforms and a data-driven approach.

Room for improvement Issues the manufacturing industry is continuously confronted by are, gaining the trust of the market through product quality (design, development and production), and needing to boost competitiveness through productivity.

Product Quality Design

Productivity

Production

Understand products’ derogation in the market, and design utilization

Monitor variance in equipment behavior to standardize product quality

Close gaps of unmet customer Transfer skills for high-quality need, inter-factory coordination, equipment configuration, product standards adjustment quality inspection, etc.

Inspection/Traceability

Equipment Operation

Identify hidden causes of defects that defy human observation

Reduce production momentary stop and eliminate long/indefinite halts for continuous line operation

Cut down inventory of parts and products in process

Overall Throughput

Enhance traceability to increase quality and speed

Optimize preventive maintenance,

Set up, adjust and optimize tasks of daily production

Service Lines

Business issue resolution by data analytics and analysis model Problem solving through high-level IoT analytical technology

Problems of high-level analytical technology

Issue resolving process can be a “black box,” lacking persuasive power, thus useless in Business Process Reengineering.

From enormous sensor data volume, even rare problems can be detected and predicted.

IoT Data-Driven Manufacturing Solution

- Causes of defects for each product in “low-volume various models” production - Product/plant defect timing, etc.

ABeam IoT analytics High visibility and precise forecasting achieved by combining manufacturing industry knowledge and experience, allowing analysis in light of actual product/plant/process status.

Understanding Deep learning

Detecting essentially characteristic volumes necessary for problem solving

Incorporate analytical results into factory operations & systems to run continuous improvement cycle

Machine learning

i hly readable data analysis al sis Highly avoiding development of “black box”

Repetitive learning from data for detection of hidden patterns

Data mining Statistics Data Volume

Interpret data and build hypotheses in light of the on-site perspective of experienced, knowledgeable personnel on scene

Analysis & forecast

Data structuring

Derive results from exclusive tuning technology combining a wide range of algorithms

Structure data based on ISO/other engineering, technical knowledge, and experience

ABeam Consulting (S) Pte Ltd 18, Cross Street, #10-05/09, China Square Central, Singapore 048423 www.abeam.com .


NUMBERS NUMBERS

MORE FIRMS ADOPT PROGRESSIVE WORKPLACE PRACTICES

Source: Conditions of Employment 2018, Ministry of Manpower © 2018 Government of Singapore

24

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019


Outstanding Efficiency at

Exceptional Value Designed specially for high print volume users, Brother business colour laser range gives you the confidence to print and scan with greater speed and assurance.

MFC - L8900CDW Built for Savings

An ultra high-yield toner lets you print up to 9,000* pages for less.

MFC-L8690CDW

Built for Reliability & Efficiency

A robust and dependable machine that with less than 15 seconds first print-out time.

HL-L8360CDW

Built for Productivity

Save the hassle of refills with tower tray** which increases total paper input capacity of up to 2,380 sheets.

Personalised Solutions

HL-L8260CDN

Built for Security

Digital integrety is paramount to your business and the colour laser range’s advance security capabilities give you full control and protection of your print infrastructure.

Brother Solutions Interface (BSI), a web-based service platform, lets software developers easily create customised solutions. Secure Function Lock 3.0

Print Archive

Pin Code

Active Directory

* Applicable to TN-459 C/M/Y/K only, in accordance with ISO/IEC 19798

Brother International Corporation, Japan

Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)

Secure Reset

Near Field Communication (NFC) Card Reader

**Accessories require additional purchase

www.brother.com.sg


special feature: japanese country report

Japanese companies in digital transformation

ABeam Consulting works on analytics, big data and robotic process automation (RPA) across industries. Brother has set its sights on Industry 4.0, and is looking towards automation and robotics in operations.

W

ith almost forty years of expertise in the field, ABeam Consulting Group will accelerate further as it dives deeper into the digital space and focuses on helping customers in their digital transformation journey. The company has a 150-strong team in Singapore where it has enjoyed thirteen years of operations in various sectors from ERP implementation and roll-outs to business process re-engineering and change management. It recently added big data and advanced analytics into its focused service portfolio. Jasper Ngan, Principal, ABeam Consulting, said that ABeam Consulting sets itself apart from the challenging and competitive landscape in Singapore by priding themselves in their “Real Partner” philosophy. According to Ngan, this means treating every customer not through a customer/vendor lens, but looking at them as partners that can help them achieve a winwin situation. “As “Real Partner”, we treat customer’s business as if it was our own. Having appropriate domain expertise is a must for our team of consultants. We start by engaging our customer with our domain expert(s). Firstly, understand their business objectives and growth strategy. It is critical to look into their pain points and areas for improvement with detail process studies. Subsequently, we derive recommendations that often involve IT strategy,” he said. The company also works on analytics and

ABeam Consulting

26

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Jasper NGAN (Principal) ; Akio SUZUKI (Managing Director) ; See Yew ONG (Principal)

processes can be married together in a big data implementation as well as robotic centralised platform -- a platform that would process automation (RPA) across multiple enable them to make timely decisions and industries. In addition, the team takes on formulate business strategies. Once a solid projects outside of Singapore especially in ERP backend is in place, it only then makes the Asia region, where they focus on EC&O, sense to take bite-size steps to further FSI, Hi-tech, discreet manufacturing and digitally transform Telco. itself. Ngan said ABeam Philosophy : In one instance, that having REAL PARTNER, REAL PEOPLE, ABeam Consulting an Enterprise Resource Planning REAL SOLUTION, REAL RESULT helped a local Financial Institution (ERP) system organise its customer data in the KYC would be a significant first step towards (Know-Your-Customer) area. Ngan said Data digital transformation. As a company begins that was previously extracted manually to look into the possibility of digitisation, through various internal and external it would be critical for them to firstly sources are now automated through RPA. appreciate how an integrated ERP system These data are then automatically extracted would benefit them, and how all the business from relevant sources and inputted into relevant target system for analysis purpose.” “The’bots’ drastically reduce human error and can work 24x7, thus for this particular process, we achieved cost saving of up to 50% in terms of FTE (full-time-equivalent) for the Financial Institution,” Ngan added. From a mere 10 consultants in 2005 to the growing organisation that it is now, ABeam Consulting has always focused on the latest technology and how it can be applied to their clients’ business processes. Whether this would mean the “hard” items such as systems and solutions or infrastructure and hardware or the “soft” items such as an IT strategy, ABeam Consulting is one of the most trusted allies that firms can have in Singapore.


special feature: japanese country report

W

hat began as a small procurement machines), network and content business office in Malaysia 29 years ago for Japan (karaoke systems), and domino has evolved into a Singaporebusiness (coding and marking equipment) in based regional office focused on key selected markets. business processes from marketing to customer service. Electronics giant Brother Market shift International has successfully grown its The market shift has also seen consumers business outside of Japan, and continues focusing on multi-function and user-friendly to be recognised across the globe for capabilities and SMB clients requiring more its dedication to innovation, technology network security, print-on-demand, and development, and machine reliability, central print management, among others. an expertise To address the acquired over changing demands the company’s of the constantly “Brother has ensured 110 years of that the company remains evolving market, existence. Brother has rolled focused on what the clients out solutions such As the need, whether they may be as connecting Singapore market from the consumer segment clients and devices sees a shift from low-end to or the corporate or small to the Internet mid- and highand mid-size business (SMB) of Things (IoT), end machines, improving device segment.” Brother has features, managing ensured that devices offsite, the company and providing remains focused on what the clients need, consumables alert and order on demand whether they may be from the consumer capabilities. “Availability of consumables segment or the corporate or small and midis a key demand component as customers size business (SMB) segment. The printing expects that they are able to replace their market, except for large format and copiers, used toners/ink cartridges as fast as has been in a steady state of consolidation, possible. Of course, we must not forget and many brands have already opted out. that after sales service is critical to the “The demand has not slowed down but is customers,” says Lee. seeing a marginal growth,” says Nigel Lee, Country Manager at Brother International. A century-long heritage Outside of the printing market, Brother Brother’s century-long heritage as a also continues to grow its personal manufacturer of printers, sewing machines, and home business (sewing machines), and label printers comes from its reputable machinery business (industrial sewing history of developing its own technologies,

Brother has successfully grown its business outside of Japan

Nigel Lee, Country Manager, Brother

promoting the diversification of its business through applying accumulated cored technologies, and consistently cultivating new markets, all whilst focusing on what the customer needs. Brother is also known for operating with the times, and transforming its businesses to meet present demands. Roadmap to Industry 4.0 Going forward, Brother has set its sights on Industry 4.0, and is looking towards automation and robotics to aid the company in its operations. The company, which is in the process of upskilling its staff, has also been ramping up more and stronger collaborations with its business partners in the area of technology, with a goal of having a more seamless integration in its business processes. As a company dedicated to R&D and technology, Brother has committed itself to the conservation of the environment, contributing to local communities and society, and the practice of good corporate governance. In Singapore, the company has begun an effort to reduce and take back e-waste as the government seeks to enact e-waste legislation by 2021. “We at Brother will abide by the law and learn from other countries that have very matured practice on reduce, reuse and recycling,” says Lee. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

27


cover story

What are the top investment opportunities in the Year of the Earth Pig?

Where to park your money in 2019 It was an undeniably terrible year for equities, but experts are not completely writing them off in 2019. Other opportunities also lie in the oil services sector, U.S. regional banks, and attractively priced Japanese companies.

I

nvestment analysts and asset managers began 2018 with a bullish outlook on equities, but most equities have languished during the year, amidst heightened uncertainty and volatility. Experts have not written off equities entirely in 2019, seeing investment pays in China, Europe and the U.S.; but some signaled the need for a broader scan of the market as opportunities ranging from the oil services sector, U.S. regional banks and attractively priced Japanese companies arise. For investors desiring safety, a shift towards defensives and EM bonds could offer some protection amidst signs of weakness amongst tech giants like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google (FAANG), rising interest rates and continued global trade tensions. “Most equity markets have performed poorly in the first 10 months of this year. It wasn’t a great year from most asset classes either. This was due to a host of factors including tighter US monetary policy which contributed to a stronger U.S. dollar and caused a sharp pullback in Asian currencies and asset markets,” said Vasu Menon, vice president and senior investment strategist, wealth management at OCBC Bank. Menon reckoned investors need to ready themselves for a “very bumpy” ride in 2019, which will require investors to steer away from concentrated bets in sectors or regions. “It’s best to still diversify across asset classes and regions 28

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Gary Greenberg

Andrew Jackson

Geir Lode

and also to time-diversify by buying gradually over the course of 2019 instead of trying to time the markets.” “Investments ahead in a more divergent policy environment require more active asset allocation,” said Anthony Chan, chief investment strategist Asia at Union Bancaire Privée. “Good investment ideas must incur means for protection amidst continued market volatility arising from growing policy divergent, geopolitical risk and possible ending of globalisation.” Singapore Business Review rounded up the most promising investment opportunities and listed some life hacks to guide investment decisions based on investor outlooks and conversations with industry experts and observers. The usual caveat applies, here at Singapore Business Review, we don’t have a crystal ball and merely gathered ideas from the experts. If we have a crystal ball, we’d give up publishing and just be professional investors. Nevertheless, here are 10 investment ideas to consider at in 2019. 1. Chinese equities, property The valuation for Chinese equities, in particular, is becoming attractive after the pullback in 2018 due to their low valuation, the government stimulus and resilient corporate fundamentals, said Tuan Huynh, managing director, chief investment officer, and head of discretionary


cover story OUTLOOK

US Treasuries

Source: UOB Global Economics and Market Research

portfolio management for Asia Pacific at Deutsche Bank. Huynh added that China’s high-yield property sector should also draw in investors, on the back of property firms’ solid profitability and attractive valuation amidst the current cautious investor sentiment. There is also possibility that the Chinese government may slightly loosen property market restrictions in 2019, further boosting the sector’s appeal. China, with its deep valuations, would be a tactical opportunity especially if U.S. and China reach a cease fire on trade war and the latter reflation policy in 2019, said Chan. 2. U.S. equities To better protect against spikes in volatility, which could produce higher losses than investors have been accustomed to in recent years, portfolios should remain invested, but with hedges against short-term drawdowns, according to Liz Young, senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon, suggesting that investors overweight U.S. equities relative to international and emerging markets, or EM, in the first half of 2019. Huynh prefers U.S. equities to eurozone equities in 2019, favoring in particular the healthcare sector, as the latter could be hit by slower growth and political events such as Brexit. However, Chan cautioned that U.S. equities should be avoided on expectations that the technology sector de-rating will start to drag overall performance and the U.S. market will likely peak. 3. U.S. dollar The U.S. dollar staged a surprise rebound in 2018 and is poised to strengthen in 2019 despite some vulnerability to a pullback given the crowded positioning, said Jasslyn Yeo, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “Twin deficits’ concern that dragged the U.S. dollar in 2017 had moved to the back seat especially, in the aftermath of U.S. midterm elections; market is now less worried about President Trump’s ability to push out big fiscal stimulus that would significantly widen U.S.’s fiscal shortfall,” said Chan. Huynh also expects the U.S. dollar to strengthen at the start of 2019 on the back of strong U.S. growth momentum and higher Treasury yields. “However, U.S. dollar strength

Bankers, investment managers weigh in on the challenges and opportunities in 2019 Vasu Menon, vice president and senior investment strategist, wealth management at OCBC Bank Overall we think that 2019 will be a year where investors will face several headwinds from tighter monetary policy and less support from fiscal policy as Trump’s fiscal stimulus in 2018 wears off. In addition, trade protectionism could remain an issue, China seems headed for a further slowdown and geopolitical developments in Europe could hurt sentiment. So investors need to brace themselves for a very bumpy ride and volatile markets. 2019 will be challenging year and not a year for investors to take concentrated bets in sectors or regions. So even though we are positive on Asia and EM High Yield bonds, we are not suggesting that investors focus only on these asset classes. It’s best to still diversify across asset classes and regions and also to time-diversify by buying gradually over the course of 2019 instead of trying to time the markets. Anthony Chan, chief investment strategist Asia at Union Bancaire Privée EM was the worst investment

in 2018, and the strong USD will remain a headwind to the sector in 2019, for at least the first half. The recent collapse in oil prices have also caused some rebound in local-currency bond performance, most noticeable of which in Asia is the fall in Indonesia and India local bond yields as well as the IDR appreciation. However, it will require other headwinds - strong USD to reverse course, UST yields and Fed policy rate to truly peak out – to turn to tailwind for re-entry opportunity in EM assets (on deep valuation of course). The global backdrop is one that is shifting from prolonged synchronized global growth and policy to desynchronized growth and policy from 2019 onwards. Eoin Murray, head of investment, Hermes Investment Management 2019, then, is the year for the investment industry to truly pick up the challenge – I firmly believe that social diversity is the last free lunch of diversification – we’ve enjoyed spreading our capital across asset classes, sectors and geographies, and now we must take advantage of diversity, if for no other than good economic reasons. It simply makes commercial (and investment) sense. Our investment focus will change in other ways too and a long-term investment focus will come to the fore.

Singaporean investors will face several headwinds in 2019

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

29


cover story Japan

James Rutherford

Source: UOB Global Economics and Market Research

could be eroded later in 2019 by central bank policy catchup and increasing concerns around the U.S. twin deficits.” 4. EM Asia equities Whilst the tailwinds that buoyed EMs in early 2018 such as improved economic resilience, rising commodity prices and a benign U.S. dollar have given way to headwinds such as trade disputes, spiralling currencies and declining growth rates, “EMs are broader – and better – than the crisis-stricken economies that have dominated newsflow,” said Gary Greenberg, head of emerging markets at Hermes Investment Management. “We believe that many companies will progress despite the changing winds, and that investors can profit from this.” Huynh shares this more sanguine outlook, foreseeing EM Asia equities, which underperformed in 2018, to likely outperform in 2019, supported in part by an expected stabilisation in U.S. dollar strength and the potential easing of the U.S.-China trade row. 5. EM bonds Investors seeking safe haven have found a surprising shelter: EM bonds. “Their perfect storm has already hit, and the combination of low spreads and rates during the last few years means that bonds very clearly take on an attractive convexity profile when some widening occurs,” said Andrew Jackson, head of fixed income at Hermes Investment Management. 6. Japan Japan has risen in appeal, with the market valuations becoming harder to resist. “In Japan we are also finding stocks with strong fundamentals at attractive prices,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at Hermes Investment Management, adding that 2019 will be a strong year for investors focusing on a wider range of fundamental characteristics. Chan, meanwhile, said Japan is his favourite market based on valuations. 7. Europe The European market also looks good based on valuations, according to Chan, and “may present tactical entry opportunities especially if the market over-prices 30

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Eoin Murray

Vasu Menon

Anthony Chan

Tuan Huynh

Liz Young

Jasslyn Yeo

geopolitical risk, such as Brexit, Italian budget or even the break up of the eurozone.” Young said that within international, she is constructive on European equities since she projects them close to hitting a bottom and that they will be supported by positive momentum in 2019. The current pessimism towards European equities stems from Brexit negotiations, Italy’s fiscal laxity that put the country on a collision course with the EU, and the region’s high sensitivity to the global economy. “Whilst much of this is reflected in valuations, investors have become increasingly skittish,” said James Rutherford, head of European equities at Hermes Investment Management. Rutherford cited the weaker euro as potentially lending a useful tailwind for the asset class, and reckoned that “given the uncertainty, we think the opportunities will tend to reside among structural growers that have a high degree of earnings visibility,” As investors focus less on technology in 2019, Chan reckoned European stocks may have the chance to play catch up. 8. Defensives Amongst sectors, defensives should be preferred over cyclical sectors, and investors should keep an eye out for structural growth plays, said Yeo. “For example, IT software and services companies that are benefiting from the widespread adoption of technology, and biopharmaceutical companies that are benefiting from the rising healthcare spending and an innovative drug pipeline.” Yeo also pointed out the investment potential in socalled “wide moat” companies with a better ability to defend their market share amid rising wages, input costs and interest expense because of their strong pricing power and healthy balance sheets. “As we move into the later stages of the business cycle, investors should be considering a more defensive portfolio tilt for 2019.” 9. Industrial commodities Investors could also consider a shift in focus from energy to industrial commodities, where supply lags demand and inventory continues to run low, according to Chan. “Prices may gap up especially if global growth and China’s domestic demand recovery surprise on the upside.” 10. ESG, diversity and inclusion 2019 will also see investors increasingly focus on environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, particularly climate change following warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in October, according to Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes Investment Management. Murray also sees further boosts to the cause of diversity and inclusion in the coming year. “2019, then, is the year for the investment industry to truly pick up the challenge,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed spreading our capital across asset classes, sectors and geographies, and now we must take advantage of diversity, if for no other than good economic reasons. It simply makes commercial (and investment) sense.”


OUR AWARDS SPEAK FOR OURSELVES Top 20 Content Development Company for the 8th time Training Industry

Brandon Hall SILVER Award 2018 for “Best Advance in Software for a Training Company”

HR Vendors of the Year GOLD Winner Award 2017 for “Best E-learning and Mobile Learning Provider”

Brandon Hall GOLD Award 2018 for “Best Learning Program Supporting a Change Transformation Business Strategy”

“Best Corporate Training Organisation Award 2018” Singapore Business Awards

“ WE

Top 20 Training Outsourcing Company for the 4th time Training Industry

Top 20 Leadership Training Company for the 3rd time Training Industry

make good employees GREAT. are your Learning Partner for performance support Beyond Knowledge by telephone

CONTACT US +65 6827 5626

by email

website

learn@cegos.com.sg

www.cegos.com.sg


TRAINING FEATURE

Here’s how proactive bosses are preparing their employees for the future of work The development of tomorrow’s workforce involves embracing both the critical human component as well as the necessary digital tools to help see them through the fourth industrial revolution.

W

hat do great business leaders have in increased from 33 % to 70% whilst plant performance also increased by 9.4% after common? Countless studies reveal Japanese multinational corporation Komatsu that the most effective leaders all have a high degree of emotional intelligence Seisakusho implemented a six-month leadership development process in 2012. (EQ). Through empathic leadership, “Leaders need to show empathy for the managers and supervisors can improve struggles of their employees and have a team engagement and ultimately enhance a noble goal and purpose in the way they lead company’s bottomline. “Employees look to their leaders to lead by others. Decisions need to be made thinking consequentially about example and set the Leaders need to be the impact and effect standard. This means leaders need to be present, self-aware and on others whilst present, self-aware able to navigate their remaining optimistic and able to navigate emotions in challenging and motivated during intense periods of their emotions situations. rapid organisational in challenging situations,” says Amanda Moody, Director of and business change,” Amanda says. The two-day Learning with EQ workshop Professional Development Centre (PDC) at enables participants to facilitate deeper the British Council Singapore. learning conversations with their team and lead with awareness and choice. Each Improving performance through empathy participant will receive a personal SEI In operation for three decades, the Emotional Intelligence Assessment by Six Professional Development Centre provides Seconds®, the global emotional intelligence over 60 courses in a variety of suites, such network. The workshop features accredited as leadership, written communication, trainers who will assess each participant’s interpersonal communication, creativity, current ‘success factors’ and determine how diversity, and personal productivity. Among these can be used to optimise both work and the Centre’s most innovative offerings is the Leading with EQ workshop, a compelling life outcomes. The PDC’s soft skills workshops are short, programme which helps leaders govern with intensive courses for people seeking to greater emotional intelligence. improve their personal performance and Promoting emotional intelligence has communication skills. It trains over 8,000 far-reaching effects in an organisation. people a year from virtually all business For instance, employee engagement

xxxxxx

32

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

sectors, including banking, biotech, ministry, and manufacturing. Promoting resilience and flexibility “HR Managers want solutions around digital training, blended learning options, challenges for their staff at work: conflict resolution, managing challenging conversations (appraisals, conflict, demanding customers and challenging colleagues), training to help people develop for their careers, leadership and ways to influence and inspire people and encourage engagement. EQ is an interesting area to help people navigate stress and pressure at the workplace without ‘losing it’,” Amanda says. The British Council Singapore also emphasises flexibility and resilience. Leaders need to be able to in different ways with different people and view situations from multiple perspectives. “Workshops offer great learning and are an excellent way to network and meet others whilst learning new skills and knowledge for the workplace,” Amanda notes.

Amanda Moody, Director of Professional Development Centre at the British Council Singapore


TRAINING FEATURE Rapid business transformation Businesses undergo at least five major changes every three years, according to the HR Change Readiness Survey 2015 by the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). Of these large-scale business reforms, a staggering 60% of projects prove to be entirely uncharted territory to a team who’s most likely insufficiently equipped to handle the changes and meet rapidly evolving project requirements. As a result of the uncertainty and complexity of the project, only a third of these projects are perceived as a resounding success by the businesses that took them on. The challenge of embarking on new projects requires organisations to constantly equip their employees with the necessary professional, technical and interpersonal expertise to carry out business goals. Such strategic skills are essential for agile working both on an individual and team basis especially since around 54% of the global workforce is expected to require significant re- and upskilling by 2022, according to projections from the World Economic Forum. Trusted global partner With the industry heading towards accelerated digital adoption, most companies are embracing technologies to plug the skills gap. “Businesses today need to help their employees develop professional skills on an ongoing basis. It is estimated that in the future, employees will change jobs every two years, on average. That will mean developing not only new technical but also interpersonal skills which are essential for agile working both individually and in a team, in a context of rapid, ongoing change,” says Belinda Ng, Director at CegosAPAC. CegosAPAC is the regional headquarters of Cegos Group, an award-winning global organisation founded in France in 1926 and with footholds in over 40 countries. As a global leader in management, personal effectiveness, sales, project management, marketing and innovation and finance, Cegos has a track record for nearly a century in advising and supporting companies with their plans to grow their business by advancing the personal and professional development of individuals worldwide. “We are global and a market leader and these speak about how we have best practices in place to be a preferred learning and development partner to our clients. For us to remain innovative and transformative since 1926 is a feat we are proud to share

Belinda Ng, Director, Cegos APAC

with our clients,” Belinda notes. “At Cegos, we address transformation, professionalisation and innovation: three critical challenges facing businesses today,” adds Belinda. By doing away with a one-size-fits-all approach and leveraging on the capabilities of modern-day digital tools, LearningHub@Cegos is able to better engage and meet the needs of the individual through the personalisation and simplification of the learning experience with the end-goal of empowering the user to take charge of his learning journey.

platform, so we can present our Cegos Learning Experience to our clients. And that’s how we partnered with Webanywhere to build LearningHub@Cegos launched in 2018,” Belinda says. “The Brandon Hall jury panel enhanced the fact that we created a unique platform to deliver all types of solutions (open courses/ in company – national / international), supported by qualitative and productive training administration. That’s why we have a high adoption rate with our clients since the launch in early 2018,” she adds.

Personalised learning “LearningHub@Cegos engages the learners from their enrolment to the observation of actual gains in their day to day performance while making training management easier and cost effective,” Belinda explains. “LearningHub@Cegos is pivotal as it allows us to meet the expectations of our clients for efficient and highly engaging Learning Experience through our 4REAL approach. This presents the opportunity for learners to transfer their learning into their workplace for performance support,” she adds. In recognition of LearningHub@Cegos’ unique value proposition and industry merit, Cegos was easily able to grow LearningHub@Cegos’ global userbase to over 100,000. The platform also received a seal of approval when it was honoured globally with the prestigious Brandon Hall Silver award as the best software for a training company in 2018. “The Brandon Hall Award tells our story that we make a conscious effort to remain innovative to adapt to the evolving technological trends. We decided that we need to have our own digital learning

Trailblazing performance support Through its award-winning online skills development platform LearningHub@ Cegos, individuals can conveniently receive professional skills training anytime, anywhere – a critical advantage to stay ahead in today’s fast-paced business environment. LearningHub@Cegos is a one-of-a-kind learning platform that provides users with a seamless and simple multimodal learning experience across a wide range of devices including PC, mobile and tablet. Designed with the learner in mind, LearningHub leverages on technological tools to provide curated on-the-job learning activities, e-coaching sessions and creates a dual pathway for the learner and the manager. “Through LearningHub@Cegos, we help companies reinvent their learning experiences. In order to respond to these challenges at a time when learning methods are changing and there is a plethora of training options on offer, businesses need to adopt an agile approach to innovation and make the right choices when it comes to learning,” says Belinda. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

33


EXCLUSIVE: SPACE WATCH

Shiseido Asia Pacific Innovation Centre

Lobby

Trend Micro’s Town Hall

Trend Micro’s Japanese Room

Reed Smith’s Office

Reed Smith’s Office

Check out these sleek,new central offices

A

t Shiseido’s chic new regional headquarters in Frasers Tower, the brand’s Japanese heritage is proudly on display through the use of natural pieces and artistic accents. The new headquarters spans four floors and occupies a total of 5,476 sqm. It is home to Shiseido Asia Pacific, Shiseido Travel Retail, and Shiseido Singapore. Apart from housing over 250 employees, the Shiseido office hub is also home to the one-of-a-kind Asia Learning Centre, the APAC Innovation Centre, and the Life Quality Beauty Centre. Meanwhile, international law

34

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Apart from housing over 250 employees, the Shiseido office hub is also home to the one-ofa-kind Asia Learning Centre.

firm Reed Smith has also moved to a new office in the Ocean Financial Centre, featuring spaces that offer stunning views of the marina and beyond through wide floor-to-ceiling windows. “In addition, with the ability to host up to 100 guests at one time, we hope to host an increasing number of industry-leading events for clients and new audiences,” Barry Stimpson, Office Managing Partner, Reed Smith. Over at Suntec Tower Four, Trend Micro moved to a new 12,000 sq ft office space overlooking a stunning view of the city skyline, with the

Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands within sight. Home to a team of cybersecurity professionals whose roles span technical, sales, research, operations, marketing, legal, HR, finance, and support, the new office has been officially designated as the headquarters for Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA). The office is designed with three principles in mind: connect, inspire, play. It is designed to be open and encourage free-flowing interaction and collaboration. There are no partitions in the working areas and everyone can sit anywhere they’d like.


marketing FEATURE

Grey Group revolutionises creativity amidst Singapore’s digital transformation The company has been “Famously Effective” since 1917, coming up with breakthrough ideas that are tailor fit to respond to every client’s needs.

W

ith a century-long track record acquired Autumn Worldwide, a leading in the field of communications independent social media and digital and an impressive list of Fortune marketing agency to combine creative, 500 clients, Grey Group has made digital, data and technology which has huge strides in the marketing space further increased their digital footprint of Singapore and Southeast Asia. For in the region. the last few years, the company has Past acquisitions include a digital been investing heavily in digital and boutique agency in Thailand, which tech innovation has produced and promoting internationally ‘borderless renowned award“From visual creativity’, winning work as merchandising to highlighting the best well as a digital pop-up shops to talent and solutions design and creative from across the festive packaging and agency in Korea with region. The company a blue-chip client influencer kits, Grey has been “Famously roster ranging from Group’s initiatives Effective” since automobile brands in this area have 1917, coming up to well-known been recognised for with breakthrough multinationals. ideas that tailor-fit Grey also added a their innovation and its clients. rural marketing and creativity.” Nirvik Singh, activation arm in Chairman and India as a forwardChief Executive Officer, Grey Group looking strategy for growth in that space. Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, who has over 30 years of experience in the From strength to strength marketing and communication industry, In Singapore, Grey Group has enhanced has been instrumental in the company’s its shopper marketing capabilities, which expansion across the region. is one of the many areas of strength for the company. Singh said that they Best-in-class strategies are quick to acclimatise to the insights Grey Group’s clients receive the they have on shopper behaviour. From best-in-class creative and marketing visual merchandising to pop-up shops strategies and they have established to festive packaging and influencer kits, an excellent reputation for delivering Grey Group’s initiatives in this area have viable business and marketing solutions been recognised for their innovation and across the region.The company recently creativity. The company also recently launched CONTACT Grey Adventures, which hosts startups with complementary skills in e-commerce, data, creative and Company Name: Grey APAC (A Division of marketing tech. According to Singh, Grey Group Pte Ltd) this has enabled them to become a part Address: 50 Scotts Road #03-01,Singapore of the disruption while simultaneously 228242 innovating and fast-tracking, gameTelephone number: (65) 6511 7600 changing products and services. Website: http://grey.com/amea And the best part? Grey’s clients can join in on the collaboration and attend workshops and presentations that can keep them informed on new marketing

Nirvik Singh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Grey Group Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa

innovations. “To fulfill the needs of our clients, our services have expanded to include 360° social media and digital capabilities that offer influencer & blogger marketing, online reputation management, content marketing, digital & social media campaigns, marketing big data & insights and Command Center Management Services (CCMS),” Singh added. Along with Grey Group’s achievements, the company’s passion for change also allows it to prioritise giving back to the community through creativity. During Grey’s 100th anniversary, it teamed up with UNICEF for mentorship and marketing initiatives for children. Grey has also implemented local initiatives such as Life-saving Dot and The Health Purse for women’s health and Unforgettable Bag and Lightning Board to create awareness on the protection of the environment. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

35


Legal industry Survey

With 378 legal professionals onboard, Allen & Gledhill is hailed as Singapore’s largest law firm.

Will a tougher training scheme hurt lawyer headcount? Practice trainees should be conferred with limited rights after six months of training and focus on a single law practice for a year.

A

llen and Gledhill is once again ranked as the largest law firm for Singapore Business Review’s legal industry survey 2018 with 378 legal professionals onboard. They were followed by Rajah & Tann Singapore with 366 legal professionals and clinching the third spot is Wong Partnership with 302 legal professionals. Meanwhile, Drew & Napier LLC clinched the fourth spot with 253 legal professionals whilst Dentons and Rodyk also retained its fifth spot with 204 Singapore-based legal professionals. The total number of lawyers in Singapore’s largest law firms inched up 1.46% to 2,923 in 2018 from 2,881 in 2017. Tougher training scheme Despite the rosy figures, a looming threat is in the horizon that can potentially hurt the headcount of lawyers in Singapore. A recommendation was lodged by the Committee for the Professional Training of Lawyers that requires those who are newly admitted to the Bar to complete their training first before practising law in Singapore. 36

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

The said training programme has been stretched from six months to a one-year training contract.

The said training programme has been stretched from six months to a one-year training contract. In order to make the training more stringent, the body also recommended that practice trainees should be conferred with limited rights after six months of training and they should also be required to practice the training contract in just a single law practice, subject to limited expectations. “Indeed, those who are attracted to the practise of law purely for the perceived financial rewards or prestige are unlikely to stay in the course because of the inevitable struggle they will face to find fulfillment in their work amidst the sacrifices they will have to make,” the committee said in its report. According to the ministry, the key recommendations shall take effect from the 2023 session of Part B of the Singapore Bar examinations onwards so as to give leeway for the industry to adjust. For Shashi Nathan, partner at Withers KhattarWong, stringent training measures are necessary to keep the city-state’s legal sector

competitive. “With the enhanced exams and extended training, law firms can ensure that new lawyers hoping to practice are better prepared and equipped to handle how the nature of the practice has evolved over time,” Nathan told Singapore Business Review. This was also echoed by Azman Jaafar, Deputy Managing Partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP. “The market is brutal,” Jaafar said. “Tighter lawyer training, over time, will translate to better candidates for the broader legal market, including the non-law services sector.” Despite the stringent measures, some recommendations also provide leeways for those undertaking the training as the committee recommended to permit up to three months of the practice training contract to be completed at approved in-house legal departments of pre-qualified corporations. They also wanted to encourage the rotation of the practice trainees in contrasting practice areas. An international legal hub The Ministry of Law also initiated the expansion of the Maxwell Chambers to further boost Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution centre. The said expansion will triple Maxwell Chambers through an additional 120,000 sqft of floor space. With this, the ministry expects that the new development poised for completion by 2019 could help lure more international institutions, arbitration chambers and law firms to Singapore. “One of Singapore’s key strengths as an international dispute resolution centre is our legal system which is neutral, stable, has high quality jurisprudence and is trusted by businesses,” Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Law said. “We will build on this and strengthen our eco-system of laws, lawyers, institutions and infrastructure, so that we can better serve the needs of businesses and take our international dispute resolution services to the next level.”


Legal industry Survey

Will new lawyers embrace the Ministry of Law’s tougher training scheme?

Maxwell Chambers is said to be the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex housing both best-in-class hearing facilities and top international dispute resolution institutions. “Amidst greater uncertainty in the global outlook, the stable legal system and the strong emphasis on the rule of law will ensure that Singapore remains an attractive international legal hub,” Nathan commented. Nathan also narrated that Singapore’s position in international commercial dispute resolution and its prominence in international trade and investment spurred their legal firm to grow both their corporate and dispute resolution practices. “We are seeing more work coming through as Singapore continues to strengthen its position as a leading dispute resolution hub in the region, particularly with the development of third-party funding for international dispute resolution, the new omnibus bill to update and strengthen Singapore’s insolvency and debt restructuring laws, and the upcoming amendments to the Employment Act,” the partner explained. “In 2018, we have been successful in attracting and hiring talents to join our growing dispute resolution team.” Meanwhile, Jaafar believes that Singapore has one of the more open and transparent legal systems in Asia.“This makes Singapore an ideal destination not only for dispute resolution but also for the promotion of new non-legal support services for clients in the region,” Jaafar said. Moreover, Jaafar believes that the Insolvency, Restructuring and

Dissolution Act 2018 will have a positive effect on the dispute resolution scene in Singapore (story on page 50).

Joining the move is Clifford Chance which unveiled its first innovation lab called Create+65 to aid in identifying and piloting new legal technology solutions that will bolster the firm’s service offerings.

Keeping up with the tech waves Firms have continually been immersing themselves to amp up their tech solutions in the midst of the rise of legaltech. In fact, the paradigm shift has presented clients to seek legal assistance from a growing pool of options that include non-lawyer professionals. “As technology continues to change the way lawyers work, and with the Internet as a key legal research tool for clients, it is increasingly important for the modern lawyer to develop into business advisors to clients – not only should they be well versed in law, they need to have the soft skills to understand the clients’ needs as well as the business acumen to

provide value added advice/services to clients,” Nathan said. Jaafar also noticed the strong push for technology in the industry. “Clients today are more demanding and discerning. They want to see efficiency and the same level of client engagement. The new “RightLaw” paradigm will require a strong technology platform. We believe that hiring activities will be strong for lawyers who understand technology,” Jaafar noted. Joining the move is Clifford Chance which unveiled its first innovation lab called Create+65 to aid in identifying and piloting new legal technology solutions that will bolster the firm’s service offerings.“In line with Singapore’s aspiration to be at the forefront of technology and innovation in the legal sector, Create+65 builds on our ongoing commitment to contribute to an ecosystem of collaboration and innovation,” Singapore managing partner Kai Niklas Schneider said. The lab eyes to assemble venture capitalists, startups, product owners and developers and academic institutions to share knowledge and develop new legal service tools and solutions for business challenges. Participants of Create+65 will gain insights from Clifford Chance and their clients regarding problem areas where new technology solutions could be used, feedback and mentoring from the firm, data sets to help develop test solutions as well as a network of potential investors and funding vehicles.

The expansion of Maxwell Chambers will be completed in 2019.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

37


Legal industry SURVEY 2018 rankings

Law Firm

2017 rankings

Foreign/Local

2018 Legal Professionals

2017 Legal Professionals

Managing Partner

1

Allen & Gledhill

1

LOCAL

371

386

LEE KIM SHIN

2

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

2

LOCAL

366*

366

LEE ENG BENG

3

Wong Partnership

3

LOCAL

302*

302

NG WAI KING

4

Drew & Napier LLC

4

LOCAL

253

256

DAVINDER SINGH, SC - Exec Chairman CAVINDER BULL, SC - CEO

5

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP

5

FOREIGN

204

200

PHILIP JEYARETNAM, SC

6

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

6

FOREIGN

124

123

ANDY LECK

7

Clifford Chance

11

FOREIGN

120

88

KAI-NIKLAS SCHNEIDER

8

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP

7

LOCAL

115

115

TAN CHONG HUAT

9

Lee & Lee

8

LOCAL

107

107

KWA KIM LI

10

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

10

LOCAL

101

97

SARJIT SINGH GILL, SC

11

Withers KhattarWong

9

LOCAL

98

100

DEBORAH BARKER, SC

12

Eversheds Harry Elias

13

LOCAL

97

77

PHILIP FONG

13

Linklaters

12

FOREIGN

78*

78

CHRISTOPHER BRADLEY

14

Norton Rose (Asia) LLP

16

FOREIGN

70

65

YU-EN ONG

15

TSMP Law Corporation

14

LOCAL

68*

68

THIO SHEN YI, SC STEFANIE YUEN THIO

15

FOREIGN

67**

66

CHRISTOPHER MOORE

16

Allen & Overy

17

Herbert Smith Freehills***

18

FOREIGN

59*

59*

ALASTAIR HENDERSON

19

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP

19

LOCAL

53

45

LORRAINE ANNE TAY SANDRA SEAH

19

Colin Ng & Partners LLP

23

LOCAL

46

38

LISA THENG

20

Latham & Watkins LLP

24

FOREIGN

44

33

SHARON LAU

21.5

Tan Kok Quan Partnership

20

LOCAL

40

45

MARINA CHIN EDDEE NG

21.5

Tan Peng Chin LLC

22

LOCAL

40

40

WONG LIANG KOK LIM JO SEE

23

HFW

24

FOREIGN

38

43

MERT HIFZI

24

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

17

LOCAL

36**

60

NG JOO KHIN

25

Kelvin Chia Partnership‎

25

LOCAL

26

24

KELVIN CHIA

2923

2881

Data as of October 2018 *figures retained from last year **data from website ***NON-DIsclosure policy for STAFF DATA

38

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019


LEGAL INDUSTRY SURVEY

Singapore’s 20 legal luminaries aged 40-and-under in 2018

O

n its fifth year, Singapore Business Review has put together 20 of the most promising legal luminaries aged 40 and under for the year 2018. After careful selection from hundreds of nominees with specialisations ranging from disputes resolution and litigation, mergers and acquisitions, finance, and construction to intellectual property, copyright, media law, family law, and energy, 20 legal luminaries rose to the top as Singapore’s most promising lawyers in their fields. The list includes lawyers specialising in shipping, aviation, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity transactions, and international arbitration. These lawyers are arranged from youngest to the oldest. 1 Kenn Lim, 31, Colin Ng & Partners LLP: Kenn’s practice covers a wide range of corporate and commercial transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, cross-border investments and private equity transactions. He graduated from the Australian National University with an LLB (Hons) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance Major). Kenn was made partner in less than 4 years from the time of being called to the Singapore Bar. He is one of the youngest members to be appointed as partner. 2

Alex Toh, 31, Withers KhattarWong Alex is a Senior Associate in the banking, finance and real estate team at Withers KhattarWong. His main areas of expertise include banking and finance, securities, project finance, company and commercial law, conveyancing and property law, landlord and tenant law. Alex enjoys the legal practice and is passionate in doing his part for those in need. 3

Danna Er, 32, Eldan Law LLP Danna is recognised as one of the leading commercial and construction 40

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

disputes lawyers in Singapore. She was awarded the Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Award 2018 for her outstanding legal expertise and contributions in the practice area of “Dispute Resolution”. She is admitted to practise law in New York and Singapore and specialises in disputes prevention and dispute resolution, with a particular emphasis on international and domestic commercial and construction disputes. 4 Venetia Tan, 32, Colin Ng & Partners LLP Venetia is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution practice group at Colin Ng & Partners LLP (CNP). She has experience handling international arbitration, litigation, and advisory work on international and local commercial disputes, in particular disputes relating to foreign investments and joint ventures, financing, distributorships, and jurisdictional challenges. Venetia graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2009 with an LLB (Hons) and was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2010. 5 Christopher Huang, 33, Colin Ng & Partners LLP Christopher Huang heads the Tax and Advisory Practice at Colin Ng & Partners LLP (CNP). He is one of the youngest partners in the in the firm and also serves as a tax advisor at CNP Tax & Advisory Pte Ltd, an affiliate of CNP that provides tax advice. He graduated from the University of Queensland (Australia) with a dual degree in law (LL.B.) and commerce (B.Com), and is an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

partner to set up the law firm Peter Doraisamy LLC. From an initial headcount of two lawyers and a paralegal, the firm currently has six lawyers (comprising two Directors, one Associate Director and three Associates) and two parelegals. The firm has since received recognition by Asian Legal Business, Benchmark Litigation AsiaPacific and AsiaLaw Profiles. Andrew currently heads the firm’s Private Client Disputes and Advisory Practice Group and leads a team under him. 7

Katie Chung, 35, Norton Rose Fulbright Asia LLP Katie is an Of Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright (Asia) LLP where she specialises in international disputes and arbitration. With more than a decade of experience in international arbitration, Katie has advised and represented both private and stateowned clients in international arbitrations conducted under institutional and ad hoc arbitration rules. These disputes involve a wide range of applicable laws including infrastructure, mining, oil & gas, power generation, and renewable energy. 8 Ivan Cheong, 36, Eversheds Harry Elias LLP Ivan is a Partner at Eversheds Harry Elias LLP with a special interest in Family & Matrimonial Law. He has been recognised by Doyles Guide as a Recommended Lawyer for Leading Singapore Family & Divorce Lawyers in Singapore for 2017 and 2018. Ivan was also elected as full Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers in June 2018 which is exclusive to family lawyers with experience in international disputes relating to maintenance, division of assets and children’s issues. 9

Woo Shu Yan, 36, Drew & Napier Shu Yan is an Equity Director of Drew & Napier LLC’s Dispute Resolution 6 Andrew Lee, 35, Peter Doraisamy LLC practice. Shu Yan practices corporate and commercial litigation and arbitration. Shu In January 2017, Andrew Lee left Duane Yan has handled a diverse range of matters Morris & Selvam LLP with a former


LEGAL INDUSTRY SURVEY including private equity, corporate, banking and finance disputes and regulatory actions. She has a particular interest in trust and shareholder disputes and has represented prominent clients and high net worth individuals in these disputes. 10 Wanqing Loke, 36, Dentons Rodyk Wanqing is a partner in the Projects department of Dentons Rodyk. She is experienced in banking and finance, as well as corporate commercial transactions involving acquisitions and joint ventures. She represents both local and offshore banks and financial institutions, corporate borrowers and investors in local and crossborder debt finance and debt restructuring transactions across various jurisdictions. 11

Henry Yip, 36, Clifford Chance Henry is a counsel for Clifford Chance. He regularly advises clients in the Asia Pacific region and around the world on complex high value cross border energy, infrastructure and oil and gas projects. His international experience, commercial acumen, and hands-on commitment on deal executions have shown his consistency in delivering client expectations. 12 Katherine Chew, 36, DLA Piper Singapore Pte. Ltd. Katherine is a counsel in the Corporate team of DLA Piper’s Singapore office. Katherine has a wealth of experience advising on and coordinating deals across South East Asia and the broader Asia Pacific region. Katherine focuses on advising multinational clients on mergers and acquisitions and on general corporate, employment and real estate transaction and advisory matters. 13

Chui Lijun, 37, Clifford Chance Chui Lijun leads the cybersecurity practice for Clifford Chance Singapore. She aims to

develop and expand the firm’s technology disputes practice in the Lion City. She is also interested in the application of emerging technology in all sectors, including legal innovation whilst specialising in crossborder disputes and contentious regulatory investigations and matters. 14

Terence Liew Teck Meng, 37, HFW Terence specialises in aviation litigation at HFW. He is one of the very few Singaporequalified lawyers with extensive experience in handling the full spectrum of aviation liability work and major aviation accidents and incidents. Terence regularly advises on liability claims and insurance matters across the aviation industry. 15 Sue Ann Gan, 38, Norton Rose Fulbright (Asia) LLP Sue Ann is an Of Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright (Asia) LLP. Sue Ann has been committed to the shipping industry since the start of her career and was recently recognised by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 as a Next Generation Lawyer in the shipping sector in Singapore. Sue Ann’s practice focuses on ship finance, where she acts for financial institutions, private equity houses, lessees, and owners on a wide range of ship finance and leasing transactions. 16

Andrew Shannon 38, HFW Andrew is an Associate and Master Mariner at HFW. Andrew’s background sets him apart from other shipping practitioners because of his unique practical experience not only from being at sea but also from his auditing background and his legal capabilities as solicitor. Prior to practicing law, Andrew had an established career in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary of the UK Royal Navy and as an officer in the merchant navy.

17

Aaron Kok, 38, HFW Aaron brings to the table more than a decade of experience working on all forms of cross-border M&A, joint ventures, private equity transactions, and complex restructurings. Aaron is active in all fields of commercial and corporate law. His interest spans multiple sectors and regions, with a keen focus on Southeast Asia deals. 18 Kunal Kapoor, 38, Dentons Rodyk Kunal is a partner at Dentons Rodyk’s international Energy & Infrastructure groups. His Energy expertise covers project development and finance (and related private mergers and acquisitions) in the energy sector, with a focus on energy, oil & gas (LNG) and renewables projects including O&G and commodities trading. 19

David Chee Chern Ern, 40, Drew & Napier David is a private client specialist at Drew & Napier. His principal areas of practice are trusts and estate planning. His familiarity with international tax and trust structures, insurance solutions, asset management, and strong network with players within the wealth management industry enables him to provide holistic advice to clients. 20

Corinne Chew, 40, Drew & Napier Corrine is the Deputy Head of the Competition Law & Regulatory Practice at Drew & Napier. Corinne has more than a decade of experience in all areas of competition law practice, including assisting clients in merger notifications to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), leniency applications and CCCS investigations. Corinne has also assisted multi-national and local companies in setting up competition law compliance and audit structures, across several sectors. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

41


ANALYSIS: PROPERTY first ten months of 2018 have already slowed to a take-up rate of at least 38% within one month of launch compared to a year ago 50% for 10M17, observed Tan. “Based on a selected sample of project launches over 2018, we found that project launches in the first six months of 2018 saw an average takeup rate of 75%,” he added.

Developers are unlikely to achieve strong sales during the back-to-back launches for 2019.

Developers take a beating as home sales may crash 20% From around 10,000-11,000 units sold in 2018, 2019 home sales are projected to be around 7,500-8,500 units.

P

roperty developers are faced with a dismal sales outlook for the year ahead as primary transaction volumes are expected to crash 20% YoY to 7,500-8,500 units in 2019 in line with the weakening residential property market, according to DBS Equity Research. The sales momentum in the primary market has already dropped sharply to around 500-800 units per month since July 2018 following the revision of the additional buyer stamp duty (ABSD) and loan-to-value curbs. With primary home transaction volumes hitting roughly 9,300 units YTD11M18, primary home transaction volumes are expected to settle between 10,000-11,000 units for the full-year of 2018, Derek Tan, analyst at DBS said in a research note. On the other hand, secondary sales volume may reach 8,000-10,000 units. Buyers will likely hold off their purchases to get their pick of the litter as there are close to 40,000 units in the pipeline ready for launch. The supply influx comes in spite of the overall slowdown and uncertainty in the market caused by the double whammy of July’s cooling measures 42

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Buyers will likely hold off their purchases to get their pick of the litter as there are close to 40,000 units in the pipeline ready for launch.

and revised rules on shoebox units. Even though buyers may get to benefit from this scenario, the odds are against developers as they are unlikely to achieve strong sales during the back-to-back launches for 2019. Although sell-through rates for new launches have picked up from 2014-2017, take-up levels have dipped in 2018 to suggest that developers are taking a longer time to clear unsold units. The development mimics the property market conditions of 2014-2015 which bore the brunt of the last round of cooling measures introduced from 2010-2013. In fact, project launches during the Transaction value forecasts

Source: URA, DBS

Disappointed developers Developers pinning their hopes on displaced homeowners to boost sluggish bottomlines are set to be disappointed as the number of residents looking for replacement homes is also tipped to taper off in the second half of 2019. In fact, Tan estimates that if homeowners are paid nine months after the close of en-bloc tenders, only an estimated 11% of the total 8,500 displaced households will receive their due in the first half of 2019. “We believe that most of the buying from these displaced households will already be done before that [1H19] and will not be a significant boost to sales volumes in 2019,” he said. “Whilst demand for replacement units may be strong near term, we question the longer-term sustainability of demand from enbloc buyers.” To add to their string of woes, home prices may fall by up to 3% in 2019 according to the property price index, which doesn’t bode well for developer valuations.“In 2019, we expect developer’s valuations to be weighed down by a projected slowdown in sales volumes and declines in property prices as measured by the property price index (PPI),” said Tan.


LEGAL FEATURE

Unrivalled service from one of Singapore’s top law firms

common and civil law jurisdictions under many different arbitration rules. He is currently representing an international construction consortium in several parallel multibillion-dollar arbitrations in one of With unmatched knowledge and proven legal prowess, these experts the world’s largest infra-structure projects and is acting for a contractor in a dispute are committed to providing top-notch service and peerless advice. regarding a major infrastructure project in Kazakhstan. Boog notes what sets the firm apart is chellenberg Wittmer is foremost Raneda, for instance, is qualified its in-depth experience in international amongst its peers when it comes in Switzerland, admitted as a foreign arbitration matters, particularly in crossto assisting clients in cross-border lawyer in Singapore and has worked in investments and international arbitration. Geneva, Zurich and London before moving border and multicultural settings. “Our clients appreciate the combination of an With years of Swiss expertise and a team to Singapore. She has acted in cases international team with written and oral of lawyers from various jurisdictions, under the rules of the ICC, SIAC, Swiss advocacy skills from a large international clients benefit from tailored advice to Chambers and VIAC, amongst others. firm in London or New York, but with a their needs. She represented Algerian state-owned down-to-earth, maybe slightly more civil “What sets us apart from other global energy company Sonatrach before law-focused approach to handling, staffing firms with bigger arbitration practices the Swiss Federal Tribunal in relation and conducting arbitrations. Simply put, is that we have both common law and to an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration we offer Swiss quality legal services on an civil law lawyers,” explains Julie Raneda, against a subsidiary of a Paris-based oil international scale,” Partner at Schellenberg Wittmer. “We company. In 2017, have a team of lawyers coming from Raneda was part “The firm has over 150 he said. “We are the only different jurisdictions but with a of a team that lawyers in Switzerland Swiss law firm with an distinct approach towards international represented Russia and offers office in Singapore, arbitration given our Swiss/civil-law before the Swiss first-tier representation and the only major background. We offer more tailored Federal Tribunal in international Swiss firm in Asia.” advice and a more reasonable approach to in proceedings Schellenberg cases and the way we handle international relating to a arbitrations.” Wittmer offers a arbitration,” she adds US$13b Genevawide range services both for outbound Schellenberg Wittmer is amongst the seated Energy Charter Treaty arbitration and inbound clients. Its clients are top law firms in Switzerland. Its Singapore over the collapse of the Yukos oil market leaders in a wide range of sectors office provides services from focused company, one of the “second wave” of including financial services, mergers & advice to project management. The firm cases that arose from the saga. acquisitions, life sciences, technology, has over 150 lawyers in Switzerland Christopher Boog, Managing Partner telecommunication, commodities, and offers first-tier representation in of Schellenberg Wittmer Singapore and construction, manufacturing and energy. international arbitrations seated around vice-chair of Schellenberg Wittmer’s “We offer both inbound and outbound the globe. Schellenberg Wittmer is ranked international arbitration practice group, services. We advise Asian clients on Swiss first-tier in Chambers, Legal 500, and moved to Singapore in 2014 to set up law. We assist them in doing business Who’s Who Legal, and is regularly featured the firm’s arbitration practice. He has in Switzerland and in all other matters, in the GAR30 as one of the thirty leading been counsel and arbitrator in over including international arbitration. We get arbitration practices worldwide. 100 complex arbitrations seated in requests for very different issues such as banking and real estate,” Raneda explains. “We also advise Swiss clients seeking to do business in Singapore and in Asia. We help them with their investments and projects, and we coordinate between them and local lawyers.” For outbound investments into Switzerland, the firm advises Asian clients on investments and all legal, tax and regulatory aspects of doing business in Switzerland, focusing on key areas including financial services, real estate, information technology, construction and major projects, life sciences, infrastructure and luxury brands. For more information visit: Christopher Boog, managing partner and vice-chair of https://www.swlegal.ch/en/singapore/ Julie Raneda, partner at Schellenberg Wittmer Schellenberg Wittmer’s international arbitration group or call (65) 6580 2240.

S

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

43


INSURANCE INDUSTRY SURVEY

SBR’s list of largest insurers in Singapore is led by The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited with $49b in assets.

Check out Singapore’s largest insurers in 2018 Total assets of the 50 largest insurance providers in the city hit S$232b, up by 13.73% from the previous year’s $204b.

S

ingapore Business Review’s annual survey of the insurance sector revealed that total assets of the 50 largest insurance providers in the city hit $232b, up by 13.73% from the previous year’s $204b. The country’s five largest insurers are led by The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited with $49b in assets, up from $32b in the previous year. Great Eastern replaced AIA Singapore Private Limited, which fell to second place with $44b in total assets. Meanwhile, Prudential Assurance Co. Singapore, fell down a notch to third place with $37b in total assets. NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited retains its rank at fourth, with $34b in total assets, a $3b increase from last year. Manulife Singapore also maintained its rank at fifth, with a total of $9b in assets. IPs are in The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) reported that Singapore’s life insurance industry accumulated $3.17b in weighted new business premiums from January to September 2018, 44

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Positive trends in the industry mean a better outlook for the S$893b protection gap that needs to be bridged in Singapore.

a 15% increase from the same period last year. Of the new business premiums, 92% or $292.2m were traced to IP and IP rider premiums, while the remaining 8% or $26.5m was from other medical plans and riders. Compared to 2017, there are now 70,000 more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents covered by IPs, resulting in a total of 2.7 million individuals covered by IPs in Singapore. According to LIA, this is approximately 68% of all Singapore residents, a number far exceeding the MediShield Life component. Positive trends in the industry mean a better outlook for the $893b protection gap that needs to be bridged in Singapore, as reported by the Association Protection Gap Study in 2017. The protected gap was measured from a 40% mortality and critical illness divide among Singapore’s economically active individuals. “Even though we are experiencing some headwinds due to the trade wars, it is reassuring that more Singaporeans are taking active measures to have their protection

needs met. As an industry, we aim to develop more targeted public programmes so that we can continue to narrow the underinsurance gap and help Singaporeans adequately protect their quality of life for themselves and that of their loved ones. There is much more we can do for the betterment of society,” said Patrick Teow, president, LIA Singapore. Whilst enjoying the benefits brought about by improved life insurance packages, Singaporean residents can also rest in the fact that car insurance in the country is cheaper than those of its counterparts across the world. Whilst many bemoan the costs of owning a car in Singapore, insurance in the city is actually far cheaper at $862 compared to New York’s $4,097, London’s $2,321 and New South Wales’s $1,257. South Korea has lower car insurance than Singapore at $465. Meanwhile, the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) also reported flat growth for 1H2018, with a marginal increase in total gross premiums that amounted to $2.07b. Meanwhile, underwriting profits declined in the same period by 94.5% to $3.14m, on the back of increased claims costs across key segments such as motor insurance and work injury compensation (WIC) insurance. “There is a need for greater collaboration between our sector and other stakeholders, focusing on areas such as improving efficiencies through digitalisation, as we continue to ensure effectiveness and accessibility of insurance products. This is in keeping with the Industry Transformation Programme, ensuring sustained growth and competitiveness of the economy by working closely with the government and private sectors to address issues within each sector; as well as realising our vision of becoming a global insurance marketplace,” said Karl Hamann, president, GIA. Despite the trends for motor and WIC insurance in the first half of the year, Singapore’s health insurance segment’s gross


INSURANCE INDUSTRY SURVEY Singapore’s health insurance segment’s gross premiums increased by 11% to a total of S$322.9m amidst persistent healthcare inflation in the country. Singapore’s life insurance industry accumulated $3.17b in new business premiums

premiums increased by 11% to a total of $322.9m amidst persistent healthcare inflation in the country. Underwriting losses for healthcare insurance improved by 9.3% to $12.7m. Other segments seem to be experiencing the same ups and downs that the entire industry is facing. Boost in workforce In addition, the growing population of insurance and digital savvy consumers are also resulting in the growth of financial advisors channels, as bancassurance and traditional agents remain dominant in the distribution of life insurance policies. The sector’s workforce expanded with a net increase of 330 employees and 206 tied representatives in 3Q2018, a 4% and 2% respective increase from the previous quarter. Greater demand for technologydriven insurance services have also opened up new positions in data analytics, cybersecurity, and business operations, among others. Over a period of just twelve months, member companies employed an additional 954 employees to add to a total of 8,001 individuals at the end of the third quarter of 2018.

offering innovative insurance products in a range of categories with fractionalised premiums to users directly through Grab’s mobile app. Set for launching in Singapore by H1 2019 before being rolled out to other markets, the platform will allow eligible driver-partners to access the insurance under ‘GrabBenefits’ in the drivers’ app. “The tie-up will address the usual pain points of insurance discovery, unaffordable premiums and payment options by allowing for insurance premium payments to be adjusted and automatically deducted through GrabPay or its affiliate payment partners,” the firms said in a joint statement. Looking forward Despite being one of the last industries to fully embrace digital innovation, the insurance sector

has made great strides to help realise Singapore’s SmartNation ambition. LIA Singapore expects more digital initiatives to be introduced by the industry players and boost productivity, enhance customer services, and ensure security of data and personal information. “The industry will not let up in its complementary efforts to ensure that the quality of life in Singapore improves, responding to rapid demographic shifts in Singapore, rising incidences of chronic illnesses and healthcare costs inflation,” Teow added. Across the region, demand for life insurance will remain stable according to Moody’s, who also reported that asset risk is on the rise due to increasing allocations to higheryielding non-traditional assets and widening currency mismatches. As a result, regulators are implementing changes to enhance both capital and internal risk management while also pushing for better capital standards. Moody’s added that the implementation of IFRS 17 will be a key focus for insurers, in an aim to promote transparency for insurance contracts. “Whilst the changes are expected to be gradual, insurers are stepping up their efforts to improve assetliability management and internal risk management, as well as embed capital analysis in their daily product offerings and asset allocation decisions,” Moody’s reported.

New threats Despite the relatively healthy increase in assets, insurers in Singapore still need to prepare for a new battle as giant tech companies such as Grab enters the scene in its latest partnership with Chinese Internet-based insurer ZhongAn Technologies International Group (ZA International). Together, they will make a digital insurance marketplace SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

45


INSURANCE INDUSTRY SURVEY 2018 rankings

INSURANCE COMPANY

1 2

Classification

2017 Total Assets

2017 rankings

2017 Total Assets

THE GREAT EASTERN LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED

Life

$49b

3

$32b

AIA SINGAPORE PRIVATE LIMITED

General/Life

$44b

1

$39b

3

PRUDENTIAL ASSURANCE CO. SINGAPORE (PTE) LTD

Life

$37b

2

$33b

4

NTUC INCOME INSURANCE CO-OPERATIVE LIMITED

General/Life

$34b

4

$31b

5

MANULIFE (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD.

Life

$9b

5

$7b

6

AVIVA LTD

General/Life

$8b

6

$7b

7

TOKIO MARINE LIFE INSURANCE SINGAPORE LTD

Life

$7b

8

$6b

8

HSBC INSURANCE (SINGAPORE) PTE. LIMITED

Life

$6b

9

$5b

9

TRANSAMERICA LIFE (BERMUDA) LTD.

Life

$4b

10

$4b

12

MUENCHENER RUECKVERSICHERUNGS GESELLSCHAFT

General/Life

$3b

13

$2b

13

SWISS LIFE (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD.

Life

$3b

14

$2b

10

AXA LIFE INSURANCE SINGAPORE PRIVATE LIMITED

Life

$3b

11

$3b

11

ALLIANZ SE, SINGAPORE BRANCH

General/Life

$2b

12

$2b

14

SWISS REINSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED

General/Life

$2b

15

$2b

15

OLD MUTUAL INTERNATIONAL ISLE OF MAN LIMITED SINGAPORE BRANCH

Life

$1b

18

$1b

16

MS FIRST CAPITAL INSURANCE LIMITED (formerly known as FIRST CAPITAL INSURANCE LTD)

General

$1b

17

$1b

17

ASIA CAPITAL REINSURANCE GROUP PTE LTD

General/Life

$1b

16

$2b

18

PARTNER REINSURANCE ASIA PTE. LTD.

General/Life

$1b

20

$1b

19

IAG RE SINGAPORE PTE LTD

General

$1b

19

$1b

20

RED SWITCH PTE LTD (formerly known as AXA Insurance Singapore PTE LTD)

General

$1b

21

$1b

21

EVEREST REINSURANCE COMPANY

General

$1b

22

$900m

22

FRIENDS PROVIDENT INTERNATIONAL LTD (S'PORE BRANCH)

Life

$900m

26

$800m

23

ZURICH INTERNATIONAL LIFE LIMITED (S'PORE BRANCH)

Life

$900m

23

$900m

24

SCOR GLOBAL LIFE SE SINGAPORE BRANCH

Life

$900m

28

$700m

25

AIG ASIA PACIFIC INSURANCE PTE. LTD.

General

$800m

24

$900m

26

INDIA INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE PTE LTD

General

$800m

27

$800m

27

ALLIANZ GLOBAL CORPORATE & SPECIALTY AG, S BRANCH

General

$800m

29

$700m

28

XL BERMUDA LTD (merged with XL Re Ltd last June 2016)

General

$600m

31

$600m

29

ODYSSEY REINSURANCE COMPANY

General

$600m

25

$900m

30

MSIG INSURANCE (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD.

General

$600m

30

$600m

31

ETIQA INSURANCE PTE. LTD.

General/Life

$600m

44

$300m

32

SCOR REINSURANCE ASIA-PACIFIC PTE LTD

General/Life

$500m

33

$500m

33

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY

General

$500m

35

$400m

34

TOKIO MARINE INSURANCE SINGAPORE LTD

General

$500m

34

$500m

35

XL INSURANCE COMPANY PLC, SINGAPORE BRANCH

General

$500m

39

$400m $500m

36

ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE COMPANY, LTD, S'PORE BRANCH

General

$400m

32

37

CHUBB INSURANCE SINGAPORE LIMITED

General

$400m

37

$400m

38

SOMPO INSURANCE SINGAPORE PTE. LTD.

General

$400m

40

$400m

39

LIBERTY INSURANCE PTE LTD

General

$400m

41

$400m

40

QBE INSURANCE (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD.

General

$400m

36

$400m

41

CHINA TAIPING INSURANCE (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD.

General

$300m

43

$300m

42

SWISS RE INTERNATIONAL SE, SINGAPORE BRANCH

General

$300m

42

$400m

43

UNITED OVERSEAS INSURANCE LTD

General

$300m

47

$300m

44

SINGAPORE REINSURANCE CORPORATION LTD

General

$300m

46

$300m

45

ENDURANCE SPECIALTY INSURANCE LTD, SINGAPORE BRANCH

General

$300m

45

$300m

46

THE TOA REINSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED

General

$300m

38

$400m

47

AXA CORPORATE SOLUTIONS ASSURANCE SINGAPORE BRANCH

General

$300m

49

$300m

48

AXIS SPECIALTY LIMITED (SINGAPORE BRANCH)

General

$300m

48

$300m

49

SIRIUS INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE CORPORATION

General

$300m

50

$300m

50

GREAT EASTERN GENERAL INSURANCE LIMITED (formerly known as OVERSEAS ASSURANCE CORPORATION LIMITED)

General/Life

$200m

7

$7b

TOTAL: $232b *Data compiled from the monetary authority of singapore (mas) website

46

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

TOTAL: $204b


Co-published corporate profile

Fighting counterfeits in retail through blockchain with LINFINITY

The company’s goal is to create a new supply chain system based on AI, IoT, and blockchain. affects local economies with million in losses through jobs and other productive activities. “The social losses caused by counterfeiting and selling are not only figures, but also continuously expanding negative effects on their brands and customers,” said Anndy Lian, chief executive officer of LINFINITY. “Counterfeiting is a major problem in global supply chains, causing not only corporate revenue and reputation losses, but also potential damage to consumers. Once the enterprise loses trust, it is very difficult to regain trust.” This is especially important for the experience of first-time customers as their impression not only rely on the products they buy but also on the reputation and conduct of the business or enterprise they buy the products from. Having a mechanism to verify, monitor, and authenticate transactions and commodities from one end of the supply chain to another will help solve this issue. Anndy Lian, chief executive officer of Linfinity

W

ith e-commerce and online delivery continuing to gain in popularity with the convenience and efficiency it provides to consumers and businesses alike, the need for closer inspection and commitment to authenticity of products from one end of the supply chain to another is important given the rise in counterfeits that not only threatens to destroy the reputation of genuine businesses but also ruins the retail experience of consumers— something that LINFINITY hopes to address with its tools and services using blockchain, Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Internet of Things(IoT). The rise in counterfeits is staggering on a regional and a global scale. According to a survey released by the European Intellectual Property Office, 13 economic sectors in Europe have lost about €60b each year due to fake and shoddy products, which also account for about 7.5% of annual sales. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, meanwhile, revealed that global counterfeiting is worth more than $250b annually, which negatively

Comprehensive ecosystem This is the problem that LINFINITY is trying to address, according to Lian. The CEO noted that the company’s goal is to build a supply chain ecosystem based on the combination of three things: Artificial Intelligence(AI), Internet of things, and blockchain. The core of the ecosystem, he said, is information on-chaining, where commodity information is packaged and uploaded into blocks where enterprises can have a clear control and access over their entire supply chain processes, while being assured that the information on the chain is secure, transparent, and cannot be tampered, heightening the security and authenticity feature of the ecosystem. “In addition, consumers can check the detailed information by scanning the QR code attached to the product to identify the genuineness of the purchased products, and trace various processes, and also enable the merchant to reach the mass consumers and make their products meet

the target,” he said. This will help prevent the occurrence of usual pitfalls of traditional merchants operating under the traditional system of a supply chain, which is vulnerable to security hacks and the emergence of counterfeits. Blockchainisation is not complicated LINFINITY’s ability to offer blockchainbased anti-counterfeiting solutions in the retail and supply chain sectors is what makes the company and the tools it offers more appealing. Lian noted that part of the reason why blockchain is not yet widely applied in the retail and supply chain landscape despite its obvious strengths and offering to improve these sectors is that a lot of people don’t have a proper understanding of it. “Blockchain is not a new concept, but its current practical application is concentrated in the field of digital currency,” he said. “Many enterprises are even less clear about where to start using blockchain technology, unilaterally thinking that moving from the original business model to ‘blockchainisation’ is a rather complicated process.” This is something that is central to LINFINITY’s goals: not just to offer tools and services based on blockchain technology, but to share knowledge and understanding of what blockchain is and what it can offer to their respective businesses. “LINFINITY provides several ways to assist enterprise users in their business applications of blockchain. Blockchainisation is not complicated, enterprises don’t need to upload information of the whole of every business process, but only package and upload necessary information according to their own needs,” the CEO said. Some of the efforts that the company has done is partnering with other brands all over the Asia and Pacific region. These includes launching blockchain anti-counterfeiting projects for Scientific Tradition, a local Lingzhi product producer and Herbriller, a Japanese haircare brand.

“Counterfeiting is a major problem in global supply chains, causing not only corporate revenue and reputation losses but also potential damage to consumers.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

47


INSURANCE FEATURE

MSIG Singapore revolutionises insurance through smart technologies It utilises APIs, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience.

W

hen MSIG Singapore decided to integrate robotics process automation (RPA) into its operations, it saw an unprecedented improvement in its services. For instance, the time it takes to register online travel claims and send an acknowledgement to customers, was slashed by over 70% in all, much to the satisfaction of its stakeholders. “As a top league player in Singapore, MSIG plays an active role in driving the use of digital technologies to deliver better solutions and experience for our customers and partners,” says Michael Gourlay CEO, MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. MSIG is a member of MS&AD Insurance Group, which is amongst the world’s ten largest general insurance groups. It offers a wide range of general insurance solutions across personal and commercial lines. Headquartered in Japan and with businesses across Asia, Europe and Americas, MSIG is the only general insurer with presence in every ASEAN country and is the number one general insurer by Gross

Mr Michael Gourlay CEO, MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

48

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Written Premiums in ASEAN including Hong Kong.

to implement FAST claims payment service in collaboration with a bank partner, enabling customers to receive real-time payment of their travel insurance claims payout directly credited into their bank account. This has shortened the waiting time to receive claims by four days. It has also launched a flight delay insurance by using API to connect with an insurtech startup’s travel assistant mobile app.

Top-notch service MSIG has adopted low-code technologies such as APIs and robotics to help digitise its processes, drive efficiencies and enhance customer satisfaction. “Customers expect good service and it is our commitment to deliver on them. By integrating technology to the customer journey, we can deliver One-of-a-kind offerings more efficient experiences for our MSIG offers insurance solutions for both customers,” Gourlay says. MSIG now utilises commercial and personal risk protection three bots - Mae the Chatbot, as well as and they are distributed through its direct virtual assistants Velma and Zac. Mae the Chatbot provides a humanised interface and sales channel, agents, brokers, strategic handles more than 2000 questions on travel partnerships and alliances. “Developing innovative products is one way insurance per month, giving customers through which MSIG continues to deepen instant support on policy coverage and customer engagement,” says Gourlay. claims related questions. Meanwhile, Velma Amongst MSIG’s leading-edge solutions and Zac are RPA bots geared at processing are TravelEasy Pre-Ex, a travel insurance high volume manual tasks accurately and product that has no upper age limit and efficiently. covers overseas hospitalisation expenses “RPA has significantly improved our even for pre-existing ailments. Yet another processing time by 70% for travel claims is UMax, a telematics-based motor registration and about 80% for motor insurance that rewards customers for good fleet policy processing,” Gourlay explains. driving behaviours. “Aside from an For corporate improvement “the time it takes to clients, MSIG is one in the speed of register online travel of the few who can processing, there claims and send an offer specialised plans is also a higher job satisfaction acknowledgement to such as Cyber Liability for staff, freeing customers was slashed and Data Protection insurance to protect up our employees by over 70%“ their increasing business to handle higherexposures in the cyber order work such domain. MSIG’s large regional footprint as assessing complex claims and servicing and group-wide expertise are another draw customers, and processing more complex for corporate clients who require special policies.” risks cover and often, beyond the Singapore On the other hand, customers get their shores. policy documents and claims outcomes With the global-wave of technologymore quickly, and processing accuracy driven competition, Gourlay notes that stands at 100%. “This has a positive digital disruption is expected to have a impact all the way down the value-chain as significant impact on the industry over the customers now do not have to contact us to next 3 years. ask about their claim or policy document, or “We will continue to invest in new to report an error. Customer satisfaction technologies and collaborate with key and internal efficiencies are improved,” stakeholders in the industry to drive Gourlay adds. innovations that will go towards enhancing MSIG has also used API technology to customer engagement and value, and transform digital payments and distribution increase sustainability for all.” partnerships. It was the first in the industry


Legal briefing

New bill lodged to aid embattled firms The new bill will give cash-strapped companies greater opportunity for rehabilitation and restructuring.

A

n alarming number of high-profile corporate insolvencies has rocked Singapore in 2018. First came a spate of beleaguered offshore and marine players hurt by a prolonged industry downturn; then came homegrown water treatment firm Hyflux, which filed for court-supervised debt restructuring in May 2018. Soon after, the widely popular ride-sharing firm Obike revealed that it has gone bust and is undergoing liquidation. Had these embattled companies been able to hold on for a little longer, they could have benefitted from the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Bill, which has been passed into law in October. The bill, which aims to modernise and reform Singapore’s insolvency and debt restructuring regime, will give cash-strapped companies greater opportunity for rehabilitation and restructuring. “One key change that is being introduced in the Bill is the restriction of ipso facto clauses upon the commencement of restructuring proceedings,” explained Nish Shetty, Partner and head of litigation and dispute resolution for Asia Pacific at Clifford Chance. Under the old laws, many commercial contracts and financing documents contained clauses which state that the commencement of restructuring proceedings is considered as an event of default. This entitles creditors to either terminate the agreement, accelerate the repayment of the loan, and enforce security rights.

The new bill could have helped embattled bike-sharing firm Obike.

The bill also affords extended moratorium protection to a company who applies to undergo either judicial management or a scheme of arrangement process.

successful rescue and/or restructuring of the company. As the requirements for the Singapore Court to found jurisdiction over foreign companies are relatively easy to meet, this makes Singapore an attractive jurisdiction for such foreign companies to conduct their restructuring,” he noted. On the other hand, businesses should also educate themselves of the broad aspects of the changes, as there may be a need to review existing arrangements to see if amendments are necessary. “This is definitely a step in the positive direction. A strong restructuring and corporate rescue regime will minimise the costs of business failure and help preserve enterprise value, as financial or operational distress will not necessarily and inevitably lead to liquidation,” he said.

“The Bill now restricts these counterparties from terminating, amending, or claiming an accelerated payment under any agreement (including a security agreement) with the distressed company, by reason only of the commencement of restructuring proceedings,” Shetty said. Meanwhile, a report by Rajah & Tann noted that this may allow the distressed company to continue with key contracts and provide a measure of relief in restructuring efforts. “In other words, it may no longer be possible to rely on such ipso facto clauses to terminate a contract with an insolvent company. However, certain types of contracts, including the commercial charter of a ship and eligible financial contracts as may be prescribed, are intended to be excluded,” the report stated. Apart from this restriction, the bill also affords extended moratorium protection to a company who applies to undergo either judicial management or a scheme of arrangement process. These changes will then help give debt-riddled companies a new lease on life. “For a company in distress, these changes represent highly effective tools that it can tap on to facilitate a

Singapore as a debt restructuring hub The law is geared towards making Singapore as a location of choice for foreign debtors to restructure; and create new opportunities for insolvency professionals including lawyers and accountants, as well as distressed debt funds and financial institutions. “This news has been eagerly awaited by the market. There have been significant efforts made by the Singapore government to make Singapore a restructuring and insolvency hub for the region. These moves have attracted global attention and have been very positively received. This is yet another step in respect of those efforts. As a legal practitioner, I would say that these steps to adopt the latest in international best practices are to be warmly welcomed,” Shetty noted. The Rajah & Tann report highlighted that the bill marks “a major development” in the updating and enhanceent of Singapore’s restructuring and insolvency framework. “Companies and insolvency practitioners should be aware of the key amendments that are to be expected so as to ensure that they are prepared to enact the necessary changes and to ensure compliance with the regulations,” the report stated.

50

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Nish Shetty


Co-published corporate profile

Lexis Hotel Group banks on innovation, big partnerships to stay ahead of competition The luxury hotel chain continues to be the top choice amongst MICE groups who are visiting Asia. Many options for large or small groups are available, be it the Grand Ballroom that may fit up to 700 guests, the beautiful Sky Ballroom located on the 13th floor of the resort’s main building, that may allow for up to 400 guests, 10 meeting rooms with various capacities ranging from 16 up to over 100, as well as its landscaped lawn or beach front, where custom marquees may be built to accommodate up to 1200 guests. Full food and beverage services are also offered by the hotel, where its chefs may entice guests with a variety of cuisines, including Malaysian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and western. The Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson prides itself in being able to meet any request.

Mandy Chew Siok Cheng, President of Lexis Hotel Group.

I

f you ask the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism segment which hotel group is their most preferred, chances are their answer will be the Lexis Hotel Group. Incorporated in 1995, the Lexis Hotel Group is a proudly Malaysian luxury management group focusing on both leisure and corporate markets for it’s properties, namely, the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson, Lexis Port Dickson, Grand Lexis Port Dickson, & Lexis Suites Penang. All current properties are located at a beach front or ocean front, providing a great option for those looking for a resort to enjoy the tropical climate and Malaysian waters. Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson The Lexis Hotel Group’s signature property, the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson, is able to cater to all sorts of requests or requirements for any MICE group that intends to spend their time at the resort.

World-class amenities The Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson is also the proud holder, of not one, but two Guinness World Records, for the Most Overwater Villas in A Single Resort, and Most Swimming Pools in a Resort. Room sizes are generous too, starting at 71 square metres. In fact, all of the Lexis Hotel Group’s resorts are fully integrated with multiple dining outlets, bars, and facilities such as spas, karaoke bars, jungle gyms for kids, and gymnasiums, and this is so that all guests do not need to leave the property for any meals or to seek fun. Aside from being the market leader in Port Dickson, Lexis Hotel Group’s other hotels have their own unique selling point. Lexis Hibiscus, Lexis Suites, and Grand Lexis all have a private pool in each room. In addition, both Lexis Hibiscus & Lexis Suites have the added luxury of a steam room in each guest room. “We truly believe that our resorts are a perfect getaway for leisure guests, travellers from abroad, as well as corporate and incentive groups alike, as we have ensured that our offerings may meet the needs of any traveller type,” Mandy Chew Siok Cheng, President of Lexis Hotel Group. Because of their world class amenities and outstanding service, the Lexis Hotel Group

“The Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson is also the proud holder, of not one, but two Guinness World Records.”

has been repeatedly recognised with various awards. Last November 10, the Lexis Hotel Group was awarded two continent awards at The World Luxury Hotel Awards for the management group. The Lexis Hibiscus, Grand Lexis, and Lexis Suites also garnered one award each, proving that the Lexis Hotel Group is the favourite luxury hotel group of travellers. Award-winning service In addition, the Lexis Hotel Group was a big winner at the recent Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards, with the Lexis Hibiscus snagging three awards, and Chew being recognised with two entrepreneur awards. “It is indeed a great honour whenever we receive prestigious awards, as it goes to show that all our hard work and effort to maintain excellence & provide tip top hospitality, reaps recognition from our peers and the public,” says Chew. “Of course, winning awards always boost morale within the staff body, so that is always a good thing. It is a great reminder to all staff that we must always maintain our service standards and meet expectations.” The Lexis Hotel Group’s multiple awards create great brand association. This has enabled the luxury chain to cultivate relationships with long term partners. “We always believe in cultivating relationships and helping one another succeed in our respective industries,” explains Chew. “We are also confident that our strength in business relations is head and shoulders above our competitors in our region.” The luxury chain’s management team also ensure that they have a keen eye on new technology to help grow the brand. “Our sales and marketing team is constantly on the grind, making sure our brand presence is always at the top of our clientele’s mind, and ensuring we are constantly reaching out to new markets, especially via digital marketing,” she adds. All these are leveraged by the Lexis Hotel Group to maintain its status as Malaysia’s top luxury hotel chain. “We hope to one day be the most iconic Malaysian hotel brand, and in Asia as well, known for our unique brand offering and warm hospitality,” says Chew. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

51


event coverage: ASIAN EXPORT AWARDS

16 top exporters lauded at the first Asian Export Awards

O

n its inaugural year, the Asian Export Awards hailed products and services that have significantly enhanced company businesses in the regional export scene. The event was supported by the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the International Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong. This year’s winners were judged by an elite panel that includes Vikas Sharma, Corporate Finance Director at Deloitte Southeast Asia; Marc Philip, Senior Partner, South East Asia Operations Consulting Leader & Singapore Management at PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Singapore) Pte Ltd; Kuntha Chelvanathan, Partner Supply Chain and Operations at Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd.; and Chong Cheng Yuan, Partner & Industry Lead, Industrial Manufacturing at RSM. The event coincides with the second year of the SBR Made in Singapore Awards and Designed in Singapore Awards which respectively hails products manufactured and conceptualised in Singapore. Winners were judged by Richard Loi, partner at SEA Consumer & Industrial Products Industry Audit & Assurance leader Deloitte & Touche LLP; Toh Kim Teck, assurance partner at Foo Kon Tan LLP; NEXIA TS Managing Director Henry Tan; and Narissa Chen, partner at Audit & Assurance Mazars LLP.

Coca-Cola Far East Ltd

Fabrinet Co., Ltd.

Singapore Business Review congratulates the following winners: The Asian Export Awards - Large Corporate Fabrinet Co., Ltd. - Electronics Green River Panels Trang (Thailand) Co., Ltd. - Furniture Shimadzu (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd - Healthcare General Beverage - Juice De Rigo Hong Kong Limited - Luxury VANACHAI GROUP PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED - Materials and Construction PT Bukit Asam Tbk - Metals & Mining Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing - Milk Century Pacific Food Incorporated - Processed Food

General Beverage

The Asian Export Awards - Local Champion The Nanyang Marketing Limited - [ Thailand ] - Apparel EKCO FORGING PRODUCTS CO.,LTD. - Automotive TROX Malaysia Sdn Bhd - Commecial Building Construction RJE Global Pty Ltd - Energy & Power BE Campbell Pty Ltd - Fresh Food Coolshield International Pty Ltd - Materials & Construction Biotech Japan Corporation - Processed Food

Indoguna (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Made in Singapore Awards Akribis Systems Pte Ltd - Automation Systems My Greatest Child - Educational Product Indoguna (Singapore) Pte Ltd - Food Biosensors Interventional Technologies Pte Ltd - Medical Clynn by Nature - Personal Care ĂźberGARD Pte Ltd - Security & Safety Designed in Singapore Awards Zimplistic Private Limited - Appliances Coca-Cola 2018 Far East Ltd. - Beverage Denyo United Machinery Pte Ltd - Energy & Power Well & Able Holdings Pte Ltd - Materials & Construction Biosensors Interventional Technologies Pte Ltd - Medical 52

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing


THE

ASIAN

EXPORT AWARDS

2018

TROX Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Akribis Systems Pte Ltd

Denyo United Machinery Pte Ltd

De Rigo Hong Kong Limited

BE Campbell Pty Ltd

Century Pacific Food Incorporated

RJE Global Pty Ltd

Zimplistic Private Limited

PT Bukit Asam Tbk

Kuntha Chelvanathan of Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

53


event coverage: MADE IN/DESIGNED IN SINGAPORE AWARDS

EKCO FORGING PRODUCTS CO.,LTD.

Biotech Japan Corporation

My Greatest Child

uberGARD Pte Ltd

Coolshield International Pty Ltd

Biosensors Interventional Technologies Pte Ltd

WELL & ABLE HOLDINGS PTE LTD 54

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Networking Opportunities

Shimadzu (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd

CLYNN BY NATURE (PTE.) LIMITED


medical

Biosensors International Group: Making waves in Asia’s interventional cardiology market

They to be at the forefront of product innovation, with a focus on improving patient outcomes.”

B

iosensors International Group is a home-grown medical device company that specializes in developing, manufacturing and licensing technologies for use in interventional cardiology procedures and critical care, with a global presence focusing on coronary drug eluting stent design and development. It has built a world class clean room in its headquarters, situated in Singapore, for production to supply to the global market. With the increasing use of its BIOMATRIX family of drug-elating stents (DES), it has grown rapidly to become one of the global leaders in drug-eluting stents, an evolving therapy that is quickly gaining market share from traditional cardiovascular therapies. Mr Simon Li, the Group CEO of Biosensors International commented, “The Company strives to be at the forefront of product innovation, with a focus on improving patient outcomes.” In the year 2000, Biosensors entered the interventional cardiology market and immediately became the first cardiology company to develop and patent their own proprietary drug, Biolimus A9™ (BA9), a highly effective drug designed for cardiovascular stent technologies. It was also the first stent company to develop and launch a biodegradable polymer coating DES with only the exterior side coated with polymer and drug to improve treatment effect. Biosensors consistently innovates in stent technology. Its initial DES system marketed from 2008 onwards was the first to feature a unique exterior-coated stent with a biodegradable polymer, using their proprietary BA9. “Through our high quality medical devices, we impact the lives we touch,” commented Mr Li, who is also fondly addressed by industry players as the “Godfather of China MedTech industry”. “We are committed to continued investment in the development of pioneering medical technology, robust clinical data and engineering new medical devices that will further benefit patients.” Biosensors’ second generation DES BIOMATRIX ALPHA - entered the market in 2013 with a further enhanced system to

56

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Mr Simon Li, the Group CEO of Biosensors International

We are committed to continued investment in the development of pioneering medical technology...” reach clogged arteries. Its third generation DES was launched in January 2016, using the same biodegradable polymer and proprietary drug on a Cobalt Chromium stent. This product features a hybrid stent design, providing enhanced structural strength while maintaining flexibility. Biosensors also launched the award winning EXCROSSAL DES in China, using the same stent design with a different drug coating. The world’s first and only polymer and carrier free BioFreedomDrug Coated Stent (DCS) Biosensors’ latest innovation is the unique BioFreedom DCS. It is the latest development in Biosensors stent technology and differentiates radically from current DES. It is a polymer and carrier-free DCS that combines the advantages in efficacy of a DES with the safety of a bare metal stent (BMS). BMS has been traditionally used to treat blocked arteries. Clinical trials are important to determine the effectiveness of medical technology devices like stents. In an independent clinical trial using BioFreedom and BMS, termed LEADERS FREE II, investigators enrolled 1,203 patients at 66 sites in the United States, Canada, Denmark, France

Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The results demonstrated favourable clinical findings in safety and efficacy over BMS. Dr. Mitchell W. Krucoff from Duke University, USA, the Principle Investigator of the trial, stated “LEADERS FREE II reassures the medical community that the favorable findings for the BioFreedom Biolimus-A9 drug-coated stent in high bleeding risk patients gained from the European LEADERS FREE trial are not only reproducible but also generalizable to the clinical practice for such patients in North America.” Giving back to society Biosensors also believes strongly in giving back to society. It sees academic institutions such as Nanyang Technology University as places where talents reside. It has hence entered into a collaboration with the institute to contribute to nurturing these talents into future leaders. “Biosensors’ mission is in line with NTU’s vision of continuous nurturing and export of local talent, creating a positive workforce environment and future leaders.” “As the CEO of Biosensors, I will provide my full support to this partnership and I look forward to our cooperation bearing much fruit in the coming years”, said Mr Li.


COKE200321459 SBR Mag OL_JM.ai

1

16/11/18

11:31 AM


FOOD

Indoguna: Serving the world’s finest food to Singaporean homes Indoguna is at the forefront of the food and beverage industry with its unwavering commitment to excellence and quality.

G

ood food is one of the chief joys of life, and Indoguna is committed to serving only the choicest meals to consumers across the island. Indoguna has built its reputation as Singapore’s premier purveyor of gourmet food products, offering only the finest meats, seafoods, and boutique wines sourced from the most trusted partners around the globe. “We want to make sure that people eat well. What we want to put in the market is definitely a healthier choice,” says Helene Raudaschl, Managing Director, Indoguna (Singapore) Pte Ltd. “We can stand by it because our team is all about importing good food and producing good products to give the community the opportunity to buy and consume products which are a healthier choice,” she adds. Feasting on the finest Indoguna’s philosophy is simple--only the best is good enough. Sourcing from around the globe for the best the world has to offer is a passion that is at the core of its business. “We’ve been in business now for 25 years and it has always been about quality produce. Aside from having that as our first priority and our business philosophy, it has also been always about innovation, about how to produce things that are different and have a unique selling point,” Raudaschl says. For instance, Indoguna’s Carne Meats premium products are completely made of natural meats with no protein fillers, artificial colours or artificial flavoring added. Treating these meats as handcrafted works of art, Indoguna

CONTACT Company name: Indoguna (Singapore) Pte Ltd Address: 34/36/38 Senoko Drive Singapore 758221 Phone number: +65 6755 0330 Website: www.indoguna.com

58

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

processes its Carne Meats Air-Dried series through salt-curing and prides itself in selecting only the freshest raw materials. To get the mouthwatering, smoky flavor on their products, the company uses wood chips to gently smoke the meat. “We started this brand in 2007 from a very basic idea of producing a very good product out of Singapore. This was unheard of at that time because ultimately our culture is very Asian, and the food that we eat is not what we were thinking of doing,” Raudaschl explains. “But our team was very committed to create this brand and make it stand out among the rest,” she adds. Indoguna’s quality dedication doesn’t stop there. In 2008, the company was certified with ISO9001:2015, giving its business a structured form of guidance on quality management. In 2014, it was certified with ISO 22000:2005, which specifies requirements for a food safety management system where an organization in the food chain needs to demonstrate its ability to control food safety hazards in order to ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption. The certification conforms with both statutory and regulatory requirements, and with mutually agreed food safety requirements of customers. This is communicated, implemented and maintained at all levels of the company. Upholding the standard Indoguna is also committed to environmental sustainability, recognising that reducing the environmental impact of its products and operations is an important part of the value it delivers to its customers. “Our corporate philosophy is always about innovation and being creative. We have very limited natural resources, so it’s not ideal. But what we are doing is that we are filling a demand and a need of the local community,” Raudaschl says. The company’s commitment to offer only the best quality produce to our customers

Helene Raudaschl Managing Director, Indoguna

is regularly evaluated & certified by independent bodies and government agencies, such as the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA). Its year on year “A” grading from AVA is another standard reassurance that you have nothing to worry about when it comes to food safety. In 2018, Indoguna was awarded the AVA Food Safety Excellence Scheme, Certification of Commendation, for achieving “A” grading for eighth consecutive years. “With the booming food and beverage industry encompassing so many food and beverage concepts, we do need something that is different. That’s why I think being local allows us to respond better to market demand than being overseas,” Raudaschl notes. As a recognition of its commitment to quality, Indoguna was hailed as the winner in the Food Category of this year’s Made in Singapore Awards. Now in its second year, the award recognises outstanding products manufactured and conceptualised in the country. “We are very proud and very honored to have received the award, moreso for our team members who have worked very hard for this brand,” Raudaschl says.

“Our team was very committed to create this brand and make it stand out among the rest.”


Designed smarter Built smarter Delivered smarter Commissioned smarter Proud winners of the Asian Exporting Awards – Energy & Power Specialising in Fast Power roll out projects & turnkey EPC projects in T&D in the Asia Pacific region Australia. Mongolia. Myanmar. Singapore. W rjeglobal.com


THE

ASIAN

fresh food

EXPORT AWARDS

2018

B.E. Campbell: 50 years of crafting priceless family moments through premium quality meats Whipping up exquisite home-cooked feasts is a breeze with BE Campbell’s Bruemar Pork.

G

reat memories are built on delicious home-cooked meals, and B.E. Campbell is committed to bringing premium food to Asian families at affordable prices. From its humble roots as a family business founded in 1969, the company is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year and has grown into a recognised exporter delivering a range of quality meat products across Singapore and Hong Kong. “Mealtime is an important time for people to come together. This is why our Bruemar Pork range was developed, to reduce the time required to prepare a delicious meal,” explains Adam Campbell, Business Development Manager at BE Campbell Pty. Ltd. Guaranteed freshness from farm to table Bruemar Pork Range is Asia’s first retail ready value-added pork range. It was developed through careful research, taking into account various industry and consumer insights. The current range consists of four individual products, namely: Pork Loin Steaks with Dijon Mustard and Herbs Seasoning; Pork Mignon with Coriander, Cumin and Lemon Core; Pork Scotch Steaks with Parmesan and Sage Butter; and Pork Cutlet with Native Spices. “Bruemar is a flagship brand at BE Campbell, and it was created in honor of my grandparents, the founders of BE Campbell,” Campbell explains. “The range of value added products allows busy consumers to easily prepare great tasting meals. We want people to stop worrying about how to cook meat and what flavors to add and just focus on enjoying their meals together,” he adds. Bruemar Pork is sourced from handpicked independent family farms across Eastern Australia that are certified by the industry body as being APIQ accredited – showing that the animals and environment are best cared for. The Bruemar pork range is named after the company’s founders, Bruce and Marie Campbell. B.E. Campbell also uses stateof-the art black film Darfresh packaging, which provides a dramatic premium look and ensures maximum shelf life. The company also utilizes moisture infusion to guarantee freshness and juiciness and making it easy for anyone to cook. Through adequate portioning, Bruemar Pork provides a delicious,

60

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

BE Campbell’s Bruemar Pork

to stay on top of emerging consumer trends. For instance, we have developed a range of products that fits into a category called ‘flexitarian’ - that is, products that combine both meat and vegetables into processed product favorites such as burger patties, sausages and kebabs,” Campbell highlights. Continued expansion and innovation BE Campbell brought home the Asian The range has seen great success over Export Award for fresh food under the local multiple countries in the region, resulting on champion category during the inaugural the firm eyeing to seal continued expansion of its market presence and product offerings. Asian Export Awards. The Asian Export “Expanding to Asia is incredibly important to Awards recognised exceptional products and services that have remarkably enhanced us. Export is a focus for the company, as we are on the doorstep of Asia. We are currently a company’s business in the regional export scene. “We are incredibly proud to have won ranged in Singapore and Hong Kong, and it’s this award. We aim to deliver not just on definitely a focus of ours to increase our presence and to share our love of food to the taste and quality, but convenient, affordable, and healthy options as well,” he notes. “It’s rest of Asia,” Campbell explains. important to keep on top of the trends and This year marks BE Campbell’s 50th develop products that mean something to anniversary, and the company plans on people. We’re looking into more cooked and continuing to develop new products and ready-to-eat products, and really increase offerings for the Asian market. our export opportunities into Asia,” he “This year will be a great opportunity for us to not only reflect on where we have come concludes. from, but to look forward and plan for the CONTACT future,” he notes. Company name: BE Campbell Pty Ltd Moving forward, Campbell notes that the Address: 144 Newton Rd, Wetherill Park NSW company is working to develop new products 2164 PO Box 7042 which will increase family time for its Phone number: +(61) 2 9725 2233 customers. “Our R&D team are working hard Website: www.becampbell.com.au convenient and economic dinner solution for time-constrained consumers. “We believe we have created something truly special in the marketplace and that our customers and end consumers agree,” Campbell says.

“We aim to deliver not just on taste and quality, but convenient, affordable, and healthy options as well.”


Key Management System

+65 6749 9578

+65 8818 8920

sales@ubergard.com

www.ubergard.com


THE

ASIAN

Processed Food

EXPORT AWARDS

2018

Biotech Japan introduces low protein rice

Their low-protein rice is used for dietary therapy, particularly for kidney patients and patients who are instructed to restrict protein intake.

B

iotech Japan is a company that ventures in the development of plant origin lactic acid bacteria to produce healthy foods through eco-friendly technology. One of its main products is low protein rice which is essential for the dietary therapy of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Chronic kidney disease is one of the major complications of diabetes. It is when a person’s kidneys lose its ability to filter and remove excess wastes from blood which causes toxic waste buildup. Singapore is no exception If not managed at early stage, it can progress to kidney failure which will require treatment like dialysis or kidney transplant which are very costly. With the world’s continuously changing lifestyle, the number of patients with diabetes and CKD tend to increase in developed countries, where Singapore is no exception. For people with CKD, low protein diet therapy is an effective way to delay the progression of the disease thus delaying the need for dialysis.

Echigo Low Protein Rice

Low protein rice plays an essential part in this diet. It can provide balanced intake of protein and calories while allowing patients to enjoy food with higher biological value. With the goal to share this product and technology to other countries in Southeast Asia, Biotech Japan will now exporting Echigo

to Singapore, provide manufacturing technology and support in the establishment of plants for this product. Biotech Japan Corporation bagged the Asian Export Award for processed food under the local champion divisionfor their low-protein rice that addresses the needs of kidney patients in Asia.

Materials & Construction

Well & Able offers a completed one-stop solution to pre-fabricated buildings globally

S

It attributes its success to continuous focus on innovation of new products and technology.

ince we began in 1983, W&A have been dedicating ourselves to a story of resilience and team work; we also geared ourselves as the ONLY one-stop solution of COMPLETE Prefabricated buildings around the world. The service ranges from Architectural design, Interior decoration, Light-weight Engineered Steel and ALC (Autoclaved Lightweight Concrete) Walling system production, Structure and Mechanical engineering, Logistic handling to all parts of the globe and also Installation/ Instructional implementation and On-time after-sales services etc. W&A Holdings, corporate headquartered in Singapore and managed our W&A Manufacturing, Design and Distribution Centre in Shanghai, has more than 80 employees. In 1995, W&A began to produces our own exclusive W&A Steel Structure system. In last 20 years, W&A Production emphasis has gone through the transformation from not only the production of Engineered Steel Structure system to our Excellent Fire-rated (ALC)

Walling System but by today’s standard a complete integrated Building System. W&A is the National Pride level high-tech enterprise, and it attributes its success to continuous focus on innovation of new products and technology. It set up the R&D and Design Center since the day of its incorporation, and now it has more than exclusive 10 R&D design and technical engineers. Back up with advanced BIM system and leading structural design and R&D capability, W&A has evolved the all types of buildings – Primarily covering Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Medical, Educational, and Industrial and also to various Island Projects around the world. Just this year in 2018, we have also completed an integrated Museum in Maldives and won the Singapore’s TOP award for Best Construction and Materials Company. All of W&A products are in line with ISO9001 standard and have passed the certifications like CE, TUV-SUD, and PSB etc. Our W&A Corporation has set up affiliated

offices in Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and has exported our wide range of W&A Buildings to over 25 countries and regions, we have also successfully completed over 400 projects around the world.

Well & Able Holdings won the Made in Singapore Award for Materials & Construction


Appliances

Zimplistic combines advanced robotics with food technology Meet the brains behind the world’s first flatbread making robot.

W

hen mechanical engineer Pranoti Nagarkar and her husband Rishi Israni first started working on Rotimatic, little did the couple expect that their brainchild would soon find its way into over 50,000 homes across 20 countries. Barely two years after it was launched, the world’s first automated flatbread maker has enabled countless families to enjoy healthy homemade rotis at a fraction of the time required to make a traditional flatbread.

Rotimatic is the flagship product of Zimplistic, a multi-national robotics company with capabilities which range from Product Research & Development to Vendor & Supply-Chain Management to Sales & Marketing. Zimplistic is an e-commerce business operation in every sense. The company maps the complete supply chain footprint from sourcing of parts to assembly to last-mile delivery, while orders flow in seamlessly via the e-commerce portal.

The evolution of flatbread making “On average, an Indian family spends 45 minutes a day making from rotis scratch, a practice which Rotimatic makes redundant,” explains Pranoti Nagarkar, Founder and Co-CEO, Zimplistic. “Our first big niche is the Indian households, within the subcontinent as well as the diaspora around the world. Indians love their rotis, a type of whole-wheat flatbread eaten with almost every meal. Since Rotimatic is a connected device, with time it evolves to make more flatbread recipes, without any change in its hardware,” she adds.

Taking the hassle out of healthy eating “Zimplistic’s mission is to leverage technology to take the hassle out of healthy eating. By marrying food-tech with robotics, we aim to deliver inventions which will cater to a diverse range of cuisines across the world,” she says. “The world is becoming health conscious and aware of “what” they eat and robotics will play a crucial role in the kitchen in time to come. Zimplistic wants to be a significant contributor to revolutionising the kitchen robotics industry,” she notes.

Pranoti Nagarkar, Founder and Co-CEO, Zimplistic

Rotimatic is also enabled with IoT, which is crucial in delivering customer support and supply chain efficiencies. The Zimplistic team can easily carry out remote troubleshooting, saving the hassle of bringing the machine for onsite diagnostics and repair. With its automatic software updates, users can easily add more variety to the flatbreads that the robot produces. Rotimatic is consistently upgraded and updated with different recipes, such as chapatis, puris, pizzas and other flatbread varieties. “We would be soon launching tortillas and gluten-free flatbread variants followed by wraps and more varieties. We are committed towards continued product innovation and hence keep experimenting with our innovation to deliver the maximum value to all users,” she says.

Energy & Power

Powering the world through unfailing generator technology With its durable and reliable design, Denyo’s superior generators is the top choice of the world’s largest companies.

F

or almost seven decades, Denyo has been at the forefront of producing reliable power for its clients in over 150 countries worldwide. Its state-of-the-art generators are powered by superior patented alternator technology and built to perfection through its unique integrated production process. “This guarantees that Denyo generators go on and on without fail, promise more uptime and deployable lifespan than the imitators, and deliver immediate savings on total ownership costs and increased revenue right from the get go,” explains Ler Chun Hsin, Sales Engineering Manager at Denyo United Machinery Pte Ltd.

A world leading brand Denyo is the world’s leading brand for portable diesel-powered generators, with active usage by various industries and business applications across the globe. Singapore-based Denyo United Machinery, is the Regional Centre for Asia Pacific, providing a central platform to

fulfil increasing demands for Denyo generators and related equipment across the region, and at the same time bridging its partners and dealers with new growth opportunities. Located strategically in Singapore, Denyo United Machinery has a strong push on innovative and creative products these years through its intensive R&D efforts that further strengthens its position as a global leader. “Buying Denyo isn’t just buying a machine; you are being welcomed into a bustling world of opportunities that connects you with a global community of Denyo customers, users and solution providers that lets you leverage and take full advantage of, to grow your business further,” Ler says. In-depth expertise in the field Denyo opened its door in Indonesia in 1976, and in Singapore in 1981. Since then it has expanded its interests and footprint in Asia Pacific through a winning combination of in-

Takatosi Ikeda and Ler Chun Hsin Denyo United Machinery Pte Ltd

depth expertise in the field, a superior range of equipment that can rise up to any challenging situation, and a comprehensive parts inventory, fully supported by a highly skilled technical/ service team. As a recognised industry leader, Denyo is the partner of choice of large-scale Singapore events including the 28th SEA Games, the Jewel Changi Airport, and the SG50 Celebrations, amongst others. Overseas, its notable projects includes Hulu Terengganu Hydroelectric project in Malaysia, Mayday Life Tour Concert in Hong Kong, 52nd Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, Okada Casino Manila, and the Druzhba Pipeline in Russia, amongst many others. Visit https://

sg.denyogroup.com/ to find out more about Denyo’s complete product range and never failing one-stop power solution.


M

N

DE I A

A

1

AW

9

SINGAPORE 0 RDS 2

AWARDS

FOR MANUFACTURING NED

A

1

9

SINGAPORE AW

For more details, please contact: Eleonor Angeles +65 3158 1386 ext 209 eleonor@charltonmediamail.com

S

IG

IN

Products that are manufactured in Singapore can be nominated for the Made in Singapore Awards.

DE

EXCELLENCE

0 RDS 2

AWARDS FOR DESIGN EXCELLENCE Products that are conceptualised by a Singapore-based office but are manufactured outside the country, can be nominated for the Designed in Singapore Awards.


event coverage: management excellence awards 2018

18 companies lauded for their exceptional business practices at the SBR Management Excellence Awards & Business Ranking Awards 2018

Retail Vanessa Claudina Jerah, Genesis Retail Pte Ltd

ingapore Business Review successfully recognised outstanding executives and firms at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018 held at the Conrad Centennial Singapore on 22 November that gathered over 160 corporate leaders. Back on its fourth year, the SBR Management Excellence Awards awarded trailblazing individuals and teams whose initiatives have brought tangible business gains for their company’s operations. This year’s winners were judged by an elite panel that includes Henry Tan, Managing Director at Nexia TS; David Chew, Executive Director, Risk Advisory, Deloitte Southeast Asia; Lim Wei Wei, Partner, Practice Leader, Governance and Risk, Baker Tilly TFW; Pardeep Singh Khosa, Director, Dispute Resolution, Drew & Napier; and Yang Eu Jin, Partner and Co-Head of Capital Markets Practice, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP. Meanwhile, the School of Postgraduate Studies of PSB Academy graced the event to claim their award as one of the providers of the largest MBA programmes in Singapore.

Life Insurance Strategy and Transformation, The Great Eastern Life Assurance Co Ltd

S

Singapore Business Review congratulates the following winners: Management Excellence Awards 2018 Executive of the Year Biotechnology Dr. Allen Lai Yu-Hung, ACT Genomics (Singapore) Pte Ltd Food & Beverage Henry Chu Heng Hwee, BreadTalk Group Media & Entertainment Ron Tan, Cityneon Holdings Limited Residential Product Manufacturing Liu Shaw Jiun, Daikin Airconditioning (Singapore) Pte Ltd Technology Shashank Dixit, Deskera Business Services Bertrand Saillet, FCM Travel Solutions Financial Technology Marc Mathenz, Fiserv Inc. 66

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Manufacturing Raymund Chua, Heraeus Asia Pacific Holding Pte Ltd IT Services Stephan Neumeier, Kaspersky Lab Singapore Pte Ltd Pharmaceuticals Raman Singh, Mundipharma Computer Software Damien Wong, Red Hat Asia Pacific Pte Ltd Hospitality & Leisure Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, The Fullerton Hotels & Resorts Innovator of the Year Life Insurance AIA Singapore Team, AIA Singapore Team of the Year

Technology Marketing Team, PALO IT Employee Engagement of the Year Manufacturing Heraeus Asia Pacific Holding Pte Ltd Business Ranking Awards Provider of Largest MBA Programmes School of Postgraduate Studies, PSB Academy


S

BUS I

NE

R A N K I NG A

RD WA

SS

2018

Tim Charlton (SBR) and Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale (The Fullerton Heritage)

Ethan Tan receives the award on behalf of Shashank Dixit

Bertrand Saillet of FCM Marc Mathenz Travel Solutions of Fiserv

Lau Hock Hwa & Amanda Wong of Heraeus Asia Pacific Holding

Raymund Chua of Heraeus Asia Pacific

Henry Chu Heng Hwee of BreadTalk Group

Tan Kang Wee of AIA Singapore

Vanessa Jerah of Genesis Retail

Stephen Neumeier of Kaspersky Lab Singapore

Dr. Allen Lai Yu-Hung of ACT Genomics

Damien Wong of Red Calvin Tan in behalf of PSB Hat Asia Pacific Academy SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

67


event coverage: management excellence awards 2018

Ron Tan of Cityneon Holdings

Tom Judd receives the award on behalf of Raman Singh

​ iu Shaw Jiun L of Deskera

Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale

Marketing Team of Palo IT

STRATEGY AND TRANSFORMATION Team of The Great Eastern Life Assurance Co Ltd

ACT Genomics team

Heraeus Asia Pacific Holding team

Fiserv Inc. team 68

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Genesis Retail team

​ CM Travel Solutions F team


Management Excellence Awards 2018

media & entertainment

Universal’s Jurassic World: The Exhibition

Cityneon: Bringing heroes to life with visionary leadership In less than five years, the company’s market capitalisation has grown more than 15-fold from below S$20m to over S$320m today.

C

ityneon makes success look like child’s play. In just a few years, the company has transformed itself from a project management company to a full-service ideas agency catering to some of the biggest companies across the globe. But the transformation has been anything but easy: behind the triumph is a hardworking team dedicated to creating immersive exhibitions like no other. “We are a very small company competing in international space,” says Ron Tan, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of Cityneon Holdings. “We started with a threeperson team in the office, and today we have 400 employees globally. We owe it to the leadership of the strong management team, and dedicated staffs in the various offices across the globe,” he adds. Humble beginnings Cityneon has been in the design and build business for over six decades. Whilst the company has enjoyed several milestones through the years, it also experienced lacklustre growth for the better part of its earlier existence. “The company was experiencing stagnant growth for main parts of its earlier years but started to experience exponential growth in latter years after the acquisition of Victory Hill Exhibitions (VHE), and the implementation of a new management team in place,” Tan notes. Through VHE, Cityneon initially bagged

short-term contracts with industry leaders such as Disney and Marvel. After proving its mettle in creating immersive exhibitions, Cityneon soon established partnerships with top studios including Disney, Marvel, Hasbro, Universal and Lionsgate. “The journey was an amazing and thrilling one. We have now travelled to 26 different cities in different parts of the world – with multiple partners globally,” Tan says. In less than five years, the company’s market capitalisation has grown more than 15-fold from below S$20m to over S$320 million today. Its net profit jumped 163.6% to S$17.4m. Gross profit increased 83.6% to S$63.8m in FY 2017, and gross profit margin rose to 54.7% from 36.0%. Revenue in FY2017 increased 20.7% to S$116.7m, of which the IPR segment saw a 187.3% increase to S$50.7m in sales compared to the previous year. Exemplary management “This is our 62nd year of existence. Not many companies can survive that long and survive that strong. The question was never about making the wrong decisions, as a leader, we need to make decisions – right or wrong. The challenge is what do we do with

Ron Tan, Executive Chairman & Group Chief Executive Officer of Cityneon Holdings

those decisions thereafter. That is probably the test of a real leader,” Tan says. Cityneon owes its success not only to Tan but also to its full-fledged management team with deep experiences in different industries. “We are probably also one of the most multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-experience team of executives you can witness in a small company like ours,” Tan says. “This calls for a multi-faceted leadership style to cater to different cultures and different needs at different times..” At present, Cityneon’s business encompasses four independent yet integrated divisions – Events and Exhibitions, Thematic Attractions, Interior Architecture and IP Experiences. “We will open our successful Jurassic World: The Exhibition in Seoul, Korea in 2019. This will be the first time that the exhibition will be in Asia. We are excited to bring our immersive experience closer to home. The first half of 2019 will also witness the opening of The Hunger Games: The Exhibition at MGM in Las Vegas. We also continue to focus on the 2020 World Expo projects with the design and build of various countries’ pavilions,” Tan shares.

“We started with a three-person team in the office, and today we have 400 employees globally.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

69


Management Excellence Awards 2018

Financial technology

Fiserv driving digital transformation for financial institutions in Asia Pacific Globally, Fiserv supports more than 12,000 clients in over 80 countries.

A

to foster more open mindsets, and sia Pacific boasts the world’s to accelerate innovation, as financial largest base of mobile internet institutions look to compete and users, social media accounts, and differentiate. online marketplaces, indicating that Fiserv advocates innovation not for the significant numbers of consumers in the sake of innovation, but to tackle realregion have embraced digital lifestyles. world problems. This type of innovation While adoption of digital technologies can take on many forms, not just in new varies widely from country to country, products, but in improved functionalities, the shift to digital is having a tremendous as well as enhanced customer experience. impact on banking in both developed and By bringing together the best of the developing countries. Business models, digital and physical bank, we see “Digical” products and services are steadily being as the new operating model in the shortdisrupted, and so are traditional ways of to medium-term. “Digical” leverages the thinking. benefits of both digital and physical As access to digital financial services – combining digital technology for increases, there is an opportunity to onboarding with the ability for consumers enhance the efficiency of businesses to engage with their financial products and improve the lives of consumers. In and services through a physical presence. developed markets the move is toward In addition to being a leader in digital more sophisticated omnichannel trends, Asia Pacific is driving many new strategies, with a focus on delivering payment trends. The most significant a tailored, intelligent experience and of these is the emergence of non-bank differentiating with digital. In developing financial providers markets, the such as Grab and move is toward Go-Jek, which building out digital As access to digital dominate the digital capabilities and financial services wallet in Southeast providing education increases, there is an Asia. Onboarding of on their potential opportunity to enhance consumers as users benefits. Fiserv, a leading the efficiency of businesses of these wallets is global provider of and improve the lives of bringing money into the financial system financial services consumers. as people build trust technology in these brands and solutions, works begin to transact regularly in a digital with financial institutions in both format. developed and developing markets in Fiserv has clients in 16 countries Asia Pacific, providing technology and across Asia Pacific, including some of expertise in managed services to enable the largest banks in Australia, Thailand, institutions to successfully navigate and Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Indonesia execute their strategies in this age of – including WestPac, ANZ, Bangkok digital transformation. Bank (BBL), Bank of Ceylon (BOC), BDO, Digital transformation is not just about and Panin Bank. The company has over new technology and products – it is about 6,000 associates within the region, a shift in mindset, and a change in how with offices in Singapore and Sydney, financial institutions operate. offering solutions, including core account In countries such as Australia, open processing (core banking), digital banking banking is emerging as a driver of (online and mobile), financial crime risk financial services interconnectivity due management/AML, and cash and logistics. to the fact that financial institutions are Globally, Fiserv supports more than mandated to make consumer information 12,000 clients in over 80 countries. available to trusted third parties. The Fiserv enables clients worldwide to move to open banking has the potential 70

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Marc Mathenz SVP and MD, Fiserv APAC

create and deliver financial services experiences in step with the way people live and work today. Fiserv has been named among the FORTUNE Magazine World’s Most Admired Companies® for five consecutive years, recognized for strength of business model and innovation leadership. Visit fiserv.com for more information.

CONTACT Company name: Fiserv (ASPAC) Pte Ltd Address: 12 Marina Boulevard, #26-04, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, Singapore 018982 Phone number: Mavis Liew, Director of Marketing, Asia Pacific +65 6530 4648 Email: mavis.liew@Fiserv.com Website: https://www.fiserv.com/


Management Excellence Awards 2018

business services

FCM Travel Solutions: Transforming corporate culture through collaborative leadership

By improving employee engagement and investing in technology, FCM Travel Solutions overhauled its business and boosted customer satisfaction.

W

hen Bertrand Saillet first took the helm at FCM Travel Solutions, he encountered a company that was fragmented and faced numerous organisational challenges. “In the past, the Flight Centre Travel Group was fragmented, serving different categories of customers in silos. We didn’t have a comprehensive customer-facing platform that could set FCM apart from its competitors,” he shares. In order to successfully drive change, the leadership team developed a transformative vision and strategy encompassing the business, infrastructure and people. This included a clearly defined business strategy, as well as simplified operational systems and processes known as One-Best-Way. “Fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship has been my key priority. We have invested heavily in transforming FCM’s business processes and infrastructure, as well as workforce training. In a competitive market where customers’ expectations are ever-changing, my priority has been to foster FCM’s unique company culture and make sure

Bernard Salliet, FCM Travel Solutions

that employees are equipped with right skills,” Saillet says. “The transformative changes we went through in the last couple of years, enabled us to deliver more to our customers and expand our regional footprint,” he adds. Delivering personalised experiences Recognising that soft skills development is crucial, FCM provides structured training programmes that helps employees gain expertise in both operational side of travel and sales, as well as service and leadership. “With the right tools, training programmes, as well as strong reward and recognition culture, FCM’s consultants are even more focused and empowered to build stronger client relationships. Since we started the transformation process, employee turnover also dropped by 15%. Thanks to increased efficiency and ability to provide personalised offering, FCM teams were able to respond adequately to the diverse needs of our clients in Asia,” Saillet notes. Addressing the need for a modern, efficient, and cost-effective solution, the company has developed next-generation technology suite, FCM Connect, which provides a single gateway to connect customers to all FCM’s leading digital tools, and SAM (Smart Assistant for Mobile) – FCM’s AI chatbot travel assistant. “With a deeper integration of technology, our consultants are now able to focus on client servicing and delivering better customer experiences, which is at the heart of our business now. As a result of modernisation of our products, at the end of FY2018, we have successfully driven a 25% increase in customer acquisition,” Saillet notes. “We are encouraged to see that our customers appreciate the technology suite – FCM Connect, which helps them with leading digital tools including analytics, approval, secure bookings, expense management and more,” he adds. FCM Travel Solutions’ one-of-a-kind service is borne of its unique organisational culture. “We value equality of opportunity,

unity, and a sense of ownership. Our leadership style is very hands-on. We consistently strive for a respectful and inclusive workplace culture to ensure our employees remain highly motivated and engaged,” Saillet says. Collaborative leadership FCM operates an open-door policy. Every person in the organisation at every level has access to senior leadership and can contact them any time – even the company’s CEO, Graham Turner. “We have a flat organisation structure too. This extends to physical spaces; we forgo corner offices in favour of a more collaborative, innovative workplace. We have rallied our office environment into one of unity and cohesion as we continue to steer into new territories of business maturity where high standards are the norm,” Saillet adds. In Asia, FCM continues to grow its presence, with offices in 18 countries across the region and Singapore as the regional headquarters. Focused on driving business and digital transformation, FCM also reported a 540% revenue increase in this region for the year ended June 2018. FCM also has centres of excellence for various functions in order to cross-leverage core competencies across the region. With great financial growth, innovation and employee satisfaction, the Singapore office is recognised globally for its successful trajectory. The same transformation model has since been successfully replicated across the Hong Kong, Malaysia and China offices. “Thanks to our team that we can continue to push the envelope in business travel management solutions with sustainable growth year after year. We will definitely keep expanding, evolving and investing in innovation, and in our people. We will continue to strive for service excellence, innovation, and transformation of our travel programs through leading technology to deliver exemplary services to our clients in Asia,” he notes.

“The transformative changes we went through enabled us to deliver more to our customers...” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

71


EVENT COVERAGE: HUAWEI CONNECT 2018 does not distinguish domestic or overseas AI talent enablement or development,” he said.

Huawei Connect 2018

Huawei boosts global investment in AI development Huawei Technologies will invest US$140m in its global AI programme.

C

hina has pushed global frontiers in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) development amidst its sustained economic growth and technological advancement. However, its status is likely threatened by global trends that point to a shrinking workforce and increasing competition not only between companies but also countries. Huawei Technologies, currently the biggest name in Chinese tech, is striving to widen its market share and fortify its position in the race for innovation. As part of its bid for an international leadership position in the development and continued commercialisation of AI, Huawei Technologies will invest US$140m in its global AI developer programme. It is aimed at developers, the company’s partners, universities, and research institutions inside and outside China. AI talent investment The programme will consist of 20-hour free training sessions, a three-week beginner AI training camp, AI developer contests, and an “innovation incubation camp” that will allow developers to release the commercial applications of their

72

SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | March 2019

Huawei aims to build joint solutions based on its computing platform, set an AI promotion alliance, provide 1,000 sets of free development environments and expert resources, as well as share market resources.

research, said Huawei vice president and Huawei Cloud BU Zheng Yelai in his keynote speech at Huawei Connect in Shanghai, China. Huawei aims to build joint solutions based on Huawei’s computing platform, set an AI promotion alliance, provide 1,000 sets of free development environments and expert resources, as well as share market resources. It also aims to cooperate with universities to publish textbooks and educational material related to AI, assist in building AI labs and training AI teachers, as well as encourage universities to participate in the Huawei cloud open community. The Huawei executive has not elaborated on how the investment will cover its overseas partners. However, he added that the company is open to reviewing their investment in the programme. The need to invest in talent is still growing as concerns on AI’s effects on privacy at both the personal and national levels, the future of work, security, and economic progress need to be addressed. The investment towards enhancing AI developers is not limited to those in China, Yelai added. “This plan

Hitting targets Huawei’s developer programme comes on the back of its ambitious goal to back 1 million developers in the next three years, Huawei chief strategy marketing officer William Xu revealed. The company forecasts that enterprises could take up 90% of a US$380b AI industry by 2025. As a response to the growing significance of the technology, the demand for data scientists and engineers is expected to increase amidst the company’s push for its AI strategy. To ride on a booming industry, Xu introduced Huawei’s process to get industry AI running: firstly, by coming up with scenarios that dictate what AI should do; secondly, by translating human skills into AI; and thirdly, by creating practical value and generating data for training the machines. Developers are part of Huawei’s ecosystem of partnerships to help them have a solid footing in the AI industry, which includes industry alliances, business alliances, and open source communities. “Managing cooperative relationships with our ecosystem partners is more important than managing Huawei’s own business growth,” the Xu said. “We believe that growing the industry and enlarging the market is far more important than increasing Huawei’s own share of that market,” he added. However, the company has still been aggressive in pushing for its products that target large enterprises and governments. Huawei Connect 2018 is a threeday event held at the SWEECC and Expo Center from 10 to 12 October 2018, filled enthusiastically by 25,000 participants from China and around the world. Huawei launched a line of products for its cloud and AI businesses, targeted towards its key clients, governments and enterprises. It also featured exhibits of real-world applications of Huawei’s AI an d cloud capabilities spanning across industries as well as talks on pressing issues surrounding the technology featuring the company’s leaders and experts. Danielle Isaac


MUN0014_ND_ad_resize_FA.indd 2

11/1/18 9:20 am


Profile for Charlton Media Group

Singapore Business Review (January - March 2019)  

Singapore Business Review (January - March 2019)  

Advertisement