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Why so many SGX firms are delisting 431 listed firms are below book value





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Over half of SGX-listed companies are already trading below their book values, and privatisation seems to be a sweet escape. This issue brings you an in-depth look at why firms are pushing the panic button hard as a wave of delistings hit SGX.

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We also looked into Singapore’s sluggish IPO market and how REIT listings pulled it out of the doldrums. Analysts believe REITs will be a key theme for Singapore’s IPO market in 2016 as a safe, solid choice in uncertain times. The first half of the year already saw a record-breaking REIT IPO, and expectations that more will push through by year-end are getting high. Singapore Business Review’s latest issue bears the most recent awards and events we’ve held: Business Case Studies Awards, International Business Awards, Listed Companies Awards, and National Business Awards. We bring you the country’s most outstanding companies and the endeavours they have undertaken to uphold the business industry’s competitiveness and high standards. Take a look at our photo gallery to re-experience the event. Enjoy!

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financial insight

save the day for 22 REITs the IPO market

EVENT Coverage

STORY 26 COVER Firms push panic button as wave of delistings hit SGX

FIRST 08 Sinking shipbuilders turn to windfarms

09 Hefty bonuses lure banking pros to Singapore’s local banks

10 Savings bonds lose appeal

Published Bi-monthly on the Second week of the Month by Charlton Media Group 101 Cecil St. #17-09 Tong Eng Building 4 Singapore SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 069533

transformation takes 28 Digital center stage at TIBCO NOW 2016


FIRST 12 Food and fashion take opposite

30 How badly will Brexit hurt

routes in Singapore’s diverse retail scene 14 Is tidal power catching up with wind? 16 13 hottest restaurateurs aged 40 and under

Singaporean banks?

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Why analysts are worried at Singapore Ezra sinks into maelstrom as it suffers a Longest trading disruption in SGX banks’ rapid expansion into China net loss of US$239.2m in 3Q history deals shattered its reputation Singapore’s big three banks, DBS, OCBC, and UOB, are diving directly into China and its economic slowdown, where it has expanded most aggressively over the past seven years. According to a report by BMI, the total exposure of the big three to Greater China as a share of their overall loan portfolio has risen to 22.5% in March 2016, from just around 15% at the end of 2009.

The offshore solutions company sinks even deeper into the red as it continues to grapple with the industry downturn, aggravated by a one-off loss. The revenue for the three month period declined by 10% to US$125.7 million and was largely stable for 9MFY2016 at US$389.2 million. Meanwhile, the share of profit from its JV companies more than doubled to US$8.2 million in 3QFY2016.

SBP(210x135)_AkzoNobel.pdf 1 2016-07-25 오후 4:41:16

The latest trading halt by the Singapore Exchange is a huge setback for the bourse’s reputation, especially as it aspires to be a multiasset exchange. According to OCBC, the closure was a technology issue affecting its trade confirmation processes. While the financial impact is likely to be minimal, OCBC added that internal steps must be done to ensure that these won’t recur.

co-published Corporate profile

Here’s how Singaporeans can effectively use technology to get healthier

Digital is a double-edged sword: it fuels a sedentary lifestyle, but is also a powerful tool for healthy living.

health; second, improve your health; and third, enjoy your rewards. Digital health plays a central role with fitness devices linking directly to the AIA Vitality program enabling customers to earn meaningful rewards by being active. “We look forward to helping more Singaporeans live healthier and better lives with AIA Vitality,” Ms Ho says.

Screens are both boon and bane


s your smartphone addiction killing you? Not exactly, says a new survey by AIA Singapore, but Singaporeans’ fixation on digital screens can adversely affect not only their health but their children’s well-being as well. According to AIA’s 2016 Healthy Living Index Survey, Singapore remains one of the most digitally engaged countries across the region, with Singaporeans spending an average of 3.7 hours online per day on nonwork usage, much higher than the regional average of 3 hours. The survey revealed that Singaporeans need to spend less time on their screens and more time on the move in order to become fitter and healthier. Singapore ranked 9th among 15 countries, with a healthy living index score well below the regional average. Singaporeans are also less satisfied with their own health as compared to others in the region. Approximately 7 in 10 (67%) in Singapore find it hard to break the habit of spending a lot of time in front of screens. In fact, more than 6 in 10 (62%) adults admit that they are addicted to social networking and the internet. This is despite knowing that they should spend less time online as the prolonged online time affects their posture (69%), prevents them from getting adequate exercise (69%) and prevents them from getting sufficient sleep (69%). But before you swear off your smartphone altogether, know that there’s hope yet for those who are too attached

to their screens. Using tech for fitness Digital devices are also recognised as a useful tool for healthy living. 64% of Singaporeans find that digital devices such as the internet or mobile phones are useful to help them keep track of their progress and stay motivated to exercise, higher than regional average of 60%. In addition, 74% of Singaporeans rely on the internet for information and advice on healthy food, higher than the regional average of 67%. “As we move towards being a Smart Nation, it is imperative for us to also leverage technology to improve our health as a nation. We see that Singaporeans increasingly recognise the power of digital to help them take charge of their health. They also welcome help to set health goals and monitor their progress,” Ms Ho Lee Yen, Chief Marketing Officer of AIA Singapore notes. Using technology to boost health is a driving force behind AIA Vitality, the first-inmarket science-backed wellness proposition provides participants with the knowledge, tools and motivation to help them take small steps to achieve their personal health goals. AIA Vitality works in three simple steps: First, know your

Like parent, like child And if you think that an unhealthy digital lifestyle only affects adults, think again: The study also discovered that a cause for concern in Singapore is that the unhealthy choices made by parents are influencing their children. “Adults’ unhealthy lifestyle habits are rubbing off on our children. Therefore, it is important for families to make a collective effort to stay healthy together,” says Ms Ho. Parents’ excessive screen time and corresponding impact on their health are also reflected in their children’s lifestyles. Approximately 7 in 10 (67%) parents in Singapore acknowledge that their children do not get enough exercise. Reasons that their children are not exercising include spending too much time online (43%) and spending too much time playing video games (33%), both higher than regional average. Parents who rate their own health more positively tend to be more satisfied with their children’s health. On average, they rate their children’s health 7.7 out of 10, compared to only 6.3 among parents who are less satisfied with their own health. Committed to the health and well-being of Singaporeans and their families, AIA Singapore has been actively introducing health-centric, family-friendly initiatives such as The Music RunTM by AIA and the AIA stadium at KidZania Singapore. “Beyond government initiatives such as the Nurture SG task force and the push towards becoming a car-lite Singapore, we need to create an environment and mindset that is conducive for families in Singapore to lead healthier lifestyles together,” Ms Ho says.

“Singaporeans need to spend less time on their screens and more time on the move in order to become fitter and healthier.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 7





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FIRST Unis lock horns

Singapore is home to the two most outstanding universities in Asia for the first time, the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2016 revealed the National University of Singapore claimed the top position, while its neighbour Nanyang Technological University is in second place with China’s Peking University. The results mark the highest positions for the two institutions in the rankings’ fouryear history. According to Bertil Andersson, president of NTU, higher government funding for research and academia is behind Singapore’s success. “Singapore is one of the countries that, in the past 10 or 15 years has invested maybe the most in academic research globally, if you compare it to the size of the country,” he noted. Hong Kong not far behind Hong Kong has also performed well with six representatives, all in the top 45, while South Korea and Taiwan are the most-represented countries after China and Japan, with 24 institutions each. Gerard Postiglione, chair professor in higher education at the University of Hong Kong, agrees that strong government support and robust international linkages are two reasons why Singapore has dominated the rankings. He adds that collaborations with world-class universities outside Asia have benefited Singapore’s universities. “Singapore also has a very high-quality school system and its immigration policy makes it possible to bring in talented people,” he said.


xxx of the sea turn to wind for help Farers

Sinking shipbuilders turn to windfarms


hen oil prices collapsed, many listed shipbuilders and vessel charterers scrambled to diversify in order to stay afloat as client demand dried up and their traditional income sources vanished. Offshore player Ezion, for instance, has turned to windfarms in a bid to diversify its dwindling earnings base. Ezion has formed a joint venture with a Chinese state-owned enterprise to deploy its service rigs to support the offshore windfarm market. According to analysts, this strategy will allow Ezion to ride out a longer-than-expected slump in oil prices, will provide the company with vessel deployment opportunities, and will open up the possibility of securing rare newbuild contracts. “With the downturn in the oil and gas industry, offshore players are increasingly looking at the offshore windfarm industry for vessel deployment and newbuild opportunities. Looking ahead, it will not be surprising if more offshore players pursue opportunities in this still-growing segment,” notes Low Pei Han, equity analyst at OCBC. Will it pay off? Ezion is not the only shipyard to venture into the offshore windfarm

Looking ahead, it will not be surprising if more offshore players pursue opportunities in this stillgrowing segment.

market. Keppel Corporation has delivered the Seafox 5, a multipurpose self-elevating platform for wind turbine installation and maintenance, while Keppel Verolme has also built a mobile offshore accommodation barge for a German wind farm. Meanwhile, Sembcorp Marine has also designed and built an offshore substation platform for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, amongst other work. However, despite Ezion’s attempts at diversification, Low cautions that the operating environment is expected to remain difficult in view of the depressed state of the group’s core sectors. Analyst Foo Zhi Wei of UOB Kay Hian echoes this sentiment, noting that offshore players will continue to grapple with shrinking earnings as the industry suffers steep capital expenditure cuts. Foo warns that even if large-cap shipyards such as Keppel and SembMarine shift to production assets rather than rigs, they will continue face “significant” earnings headwinds due to a dearth of new orders in the foreseeable future. “The global oil & gas industry faces poor earnings visibility as capex and operating costs are being cut. An austerity drive now permeates the entire industry − among oil companies, service providers and shipyards,” Foo notes. “Offshore wind farms cost twice that of onshore wind farms. Wind farm developers are currently running on government subsidies – which take as much as 6-12 months to arrive – so cash flow will become an issue. Ezion is presumably aware of the risk, judging from its deployment of two vessels in the interim,” Foo remarks on the matter.

Share prices of shipbuilders

Source: Thomson Reuters

FIRST Private banking salaries in Singapore

Source: I Search Worldwide, The Omerta Group

Fatter bonus is always the dealbreaker

Hefty bonuses lure banking pros to Singapore’s local banks


f you think higher pay from foreign banks is going to dampen hiring in Singapore’s local banks, think again. According to Lim Chaileng, director of banking, finance, and accounting at Randstad Singapore, hiring continues to remain relatively fluid in the city-state’s local banks, which saw a 70% spike in job applications. But what attracts banking professionals into local banks when foreign banks reportedly give out fatter paychecks? Lim says it all boils down to bonuses, which are

It all boils down to bonuses, which are considerably higher compared to what is offered by global banks

considerably higher compared to what is offered by global banks. Kyle Blockley, managing partner of recruitment firm KS Consulting, affirms this, but says it was only recently local banks’ bonuses became competitive. “Historically bonuses at foreign banks were far higher,” Blockley says. Foreign banks usually counter these bonuses with more competitive benefits and career exposure, and to combat this, local banks offer internal pay increments which can up to 15%, subject to

promotions and performance, says Randstad’s Lim. End-all be-all? Former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen explains that the bonuses are used as retention tools against huge banks such as UBS and Credit Suisse. Sen, who is now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group in Singapore, adds that US banks like Citi, Goldman Sachs, Merrill lynch, and J.P. Morgan paid bonuses as high as 40%, but the financial crisis compelled them to change to a discretionary pay-out model. Meanwhile, KS Consulting’s Blockley doesn’t think larger bonuses are the end-all-be-all for being competitive in hiring banking professionals. Blockley says job losses at banking behemoths such as Barclays and Standard Chartered have fueled the perception that Singapore’s local banks are in fact, more stable employers.

The Chartist: Singapore’s baffling consumption conundrum Households are sitting on a massive cash pile, but private consumption as a percentage of gross domestic product is still among the lowest in the world. Analysts at Maybank Kim Eng say that a key reason behind this paradox is Singapore’s intense infatuation with residential property as an investment class, with housing-related expenditure eating up almost a third of household budgets across the city-state. Consumption as a percentage of GDP has been stuck at 38% since 2012, a far cry from its peak of 45% in 2002. Apart from the drag brought about by household expenditure, high debt is also a key factor behind sluggish consumption. Analysts note that household debt has been rising steadily since 2011.

Singapore GDP annual growth rate

Source: Singapore

Declining consumption as a % of GDP

Source: SingStat



Savings bonds lose appeal


Quality of (night)life


hen Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) were first launched in 2015, the bonds received great acclaim from analysts. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) received only $22.3 million in applications for the SSB issue in June, a measly sum compared to the $300 million maximum amount on offer. This is also a far cry from the strong investor demand seen for the maiden issue in September last year, for which the central bank received $413.1 million in applications. Maybank Kim Eng analyst Ng Li Hiang notes that the weak appetite for savings bonds is due to sinking bond yields for Singapore Government Securities (SGS), coupled with competitive fixed deposit rates offered by local banks.

SSBs are being swapped for FDs

withdrawal will result in lower rates compared to banks’ promotional rates for FDs. As a result, individuals opt for FDs instead,” she notes. UOB analyst Victor Yong echoes this sentiment. He says that yield Are SSBs “boring?” sensitive investors will likely forgo “Rates for SSBs are determined by the SSBs’ redemption flexibility in the average SGS yields. Yields have favour of higher-paying fixed deposit been coming down for the past five promotional rates. “This is particular issuances, thereby making SSBs unappealing,” Ng notes. She adds that for incidences wherein their investment horizon is shorter than 10 savings bonds may be unappealing years,” he states. to individuals who are only looking SSBs have a maximum tenure of to make short-term deposits. “SSBs are positioned as safe and long-term 10 years and a yield that steps up to saving products for individuals. Early match starting SGS every year. Mobile App Watch

Book a valet driver in just two taps with JOCKY A taxi can’t bring your car home with you, but a valet driver can. JOCKY is a cashless mobile app that connects car users to designated valet drivers seamlessly to help get you and your car home safely. Co-founder Bernard Lim, 31, explains that JOCKY enhances the safety of our roads by connecting car owners with qualified drivers easily and efficiently through their platform. With this platform, users can drink with peace of mind, knowing that they’ll not get into trouble with the law. It also helps users save time—they won’t need to spend time the following day to get their cars back. Lastly, he adds that this platform helps users save money—a cab ride home plus a cab ride the following day to collect their cars usually adds up to be more expensive than a single trip via a qualified driver requested through JOCKY.


When it comes to boasting a bustling night life, Singapore loses out to other Asian cities including Tokyo and Hong Kong. Singapore has clinched the 20th spot in Monocle’s latest Quality of Life listing, down by five places from last year’s rankings. According to Monocle, this year’s listing focused on cities that not only function well by day but remain vibrant and fun after dark. Monocle concludes that “making the night available for urban fun is good for all of our liberties,” while “pulling people into the city at night makes the streets feel safer too.”

SSBs are positioned as safe and long-term saving products for individuals.

The night is young It also stresses how a strong night economy is good for a city’s overall economy but says that too many places are trying to curtail the opening hours of clubs and bars, failing to trust their citizens to know when they should go to bed. “We have focused on the pleasures of being up all hours, noting the places that still serve a good meal after 22.00 and have transport that keeps going throughout the night,” says Tyler Brûlé, Monocle’s editor in chief. The cities were also graded on their public-transport networks and quality of architecture. Another Monocle metric rates the retail scene and awards points for places where independent bookshops and coffee shops thrive. The top spot was taken by Tokyo this year, followed by Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen and Munich. Rounding out the top 10 are Melbourne, Fukuoka, Sydney, Kyoto and Stockholm. Hong Kong is at rank 18. Germany is the most successful nation with four cities in the top 25.

Materials & Construction

Bosch provides the right tools for Southeast Asia’s building frenzy It’s all about the users and how they want their everyday tools to be tailor-fit according to their lifestyle and comfort, Bosch says.


nfrastructure spending is skyrocketing across emerging economies in Asia, especially in the Southeast Asian region. While a huge chunk of the expenses are allocated on power tools for construction, durable and reliable construction equipment doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. Established in 1932, Bosch provides the perfect solution for this period in emerging Asian economies, and it produces quality tools by listening to its customers. “Our focus has always been on our users,” Chan Yit Ming, vice-president of sales in Southeast Asia for Bosch power tools says. “We noticed in emerging Asia markets that contractors, tradesmen, and workers from countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, or Myanmar could only afford cheap tools of poor quality.” Chan adds that many potential customers have been misled into buying counterfeit tools which are actually counterproductive, considering they could purchase Bosch’s efficient and durable tools at a reasonable price. For example, Chan says Bosch started a 2-year project to study what its users want before engineering its products. “This led us to establishing a new manufacturing plant in Chengdu, examine the entire value chain, aggressively stripping costs, and ensuring that our suppliers achieve our expected cost and quality,” Chan explains. He adds that the target price is a whopping 33% reduction. “An entry grinder which retails for EUR 30 would now be possible for EUR 20,” he adds. Cutting costs, improving quality Bosch also conducted a simultaneous launch across the entire ASEAN region under its ‘Contactor’s Choice’ campaign. “Within just 10 months of the launch, we have sold more than 1 million tools under this range in Southeast Asia. The average field warranty rate is less than 0.5%, thus meeting the Bosch quality standard,” Chan says. While quality is of paramount importance for Bosch Professional Tools, this is achieved at an affordable cost to its customers. Bosch offers a diverse portfolio of products and solutions across its mobility, consumer goods, industrial technologies, and energy and building technologies business sectors. “From the tiniest of sensors to water heaters, components that keep vehicles moving, and

Bosch’s innovations extend beyond their comfort zone

machine parts that move machines,” Chan says. Research and Development Striving to drive more innovation, Bosch also possesses the financial freedom to determine its Research & Development (R&D) thrust. “In 2015, Bosch spent EUR 6.4 billion in R&D, or 9% of its global sales revenue. With strong R&D capabilities, Bosch continues to develop future-oriented technologies,” Chan says. Bosch also pursues a local-for-local strategy, whereby local presence is established with the employment of local talents, and local solutions are developed for local markets. Meanwhile, Chan says at Bosch Power Tools, a simple philosophy is employed: zero distance to the user and cut all forms of waste. “The outcome is simply getting a product which fits exactly to the purpose the user wants it for. Cutting waste for us means driving productivity with engagement to digital solutions, using technology to get the same job done faster, better, easier, and cheaper,” Chan explains.

leaves the house and closes the front door, the system automatically switches off the lights and turns down the heat. Bosch’s innovations also extends outside the confines of the house and into the backyard with its Smart Mowing 2.0. “Using the Bosch Smart Gardening app, the Indego Connect can be operated simply and conveniently from anywhere via smartphone or tablet,” Chan adds. Additionally, Bosch has a server-based TrackMyTools solution so workers know where their tools are at all times and can check if they have everything they need for site visits. Awards and accolades With an eye on customers’ needs and a knack for innovation, Bosch has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards over the years, including Singapore Business Review’s International Business Award. “The award is a significant milestone to affirm and celebrate our success as a leading international company. This award is also a recognition to our company’s values on innovation, and quality,” Chan says.

Innovative solutions Looking ahead, Bosch believes internetbased products and services are among the key drivers which will secure the company’s growth and future. For example, Bosch developed a smart-home system which would enable the user to control all connected devices in a home via Bosch’s platform. “Designed for use with a corresponding app for smartphone and tablet, the Bosch smarthome controller is the command centre of the smart home. Lighting, heating, smoke alarms, doors, windows – everything can communicate with everything else,” Chan explains. To illustrate, when the occupant

“In 2015, Bosch spent EUR 6.4 billion in R&D, or 9% of its global sales revenue.”

Chan Yit Ming



Food and fashion take opposite routes in Singapore’s retail scene


f it seems like your favorite restaurant now has branches everywhere you look, but your preferred fashion boutique is closing down its stores, then you are not mistaken. Singapore is currently facing a divergence in retailers’ fortunes, with F&B players keen to expand into the local market while fashion brands do away with brick-andmortar stores. But this disparity isn’t that surprising, according to Donna Lee, chair of the Franchising and Licensing Association of Singapore (FLA), as the divergence can be attributed to the completely different environment and market that each industry is operating in. Retailers and restaurant operators in Singapore are weighed down by extremely high leasing expenses. Maybank Kim Eng reveals that listed consumer companies such as Jumbo, Tung Lok and Soup Restaurant are bedevilled by high rental costs, with rents eating up a fifth of total revenue for Soup Restaurant. For Tung Lok, rents take up 15% of total earnings. Other players spend less than 10% of their revenue on rents, but are still impacted by high wage costs. Damien Koh, owner of cafe Joe &

Dough agrees that the F&B retail climate in Singapore is getting more challenging. “Retail landscape has been changing - malls used to be about 15 to 20% tenanted by F&B operators, but nowadays it is closer to 30 to 40%. The number of retail spaces have also more than tripled over the past 3 to 5 years amidst slowing consumption,” he adds. Online platforms are also introducing a lot of cost structure into the ecosystem, and while they help to provide consumers with more choice and convenience, ultimately they do not increase the overall consumption much. Joe & Dough currently has 11 outlets, and Koh admits that despite the “hypercompetition in Singapore,” F&B outlets don’t expand for the sake of numbers. A highly competitive fashion retail market In contrast, FLA’s Lee explains that fashion is considered a luxury, and fashion retailers are now beginning to feel the heat in a highly competitive market. Throw in the hype of Singapore’s burgeoning online retail scene, and you have fashion retailers finding new and creative ways to sell their products


Criteo’s new office welcomed millennial ideas Newer employees of display advertising frim Criteo Singapore have played a significant role in determining the look and feel of its new office at CapitaGreen. A Criteo Culture Commaittee, which could only be joined by employees below managerial level, was established. Younger employees, especially millennials, were encouraged to join the committee and suggest new ideas to make the office a shared space for everyone to collectively enjoy. Some of the suggestions incorporated include setting up table tennis, football and pool tables, as well as a Zen Room, which allows its employees to enjoy a moment of rest or downtime during or after a particularly rigorous work day. As employees also frequently travel across the region for business, they wanted the office to be a comfortable place they could return to and momentarily unwind. 14 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

Millenials do rule

Restaurant costs

SOURCE: Maybank Kim Eng

to consumers. “Consumers in the local market are fashion-forward, price conscious, and enjoy having unlimited options. As such, the online retail sector holds great appeal for a number of reasons. ,”Lee says. An urge to innovate in F&B However, despite the disparity, Lee says one thing is common in all of Singapore’s retail industries. “Nevertheless, businesses and franchises in both the fashion and F&B industries need to constantly innovate and stay ahead of the trends in order to remain relevant and competitive in the market,” Lee says. In addition, even though there has been a rise in the number of food delivery services being made available, the very nature of this industry renders traditional brick-and-mortar stores highly relevant, as food is a basic necessity.



MOMS in the Workplace Study 2016

Waves of potential are hitting Asia

Is tidal power catching up with wind?


hen Tim Cornelius, CEO of Singapore-based Atlantis Resources, recalled how wind and solar energy were 15 years ago, he realised that it is the exact same spot tidal energy is sitting in right now. When harnessed effectively, the ocean stands to be one of the largest reserves of clean and sustainable energy. Tidal energy in Asia According to Cornelius, there have been significant developments across the Asian region in relation to wave and tidal energy. “The industry is in very strong financial shape. Renewable energy development is booming globally, and tidal power is where wind and solar was 15 years ago,” he says. For instance, the Philippines has huge aspirations for tidal power and aims to install 71 megawatts by 2030 at a cost of $2.5 billion, according to recent figures. Currently, the country has zero megawatts so this aspiration suggests there will be rapid growth in tidal generation over the next decade. A remarkable addition to the list is the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station with 254 MW capacity in South Korea which replaced France’s Rance Tidal Power Station 16 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

as the largest tidal power plant in the world. Teeming pipeline “All of the best sites in the world are yet to be built out. We are about to see billions of dollars of investment pour into the UK tidal energy sector, and we expect this to catalyse investment in large scale projects across China, South Korea, Japan, India, the Philippines and Indonesia,” continues Cornelius. Further, the global wave and tidal energy market was valued at US$497.7 million in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$11,345 million in 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 23.2% from 2016 to 2024. Tidal stream power plants are a relatively new technology with ample scope for development, and wave energy is a relatively new concept in the power market.

Tidal is where wind and solar were 15 years ago.

Tim Cornelius

Global new investment in renewable energy by technology, developed and developing countries

Source: Renewable 2016 Global Status Report


Financial Services

Globaleye remains focused on the needs of global businesses and international investors

Globaleye triples its efforts in consistently investing in technology to bring the latest Fintech trends to the international financial landscape.


hen it comes to its financial planning business, Globaleye does not believe in a one-size fits all approach. Providing meticulously-prepared bespoke financial planning solutions to both its Singaporean and international clients, Globaleye understands that every individual is an independent person with a specific need. Established in 1999, Globaleye consistently invests in technology to bring the latest Fintech trends to the international financial marketplace. Tim Searle, Globaleye’s Chief Executive Officer, details what makes Globaleye stand out amidst the sea of financial planning businesses, saying “We are not owned by a bank, fund manager or life company, enabling us to genuinely deliver unbiased, whole of market solutions that provide great value to our clients in terms of choice, cost and results.” Searle adds that the company’s commitment to financial technology provides its customers with full transparency, permitting them to decide when, where, and how the company can assist them with their financial plans. “This is fundamental to the value we offer our clients, especially when ensuring support is always on hand during tumultuous market conditions,” Searle says. Globaleye’s extensive database Realising that there was no system which suited Globaleye’s requirements in the offshore market, Searle says Globaleye developed its own, unveiling the Globaleye Database (GDB). “Everything we do is centered on treating our clients as individuals. Years ago we realised that effective management of our client’s data would help us to deliver excellent omnichannel service,” Searle explains. The current GDB is superior to its initial version and more extensive, allowing the company to fully audit the entire process of client acquisition while simultaneously enabling all stakeholders to work from a single integrated platform. Searle explains that this guarantees that every single client’s regulatory need is met. “To ensure we are consistently exceeding the latter, we have built in disaster recovery and redundancies with the highest security encryptions, allowing inspection and spot check of records from a touch of a button,”

Searle adds. Today, the GDB generates MI and reports which reflect accurate financial positions and highlights many opportunities that a standard filing system would likely miss. Searle says that the conveniences of the system include reducing the amount of laborious paperwork that has plagued the industry for so long, and finally allowing Globaleye’s wealth managers to focus on building a strong, sustainable relationship with the client. Future partnership with Quilter Cheviot Searle reveals that Globaleye is also soon to roll out its new investment service with Quilter Cheviot to address the issue of ensuring clients’ assets are exposed in line with their risk profile and dynamically rebalanced to limit the risk in its portfolios. “Many firms talk of this but few deliver, and with the support of Quilter Cheviot it is widely accepted this is a first in the market,” Searle says. Having been founded in 1771 and is a founding member of the FTSE, Searle says Quilter Cheviot is far from a newbie in the investment space, and the expertise the firm can bring will complement Globaleye’s outcomes and its clients’ demands. Globaleye’s achievements and plans Globaleye has also had its fair share of awards, achievements, and accolades over the years, the most notable of which is winning the Singapore Business Review award in successive years. Searle says among its trailblazing initiatives include an ongoing support for sustainable projects in Africa. Looking ahead, Searle adds that Globaleye aims to capitalize in Singapore’s exciting period of financial growth, with the city-state striving to keep its throne as the financial hub of Asia. “I predict there will be a continued period of consolidation and we remain open to dialogue with partners, through acquisition or otherwise, who want to share in the success we not only enjoy in Singapore but from our offices across the world,” Searle adds.

Globaleye’s CEO, Tim Searle

Globaleye would like to thank everyone who donated books, solar lamps, stationary and funds to go towards the Globaleye School Building Project. While the team was in town to officially open the school library, they also headed three hours to the Mozambique border to help the Kapise Refugee camp to fix two broken boreholes to access water for the crowded camps. The team also lent a hand with the up keep of the Chikwawa men’s prison and shared 350 loaves of bread amongst the prisoners. This is a fantastic project that continues to grow with the support of Globaleye and the firms’ generous supporters.The team is continually looking for new opportunities to extend its charitable hand both in Singapore and across the world, to help ensure a prosperous future is available to all.

Charity work in Malawi On 25th May 2016, Globaleye’s team visited Malawi to check up on the Globaleye School Building Project. The new school library has been completed and is now ready to officially open to over 400 students.

“There will be a continued period of consolidation and we remain open to dialogue with partners.”

Globaleye supports prosperous futures in Malawi







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Get to know the 13 hottest restaurateurs aged 40 and under


ingapore Business Review compiled a list of new generation of hardworking restaurant owners that are turning up the heat in Singapore’s food industry. The youngest is a 26-year-old with zero background in business. They are arranged in no particular order.

Andrew Walsh, 33, chef-owner of Cure Restaurant Cure is Andrew’s first venture as chefowner. After working in Jason Atherton’s buzzy London restaurants, the Irishborn chef ventured into the Keong Saik neighbourhood in the outskirts of Chinatown to spearhead Atherton’s first Singaporean concept. For three-and-a-half years, he worked alongside Atherton to lead the teams at one of Singapore’s top Spanish-influenced restaurants, Esquina, as well as modern British restaurant The Study. 1

2 & 3 Damien and Dawn Koh, 35, founders of Joe & Dough Damien started his F&B journey when he was just 25, working part-time in a small independent café before being offered a partnership role for a kiosk business selling local coffee and food delights. During the 2009 crisis, Damien sold his shares to start Joe & Dough together with his wife, Dawn, who left her stable job. They opened their first outlet at Income at Raffles, a “cosy 450 sq. ft. hole in the wall” in March 2009, and the outlet still stands to this date. After 7 years, Joe & Dough now has 11 outlets. 18 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

4 Darren Wee, 30, founder of T he Astronauts Group Darren is the founder of The Astronauts Group, which manages Chillax Café, Babette - Restaurant & Bar and Ninja Bowl. Darren was a former radio DJ with SAFRA Radio’s Power 98FM and then with Mediacorp Radio’s 98.7FM. While hosting a food show, he was able to meet with many industry professionals, restaurateurs, and chefs which gave him insight into the goings-on of a restaurant. 5 Joel Fraser, 32, owner of The Cufflink Club and Vasco At the age of 28, Joel was a frontrunner in the Singapore F&B scene. He started The Cufflink Club four years ago when the scene only had a handful of cocktail bars. He also introduced Vasco roughly a year ago, at a time when consumers did not even know about Latin American spirits and food. As a result, there has been an increasing wave of Latin American concepts opening up not long after Vasco.

& 7 Edmund Goh Chang Yang, 28, and Jake Pang Zhi Wen, 26, owners of Wafuken Edmund and Jake do not have much kitchen experience nor a business background, but have overcome great obstacles and grown from strength to strength to successfully build a solid brand well known today in the fitness community - the Wafuken. Located at Asia Square’s Food Garden, it offers healthy Japanese-style rice bowls. 6

8 Kenneth Koh, 33, owner of Captain K Seafood Upon graduating Diploma in Marine at Singapore Maritime Academy of Singapore Polytechnic in 2003, Kenneth joined Neptune Orient Lines as a marine engineer for 8 years. He rose from the ranks to become a chief engineer. Travelling to the different regions of the world exposed him to many cuisines, fuelling his passion for food. In 2014, Kenneth decided to leave his career and pursued his interest in the F&B industry. 9 & 10 Raj Datwani, 34, and Alex Chew, 31, Bacchanalia Raj and Alex are immigrants from New York and Thailand. They first met in their 20s through mutual friends and found out each other were working on similar projects. In 2013, they decided to team up to open their first venture together – the Bacchanalia. Next came launching Road to Ultra in Singapore – the world’s Premier Electronic Music Festival, and now, Madison Rooms – a private members’ establishment. In three years, their group businesses have achieved over S$10 million in revenue, and the potential continues to grow year on year. 11 & 12 Ricky Shawn Lim Meng Wee, 36, Ven Chin, 36, founders of GD Group Ricky is the man behind GD Group which manages Halal-certified brands Penang Culture, Gurney Drive, Penang St. Buffet and Mamak Culture. Prior to co-founding GD Group with Ven Chin, Ricky had over 8 years of F&B management experiences with McDonald’s Polar Puffs & Cakes and Tung Lok Group. Ven meanwhile holds an MBA from the Manchester Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce in Actuarial Studies from the University of Melbourne. 13 Sharma Das, 29, co-founder of Cato Restaurant Sharma has been in the F&B industry for many years in Singapore before venturing into the F&B industry by finally establishing his own restaurant in June, 2015. Sharma spent many years in the nightclub scene, planning parties for many of Singapore’s hottest clubs including Azzura and Supper Club, which helped him in his business. He also co-founded both Dom Lounge and Chateaux.

co-published Corporate profile

Transamerica Life Bermuda shares insights on wealth preservation for young HNWIs

It is key to focus on both wealth protection and asset growth, says Transamerica Life Bermuda’s newly appointed CEO Marc Russell Lieberman. transfer of wealth.

Marc Russell Lieberman

SBR: Asia is home to the world’s fastest-growing population of young High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). What are the notable trends that you see among Asia’s young HNWIs? The demographics of the world’s HNW population are changing rapidly. In particular, Asia stands out for its growing numbers of young, extremely affluent individuals. According to Agility Research & Strategy’s Millionaire Report 2015, the region’s HNWIs are significantly younger than their international counterparts. In China for example, 78% of its HNW population is under the age of 40, a stark contrast to HNWIs in the U.S. who are mostly past their midfifties. Many of Asia’s young HNWIs are business owners who inherited their fortunes from their parents. In many cases, they spend the first decades of their lives studying abroad and upon graduation, return to their homeland to inherit their family businesses. Separately, numbers of young selfmade multimillionaires and billionaires are also on the rise. Data compiled by Wealth-X by CNBC indicates that Asia’s richest entrepreneurs under 40 share a total net worth of USD19.3 billion. In the next 15 years, we expect to see sustained growth of Asia’s young HNW population as the region prepares to undergo an immense inter-generational

SBR: Why should young HNWIs start planning for the future early? The rise in HNW wealth comes at a time of challenging economic conditions - reduced regional growth forecasts, capital flight from China and alarmingly low interest rates in countries such as Japan and Australia. While Asia’s young HNWIs are still largely focused on wealth accumulation, the climate of economic uncertainty has prompted a shift in focus from asset growth to wealth preservation. They are also increasingly aware that an established legacy plan provides peace of mind and minimises complications in legacy planning should any unforeseen circumstances arise. It is key that young HNWIs understand the diverse needs and priorities of their loved ones, and how they can be taken care of in the event of their passing. For example, one heir may be keen on running the family business while another may have other priorities. SBR: What are the biggest concerns of Asia’s young HNWIs? Much of the assets of Asia’s young HNWIs are tied up in a single business or location with limited portfolio diversification. As such, their wealth management and legacy plans may be less comprehensive and sophisticated. Across age groups, young HNWIs express greater concern over threats to preserving their fortunes than the older generation. The Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2015 suggests that they are concerned about the availability and rising costs of quality education, the ability of their successors to manage inherited wealth, social unrest, identity theft and financial crime, more so than their predecessors. Adding to their concerns are traditional considerations

including rising healthcare costs and retirement planning. These worries, alongside volatile economic conditions, are prompting young HNWIs to reevaluate their protection needs and priorities. SBR: How can Transamerica Life Bermuda meet the needs of young HNWIs in terms of legacy planning? Penetration of the overall HNW life insurance market in Asia remains in the low single digits*, but we expect this figure to grow in the coming years as the demand for wealth planning among young HNWIs increases. As an effective and flexible tool in the broader wealth management toolbox, life insurance ensures that one’s loved ones will be protected and provided for. It can also be used for purposes outside of broader wealth and estate planning, such as to establish education plans for one’s children and grandchildren. At Transamerica Life Bermuda, we have designed our products, services, and underwriting capacity around the varied and ever-changing wealth protection needs of our customers, offering them flexibility and peace of mind. It is even possible for policy owners to customise their policies within certain constraints in order to address their particular needs. Ultimately, life insurance is not about providing the highest returns but rather about offering a form of life protection that meets the particular needs of these young HNWIs and provides them with complete peace of mind. *based on estimated new premiums in HNW insurance versus growth of HNWI wealth in 2014 (Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management Asian Pacific Wealth Report 2015). Transamerica Life (Bermuda) Ltd. is authorised to do business in Hong Kong and Singapore

“Economic uncertainty has prompted a shift in focus from asset growth to wealth protection.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 19


The insurance sector gets a much-needed tech boost


deally, the insurance sector has a noble purpose of helping people in the time of adversity but an industry veteran thinks otherwise. George Kesselman, who has been in the insurance industry for over 10 years and has taken senior roles, felt that the noble purpose got derailed by misalignment of interests. “Distributors, shareholders, employees and customers have all differing objectives and what started off as a

good intent of insuring customers’ financial well being, ended up ensuring financial well being of pretty much everyone but the customer,” he said. Kesselman, 34, had worked in various departments of both life and general global insurers. His last two roles were as COO of AIG Indonesia and VP Claims Operations of AIG APAC. He believes that it is time to make a difference in the industry and founded InsurTechAsia. It is aimed at building a community of insurance practitioners, entrepreneurs and industry stakeholders across Asia, with Singapore as a pilot location. It claims to be the only business of its kind across the region which is made possible through a close collaboration between startups and insurers. The community is non-profit as he believes that having the profit elements detracts it from the mission and limits its potential impact. He and his team gathered a community of over 200 people. As this is non-profit, the results are going to be measured by the impact in the years to come, rather than how much they have earned this year.

The “Spotify” for investment research is here


ith over 400 independent research providers with qualifications ranging from ex-Wall street analysts, to data scientists and academics, Smartkarma wants to become the spotify for investment research. This collaborative marketplace allows


have unlimited, personalised access to all the Insight on the platform for one single subscription fee. In this way, it claims of breaking down traditional silos and bringing efficiency to a global industry that has long suffered from opaque pricing and bloated cost structures. Smartkarma was founded in September 2014 by Raghav Kapoor, Jonathan Foster and Lee Mitchell, who all have roots in the investment industry. Smartkarma recently announced the results of their second round of funding, which raised USD 4.7 million, bringing our total amount raised to USD 7.5 million. The investment was led by a number of institutions including Wavemaker Partners, Jungle Ventures, a group led by Mr Koh Boon Hwee, former Chairman of Singapore Telecommunications as well as several prominent industry leaders such as Mr Tan Chin Hwee. pops the champagne on SGD2m Series A funding


rustrated and surprised by how complex the process was in buying and renting in such an advanced country like Singapore and how difficult it was to find accurate transparent data and information to make such an important decision, technology veterans Darius Cheung, Dominic Ee, Conor McLaughlin and Anuj Bheda decided to set out to solve the problem. They founded property site in January 2014, which recently made headlines after anouncing that it has received an investment from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and leading venture capital firm Sequioa Capital, bringing its total investment to $2.5 million. This after it raised a round in May 2015, getting US560,000 from Fenox Venture Capital, 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, Kathrein Ventures, and East Ventures. Transparent information at last Cheung is a Singaporean serial entrepreneur and angel investor. aims to address the need for a much more comprehensive search engine for all properties.It claims of providing full and transparent information to the consumer to help them make better renting or buying decisions, as well as enabling agents to offer a better service to consumers through their tools. For agents, claims of delivering highly qualified leads and arms them with online and mobile tools to make their work more efficient. empowers consumers by enabling powerful search through its native search algorithm ListRank which was launched in November 2014. ListRank collates more than 30 data points, assessing the quality and fullness of information of listings, to present back the highest quality matches for the searcher. This operating model, where no agent can pay their way to the top of the search results but in fact enables the best information to be surfaced first, ensures real estate agents provide the best possible information to the consumer. is also accessible on web and via iOs and Android apps, incorporating live chat functionality to ensure rapid response from agents. Round-the-clock help and assistance is readily available via’s happiness team. In January 2015, successfully raised Series A funding of SGD2 million.


SMRT Buses develops innovative solution to improve travel experience

New technology proves to be first of its kind in the way it challenges conventions by using telematics technology and data analytics for evidence-based and proactive training

Tan Kian Heong of SMRT Buses Ltd


ith more than a million of commuters relying on SMRT Buses to get around the city every single day, the company has been a household name in Singapore for years. As one of Singapore’s largest public transport operators (PTO), SMRT Buses’ main focus is to deliver the most reliable bus service at the highest customer service standards. Tan Kian Heong, Managing Director of SMRT Buses, says by collaborating with leading technology partners, the PTO is able to tap on the latest tech innovations to ensure that its people are well-equipped to deliver the standards that the company seeks to deliver. SMRT Buses is also employing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, according to Tan. In line with the company’s IT masterplan, Tan says its state-of-the-art PROLEARN training and management system was developed to improve travel experience. PROLEARN Transforms Conventional Learning and Training Approach PROLEARN stands for “Professional Learning and Training Management System”. Tan says PROLEARN is a first of its kind innovation that transforms conventional learning and training approach using telematics technology and data analytics for evidence-based and proactive training. According to Tan, SMRT Buses installs telematics on all its buses to track its Bus Captains’ driving performance in real time. Using the data captured in the system,

Tan explains that the company proactively provides customised training to help each Bus Captain improve on his or her driving skills. “This serves as evidence for us to reinforce positive driving behaviour, and improve the habits of each Bus Captain,” Tan says. “Our Bus Captains are sent for refresher training twice a year; With the drivingprofile of each Bus Captain analysed by PROLEARN, we are able to proactively identify the driver who requires proactive intervention training,” Tan adds. PROLEARN Benefits Millions of Passengers “The PROLEARN system performs highspeed and high-precision analysis of largescale data and discovers patterns hidden in vast amounts of data,” Tan says. “With the system, we are able to constantly monitor, manage, train and develop our bus professionals to equip them with the relevant operational and commuter-centric competencies,” he adds. The PROLEARN system has more than 30% accuracy in risk identification, which enables proactive intervention training and reduces accident occurrence. PROLEARN has won the Singapore Business Review Award 2016 in the Technology category. “More than just recognising our innovation, the award is testament to our constant pursuit of service excellence to improve the safety, reliability and comfort for our passengers,” Tan says. Commuter-Centric Innovations Meanwhile, Tan says one of the biggest challenges SMRT Buses is facing is the unpredictability of local traffic conditions,

making regularity of bus services in the local operating environment challenging. The failure to regulate buses efficiently leads to longer-than-expected waiting times, bus bunching, and results in inconveniences to commuters. To tackle the challenges, Tan says SMRT Buses adopts a multi-faceted approach, including the Singapore Bus Training and Evaluation Centre, where the company runs simulation training for its Bus Captains and Service Controllers. “At the centre, our Integrated Driving & Service Control simulation training system uses state-of-the-art simulation technology to provide a realistic scenario and teambased training for our Bus Captains and Service Controllers,” Tan explains. “In addition, we are employing highperformance computing methodology to analyse vast amounts of data on traffic conditions and travel patterns to improve bus scheduling and enhance service control of buses,”he says. The data enables us to adopt a more scientific approach to improving the travelling needs of commuters” Tan says. Recognising that commuter expectations and needs are constantly evolving as the industry undergoes restructuring, Tan says SMRT Buses will continue to invest strategically in its people and technology so as to set the best in class standards for service reliability and customer service.

PROLEARN System Architecture

“The award is testament to our constant pursuit of service and organisational excellence.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 21


Deal #1: Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust (FLT) raised S$903m when it listed on SGX on June 20, 2016. (Robert Wallace, CEO, Frasers Logistics & Industrial Asset Management)

Deal #2: Manulife raised S$650m after it listed on SGX Mainboard (REIT) at USD0.83 per share on May 20, 2016. (Hsieh Tsun-Yan, Chairman, Manulife US REIT)

Deal #3: Secura Group raised a total of S$28m after it listed on SGX Catalist on January 28, 2016. Its IPO market cap stood at S$100m. (Paul Lim, CEO, Secura Group)

REITs saved the day for the IPO market Singapore’s sagging IPO market gets a big lift just in the nick of time from REIT listings


ust when Singapore’s shaky initial public offering (IPO) market is about to be at wits’ end, big-ticket REIT IPOs came pouring in. IPOs on SGX plunged 57% from the 2014 to 2015 period as only 13 IPOs were listed, totalling to just about $630m. Now, 6 months after a depressing period for the SGX, 8 IPOs were already listed compared to just 3 in 1H15. It has also raised $1.6b proceeds, almost 29 times more than 1H15’s $56m. And it could only get better. Deloitte noted in its halfyear IPO market report that in the past four years, the number of IPOs in the second half far exceed that of the first half, sometimes more than doubling. The Singapore IPO market stirred from its 2015 slump when two big-ticket IPOs launched in the first half of 2016, namely Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust and Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust. Both IPOs attracted strong investor demand and priced at the top end of the price range, and can be credited for reviving the Singapore IPO market, says Elaine Tan, senior analyst, deals intelligence at Thomson Reuters. In May, Manulife listed its US property assets and raised US$493.2 million, and was the first mainboard listing of the year. It was also a triumph for the company as it was its second listing attempt after pulling the plug on an IPO last year due to volatile market conditions. Then a month later, Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust, composed of Australian industrial assets, raised US$932.6 million, and was the biggest IPO in Singapore since Asian 22 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

The fact that there were two jumbo IPOs in the first half of 2016 was crucial to the revival of the SGX Mainboard.

Pay Television Trust’s US$1.1 billion IPO in 2013. “IPO activity in Singapore stock exchanges showed signs of life after a lackluster year in 2015,” says Tan. “The two listings underpinned Singapore’s reputation as a hub for real estate investment trust (REIT) and business trust listings in Asia.” She reckons the diversity offered by Singapore REITs amid heightened economic and geopolitical concerns have made them attractive to issuers. They are also viewed by investors as a safe haven or relatively defensive sector in volatile markets. Led by the Frasers and Manulife IPOs, Singaporelisted equity offerings totaled US$1.4 billion in the first half of 2016, a 65.2% increase in proceeds from the same period last year. IPO proceeds accounted for 62.0% of the market share while follow-on offerings listed in Singapore represented 38.0% market share. Singapore ECM soars The fact that there were two jumbo IPOs in the first half of 2016 compared to no listings in the previous period was crucial to the revival of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Mainboard. The Singapore equity capital markets (ECM) rebounded healthily as well because of these two IPOs plus the IPO of Singapore-based BOC Aviation listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK) which raised US$1.1 billion in proceeds. All in all, Singapore-domiciled companies tapping the ECM raised US$2.4 billion so far this year, a 79.3%

FINANCIAL INSIGHT: IPO increase in proceeds compared to US$1.3 billion in first half of 2015, according to Tan. Total IPO issuance from local companies in domestic and overseas stock exchange markets raised US$2.0 billion. Breaking down the ECM market share in terms of proceeds, Singaporean IPO accounted for 84.1% while follow-on offerings captured 15.9% so far this year. Morgan Stanley currently leads the ranking for Singapore ECM underwriting with US$ 354.2 million in related deals and captured a sizeable 14.7% of the market share. Citi and BNP Paribas ranked second and third with 11.7% and 10.2% market share, respectively. Total IPO issuance from local companies in domestic and overseas stock exchange markets raised US$2.0 billion. Breaking down the ECM market share in terms of proceeds, Singaporean IPO accounted for 84.1% while follow-on offerings captured 15.9% as of the third week of June 2016. Morgan Stanley leads the ranking for Singapore ECM underwriting with US$354.2 million in related deals and captured a sizeable 14.7% of the market share. Citi and BNP Paribas ranked second and third with 11.7% and 10.2% market share, respectively. Singapore’s Industrials sector accounted for majority of the nation’s ECM activity with 48.3% market share and generated proceeds worth US$1.17 billion as of the third week of June 2016, more than an eightfold increase from the US$126.6 million proceeds raised in the first half of 2015. The Real Estate sector followed closely with 47.6% market share worth US$1.15 billion in proceeds, up 70% already from the US$674 million proceeds raised in the first half of 2015. According to estimates from Thomson Reuters/ Freeman Consulting Co., underwriting fees for equity deals issued by Singapore-owned companies amounted to US$29.1 million, a 6.9% increase from the same period last year. Tan notes that CIMB Group led the fee rankings for Singapore equity issuance with US$6.8 million in estimated fee revenue, taking 23.4% of the wallet share this year.

2016’s first half ended on a positive note

and Property Trusts listings in the last five years, and that their popularity could stem from therir higher-thanaverage yields. “If you look at the sizeable trust listings over the years, the actual yield for REITs listed between 2011 and 2016 H1 (at an average of 7.90%) outperforms the forecasted yield at IPO (at an average of 7.10%),” says Dr Ernest Kan, Deloitte Southeast Asia Leader for Global IFRS and Offerings Services. Deloitte also found that the highest average yields are from Hotel & Resort REITs such as Frasers Hospitality Trust. Data also show REITs and Property Trusts on SGX have experienced high growth, and they remain attractive because of their appealing distribution yields which range between 6.1% to 8.7% and their relatively stable lease-based cash flows. “In spite of the ongoing erratic global economic developments, we ended the first six months of 2016 on a positive note with nearly a three-fold increase in IPO listings as compared against that of the same period in 2015,” says Kan. “This sets a good stage for IPO aspirants and investors which we hope will encourage and whet their appetite for new share offering activities in the second half of 2016.”

REIT dominance Singapore’s IPO market showed positive improvements with a total of 8 IPOs in the first half of 2016 – 3 Mainboard listings and 5 Catalist listings raising US$38.6 million – compared to only 3 in the first half of 2015, says a Deloitte Singapore report. The report further notes that the Singapore IPO market has seen a dominance of REITs Singapore equity capital markets

Tham Tuck Seng

Source: Thomson Reuters

Elaine Tan

A few more good REITs For the second half of the year, Tham Tuck Seng, capital markets leader at PwC Singapore, expects to see a few more REIT listings due to the proven strength of the Singapore market. “The pipeline for REIT IPO listings in Singapore remains healthy,” says Seng, pointing to the upcoming EC World REIT’s IPO, comprised of logistics properties in China, and Greenland Holdings’ REIT IPO. Seng says that REITs will continue to be the main source of IPOs, although this will not be limited to local REITs since he believes more foreign REITs will also begin listing in Singapore. For the Catalist board, Seng foresees more domestic companies listing on the back of increased government grants such as those from SPRING. The strong rebound of the Singapore IPO market through REIT listings shows its difference from Hong Kong IPO market, which has a higher valuation as a whole. “If you SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 23

FINANCIAL INSIGHT: ipo hong kong view

Trends observed over the period of 2011-2016 H1

IPO market hobbles but is still king Even as the Hong Kong IPO market showed weakness in the first half of the year with total funds raised dipping by around two-thirds, its rivals like New York and London are bleeding as well, enabling the former to cling on to the top spot of the global rankings. Analysts expect a listing surge in the second half of the year, with the market largely brushing off Brexit, and going into overdrive on the back of mainland Chinese and other Asian firms lining up to raise funds. Global economic uncertainty has dampened fundraising through IPOs worldwide, even in Hong Kong, although the territory has not been ousted from its throne. The volume of IPOs and funds raised in Hong Kong ensured it has continued to rank number one globally in the first half of 2016,” says Eddie Wong, partner of capital markets services at PwC Hong Kong.

Source: Singapore IPO Market 2016 Mid Year Report, Deloitte

look at Singapore, although we are not as Hong Kong in terms of market capitalisation, but Singapore has a mark on niche spaces. We are very good at certain sectors, including REITs, consumer, and healthcare sector,” says Seng. “For REITs in particular, we have a very progressive tax regime. Because of the preferential tax treatment, Singapore is known as a good place to have REIT listings,” he adds. The Deloitte report agrees, saying that REITs and Business Trusts are one of the key strengths of SGX, along with consumer and healthcare stocks, which should enable a strong trend of REIT IPOs for the rest of 2016. “We believe REITs will continue to perform, having dominated the market in the last five years accounting for more than 60% of total funds raised via IPO since 2013,” says Kan. “Following the pickup for fund-raising and public listings in the first half of 2016, I believe the window of opportunity remains open in the next six months as fund managers have deep pockets to invest in IPOs,” he adds. “This coupled with the Government’s support for enterprises and industries to transform through innovation will be major drivers for investing activities. There are also the high net worth individuals with ample liquidity whom we can expect to join the pool of investors to drive IPO activity in 2016.” Deloitte trend analysis over the past four years also suggest that the number of IPOs in the second half of the year are far more optimistic, sometimes more than doubled that of the first half, going against the conventional wisdom of market sentiments. Regulatory factors While REITs will likely continue to provide fuel to the Singapore IPO market, there are a number of factors, many of them regulatory, that might sway the market’s near-term outlook. One possible factor enabling more listings is the new Industry Transformation Programme which will allot S$4.5 billion to help enterprises and industries create new value and drive growth, as well as to transform through innovation. This amount is on top of the existing resources made available to already via the R&D and the National Productivity Fund. There is also optimism behind SGX’s ongoing exclusive talks to acquire The Baltic Exchange. If successful, the acquisition could complement the exchange’s iron ore swaps and futures business, lend weight to SGX’s commodities products business and open up doors for future listings from this sector, according to Deloitte Singapore. 24 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

Limping leader In the first half of this year, there were a total of 40 new listings in Hong Kong, a 22% decrease compared to the same period last year. Total funds raised reached HK$43.5 billion, a 66% decline year on year. Eddie Wong attributes the decline to global economic uncertainty as well as volatility in China’s stock market earlier this year, which prompted investors and companies planning to list in Hong Kong to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. But comparing Hong Kong to the rest of the world, the territory continues to hold a firm a leading position in global capital markets. IPO activities in Hong Kong showed a relatively stellar performance than second-place London Stock Exchange (total funds raised HK$31.6 billion) and third-place New York Stock Exchange (HK$28.8 billion). Other IPO markets buckled under the pressure of slowing economic growth in China and weak economic recovery globally, plus the added uncertainty from the UK referendum to exit the EU and the pace of US interest rate hikes. The Hong Kong IPO market has coped better than others, with a stream of financial services raising most of the proceeds, seemingly unperturbed by the souring macroeconomic environment. IPOs of financial services companies made up 84% of total funds raised on the Main Board. This means that many mainland banks and financial institutions continued to actively pursue optimal timing to list in Hong Kong.

Companies that fail to comply could be delisted or be transferred to the Catalist board where there is no MTP requirement.

Average deal size of new listings (Jun-July) Excluding IPO candidates that raised funds of more than HK$10billion

Source: PWC

Human Resource Technology

Drake International resolves manpower woes with cutting-edge P3 tool Effortlessly assess performance and potential with this accurate and insightful system to maximise assets’ potential.


ingapore’s notoriously tight job market makes it extremely challenging for many companies to attract and retain talent. “We have observed that most if not all companies have problems hiring in Singapore,” says Geraldine Tay, Head of Talent Management Solutions. “One of the most prominent challenges are attracting Singaporean candidates, and hiring people who stay.” Tay also mentions that the unemployment rate is steady at 1.9 to 2 percent, which implies that it is a candidate’s market. “Candidates have options and employees have opportunities knocking on their doors,” Tay. “So how, then, can employers best attract, and eventually work on to retain, talents in Singapore?” Drake International, which set up Drake Singapore—known to be one of the longest-standing recruitment firms locally—in 1988, has its P3 tool to address those vital employer concerns. Comprehensive processes “Drake P3 is one of our tools which have shown success over 20 years globally,” says Tay. “It is one of the most advanced psychometrically based personality and performance management technologies available today.” The system generates accurate, insightful, and easy-to-understand reports that have immediate practical value in any business environment. It has 14,000 calculations behind the system and expert consultants, trainers, psychologists, and legal counsel are part of Drake’s support

team. Tay shares that the Drake P3 system is used by major international corporations to screen, select and manage their top performers. The Drake P3 tool helps companies hire the right candidates who can fit well by using the suggested advertising copy to attract the suitable candidates (while screening the unsuitable ones out). It also helps by providing behavioural interview questions in reports to address the gaps between candidates’ profiles and Top Performer Profiles. P3 also has a component which suggests a candidate’s likelihood to job hop which is a key point to address during interviews. The tool also differentiates from its competitors in three ways: First, it is easy to use, only 15 minutes web-based. Second, it has a talent management tool used from selection to succession. Reports include individual Communication Profile, Candidate-to-Job Matching Report, Manager-to-Staff Report, Team Analysis, 360 Degree Feedback Report, and more. Lastly, the tool captures two types of individual’s profiles: Primary Traits (natural behaviours) and Environment Traits (behaviours displayed at work). This enables both individuals and managers to acknowledge the gaps in the two profiles and manage stress levels, shares Tay. Solid results Tay says P3 has impacted Drake International’s operations tremendously. “It is part of our hiring process to

benchmark all candidates against our existing Top Performer Profiles,” she notes. “This is to ensure that we bring the most suitable people on board. Hiring right is crucial not only in terms of job fit but also culturally.” After selection, the P3 tool is used for on-boarding of new hires. This process helps the new hire get integrated into the team at an accelerate speed. It also helps peers and managers understand how to motivate and communicate with the new hires. This use of P3 boosts the morale and chemistry within the team and lowers time spent on “getting to know each other” and chances of miscommunications and conflicts. “Throughout the life span of employees, we monitor not only their performance using P3 but also the changes in their workplace behavioural traits in adjustment to the environment and their stress levels as a result of that,” says Tay. “This helps our managers understand where our employees are at in terms of their existing life goals and motivations. Identifying and management of stress levels will reduce absenteeism which can result to a large amount of productivity lost,” she continues. Furthermore, even when employees decide to move on from their current employers, the P3 tool can be used, where appropriate, to recommend alternative jobs to them that suit their natural profiles. In the last six months, Drake International won awards for its efforts. For instance, at the Asia Recruitment Awards 2016, it won the Gold Award for Best Recruitment Innovation for the Drake P3 tool, and the Bronze Award for Best Recruitment Team. “We are happy to have received many testimonials from our clients highlighting how P3 has improve their HR practices, particularly their hiring, managing, and team building processes, and also their company culture,” Tay passionately shares.

“Candidates have options... Hiring right is crucial not only in terms of job fit but also culturally.” SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 25


Privatisation is the new “in” thing for companies

Listed companies vanish as uncertainties mount Global turmoil and other headwinds have forced Singapore’s listed companies to privatise in order to get their firms back on track.


hen state-owned investment company Temasek was facing declining earnings in its majorityowned transport firm SMRT due to Singapore’s new rail financing framework, it offered to privatise the company to prepare for the difficult transition. Temasek says SMRT will also need to focus on existing and new multi-year programmes to support its ageing and expanded network, including the need to deliver a higher order of rail reliability in line with the standards provided by the LTA. Analysts were in favor of the move, with OCBC Research’s Eugene Chua saying the move will see SMRT sacrifice its earnings in exchange for free cash flow positions throughout the 15 year license period. While expenses may be expected to skyrocket for the transport firm, Chua says


It is not surprising that bargain hunters are once again on the prowl for good deals.

the private company is easier to navigate with improvements and ongoing upgrades. “Furthermore, even with high free cash flow, we believe most of the cash will be invested into improving SMRT’s maintenance capabilities rather than paying out higher dividends,” Chua adds. Delist to get back on track On the other hand, RHB Research analyst Shekhar Jaiswal advises unhappy investors of LTA to make themselves heard as approval of the offer requires over 50% of the shareholders present and voting at the meeting to receive a sanction from the court and an in-principle approval from the Singapore Exchange. Temasek isn’t alone in utilising, as well as considering, to privatise or delist a firm in order to get it back on track. In fact, according

to OCBC Research, a wave of privatisations is about to buffet Singapore’s local bourse, as plenty more beleaguered firms are likely to take a leaf out of Temasek’s book. These firms are expected to privatise either to take advantage of current inexpensive valuations, or to gain more traction to put a firm back on its tracks. Additionally, the current market environment is ripe for the flurry of delistings. Carmen Lee, head of research at OCBC Investment Research, says after a series of sell-downs which hammered the market in recent months, 431 companies out of the 700 firms listed on the Singapore Exchange are now trading below their book value. Even worse, 193 companies are trading at below 0.5 times their book value. “Given how much share prices have declined and how attractive valuations are for certain companies out there, it is not surprising that bargain hunters are once again on the prowl for good deals,” Lee notes. World flush with liquidity At the same time, Lee says low capital costs and plenty of liquidity means that stronger corporates and individuals will be more likely to engage in acquisition or takeover deals. Lee says the stronger corporates are generally cashed up or have low net debt to equity ratios as they have been holding back on investments due to the uncertain economic outlook, and a world flush with liquidity means that they are still able to borrow at low interest rates. “We get the sense that investors in general still believe in the long-term prospects of Asia, and many companies on the SGX have huge exposure to this market,” Lee says. “A dim outlook in the near term is by no means a sure bet on share price underperformance, as holding companies and individuals are still flush with cash and ready to take companies private if they are comfortable with the companies’ long term outlook.”

singapore’s hottest startups 2015 COVER STORY But can analysts predict which companies are teetering on the edge of privatisation? Lee says prime privatisation targets include companies that are in a net cash position and have large controlling shareholders. This type of leverage provides firms with greater operational flexibility, as well as leaves the door open for future re-listing at more attractive valuations. Firms likely to bail out Using OCBC Investment Research’s metrics, the companies which are more likely to be delisted or taken over include offshore and marine players such as Dyna-Mac Holdings, PEC Ltd, PACC Offshore Services Holdings, Pacific Radiance, Baker Tech, Triyards, KS Energy, Mermaid Maritime, KrisEnergy, and ASL Marine. Lee adds that technology firms such as Innovalues and Sunning dale Tech are also prime targets, as well as property companies Wing Tai and Wheelock Properties. Other likely candidates are consumer-oriented companies Parkson Retail Asia and Courts Asia, as well as firms like Banyan Tree, CWT, Cogent Holdings and Tat Hong, Lee adds. Should this news come as a surprise to market players? June Ho, director of international law firm Wikborg Rein, doesn’t think so. Ho adds that the planned delistings of shipping companies such as Neptune Orient Lines and Otto Marine shouldn’t even be seen as bad news for the local market. “If the regional capital markets

a sweet deal for shareholders as it is an acceptable way out of an investment that has since turned sour. “For such companies, a voluntary delisting, with a cashout payment to its shareholders, can yield substantial operational savings as a private company. This may be another aspect of what these companies need to do in order to survive in a depressed market,” Ho says. “Although actual annual listing costs are not high in Singapore, there are other costs and regulatory requirements associated with running a listed business.” Additionally, Ho notes that a delisting could ease the pressure of providing regular shareholder reports required from every listed company on the Singapore Exchange, which can require a significant amount of management time. “Listed companies also have various obligations to shareholders, which may make it much harder to restructure operations and to implement diversification and recovery strategies,” she adds.

have taken a hit this year, then that could be doubly said for energy gas and shipping sectors,” Ho says. Ho says it’s perfectly normal in these business sectors where business confidence is plummeting, share prices have taken a hammering, and there is a great deal of market uncertainty in almost every aspect of the business. “In times like this, shareholders nervously look at where the bottom of the market might be, while other stakeholders feel like the assets are under-valued,” she adds. “This environment is prime territory for taking companies private – giving shareholders some return on their investment, while giving the businesses agility, autonomy, and flexibility they may not have answering to a large group of shareholders. Put simply, some investors are hoping that, in taking a company private, they are buying at the bottom.” Just a knee-jerk reaction? Meanwhile, according to Ho, delistings can actually be viewed in two ways. For some firms, it is a knee-jerk reaction due to the loss of major money for some investors, Ho says while for some, it is rich pickings. Ho adds that it all depends on the motivation and payoffs offered in the privatisation deal. Given the sinking market confidence in the oil and gas industry, Ho explains that a delisting may make sense for some companies especially those trading below their intrinsic value. She adds that a privatisation may be

Series of unfortunate delistings:

China Milk Products Ltd

Companies since that privatised since 2016 January 2016 Companies that privatised January




Source: Information based on SBR’s researches





If some need to take time ‘going private,’ that is a small price to pay for stability and overall quality.

Restricting flexibility Pong Chen Yih, principal at Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow agrees, saying that companies that seek to privatise generally face illiquidity and compliance costs associated with maintaining a listing. “Being subject to listing rules and the need to seek shareholders’ approval for certain transactions also restricts a company’s flexibility and may require additional costs and delay in timelines as a result of additional regulatory procedures,” Pong says. He adds that these factors are being constantly weighed against the benefits of being listed on the SGX and the ability to tap the capital markets for funding corporate actions. “With the current economic environment, prices of certain stocks may be viewed as undervalued, and major stakeholders may feel that it is an appropriate time to privatise based on the above reasons. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 27

post-event coverage: tibco now 2016

Murray Rode, CEO: “A lot of companies used to not care about this whole notion of real-time but today it’s conventional wisdom for everyone: real-time is the new norm.”

Thomas Been, CMO: “Our annual TIBCO NOW conference assembles digital technology experts to discuss, share, and collaborate on the opportunities and challenges facing digital businesses today.”

Matt Quinn, CTO: “We are continuing to invest in focused innovation. From an engineering perspective, it is important to think not just about what we are building, but also how we build them.”

Digital transformation takes center stage at TIBCO NOW 2016

Most of the problems and strategies that digital businesses are facing have, at their core, integration and dealing with data analytics as two key needs.


ow more than ever, companies are feeling the pressure of improving their digital offerings as most consumers want their experiences to be as purely digital as possible. Consumers now expect to get loans, pay bills, or even get financial advice via their mobile phones without ever having to go to a bank branch. Similarly, customers interact with airline companies digitally when finding a flight or booking a ticket even before they get on a plane. The opportunities and challenges brought about by this change in customer preference and behaviour are driving each company’s need for digital transformation. This is what TIBCO Software Inc., a global leader in integration and analytics, wanted to address in the annual TIBCO NOW conference held at the MGM Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from


TIBCO NOW 2016 is the company’s first conference as a private company after having been a public company for 15 years.

May 17 to 19, 2016. “Our annual TIBCO NOW conference assembles digital technology experts, as well as the most innovative customers and partners to discuss, share, and collaborate on the opportunities and challenges facing digital businesses today and in the future. This year’s theme, Destination: Digital, embodies TIBCO’s mission to enable attendees to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, ecosystem, and processes to propel their journey towards being a digital enterprise,” said Thomas Been, TIBCO’s chief marketing officer. TIBCO NOW 2016 is the company’s first conference as a private company after having been a public company for 15 years. “We are launching the most number of new products and services this year. Moreover, while some conferences

may have a strong marketing orientation, TIBCO NOW 2016 has a hard core content orientation. It really is more about products and what we’re doing as a technology company,” said Murray Rode, TIBCO’s chief executive officer. “Our biggest challenge was how to organise it all so it’s digestible for people. Fundamentally, this conference was supposed to be a sign of TIBCO’s rebirth to some degree.” The highlights of the conference include keynotes from TIBCO executives as well as special guest speakers such as NASA chief engineer Adam Steltzner and futurist Ray Kurzweil. One of the most important things in innovation, according to Kurzweil, is timing: being at the right place with the right idea at the right time. “If you’re too early, you don’t have the enabling factors to succeed. If you’re

post-event coverage: tibco now 2016 The digital experience of the customer is so dynamic that you have to automate your response in order to really be responsive.

Nearly 2,000 IT executives attended TIBCO NOW 2016

too late, you miss the window of opportunity,” Kurzweil noted. There were more than 100 breakout sessions arranged in three tracks where industry experts talked about API management, cloudnative architecture, leveraging fast data, the internet of things, and other pertinent trends and issues in IT. The event was attended by nearly 2,000 IT executives and was supported by 25 sponsors. Real-time is the new norm In his keynote speech at the opening day of the conference, Rode said most of the problems and strategies that digital businesses are facing have, at their core, integration and dealing with data analytics as two key needs. He noted that most of the digital transformations we see today have three common challenges: 1) there is a need for a seamless form of interconnection among the parts that make up the solution; 2) there is a need to move and understand a lot of information in real-time; 3) there is an increasing element of analysing and predicting what to do next. “The digital experience of the customer is so dynamic that you have to automate your response in order to really be responsive. A lot of companies used to not care about this whole notion of real-time but today it’s conventional wisdom for everyone: real-time is the new norm,” he added. From the core to the edge Another interesting facet of the digital business is that it’s not just about enabling companies to operate more efficiently, but it’s also

about giving the customer a richer experience. To enable this, TIBCO is also shifting its focus from the core to the edge. “It used to be we were selling a lot of technology to improve the core, the systems of record, the data centres. What we’re seeing today is a shift more to the edge. It’s these outer systems, these service points to the customers, that require a slightly different application of the kind of technologies we provide,” Rode said. “This is why we have simplified the way we position what we do as falling into two big categories: interconnecting everything (people and processes, systems and data, APIs) and augmenting intelligence (dashboarding, embedded reporting, data visualisation, streaming analytics),” he added. Focused innovation Matt Quinn, TIBCO’s chief technology officer and EVP for products & technology, also spoke about the company’s products and services. “We are continuing to invest a significant amount in focused innovation. From an engineering perspective, it is important to think not just about what we are building, but also how we build them.” Quinn revealed three core principles that were developed early last year about the way TIBCO builds its products: cloud first, ease of use, and industrialisation. “Everybody defines cloud differently. What we wanted to do with our products is think about cloud and cloud architecture first and foremost - whether they are on premise or in

the cloud. What we also needed to recognise is that there are multiple different flavors of cloud and cloud journeys,” said Quinn. Ease of use is all about shortening the time to results. It involves improving user experience, industry solutions and frameworks, and building a community. Finally, industrialisation is about enriching the TIBCO ecosystem, and it is made up of three aspects: improved cross-product integration (85% of customers use more than one TIBCO product, so all products need to be highly integrated to bring more value to customers), improved DevOps support (TIBCO started to work closer with the broader industry to make sure the products fit within other modern architectures), and internet of things (IoT). “Our goal is to be everywhere. We are expanding the platform where you need us and we’re doing it in the easiest possible way,” said Quinn. New products Two of the many products launched at the conference were Project Flogo and TIBCO Graph Database. Project Flogo is an ultra-lightweight integration software solution that introduces open source licensing to enable developers in building the broadest open IoT community. Project Flogo functions as one the first design bots for IoT edge application development, with a tilebased, zero-code environment for building and deploying integration and data processing directly onto connected devices. Meanwhile, the TIBCO Graph Database is a translytical database that transforms a complex web of dynamic data into meaningful, comprehensible, and traversable relationships to help deliver real-time insight and action. It stores all data as intelligent schema that makes it easy to discover and model any relationships as graphs with nodes and edges. Combined, these technologies increase interconnectivity, make communication seamless, augment the intelligence of the IoT, and expand the edge of digital business for organisations. By Roxanne Primo Uy SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | JULY 2016 29

RANKING: BANKS total SGD deposits, which will minimise interest expense and expand loan yield. China’s slowdown Other analysts point out that Brexit is only one of the many problems that hound Singapore banks, and may not even be its most pressing one. Banks are also grappling with the slowdown in Greater China, a foreign market in which they have expanded aggressively over the past seven years, says BMI Research. BMI Research estimates total exposure of Singapore’s big three banks – DBS, OCBC and UOB – to Greater China as a share of their overall loan portfolio has risen to 22.5% in March 2016, from just around 15% at the end of 2009. Singapore banks are not only exposed to the Chinese market through direct loan exposure

How badly will Brexit hurt Singaporean banks? Singapore banks are likely to feel a pinch, but nothing too painful.


f you were expecting Singapore banks to shake in their boots after the shockwave of Brexit – the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union – then you may be overestimating its negative impact. Analysts recognise that Singapore banks will likely feel a pinch, but nothing too painful. If anything, banks have bigger problems than Brexit to worry about such as a slowing Chinese economy where they have significant exposure. Brexit means slower economic growth in a heightened risk environment, which is negative for banks, says Derrick Heng, analyst at Maybank Kim Eng. But the detrimental effect on Singapore banks should be contained since their direct United Kingdom and British pound exposure should be marginal. OCBC, which is the

Brexit means slower economic growth in a heightened risk environment, which is negative for banks.


only one to provide a breakdown of loans and deposits denominated in British pound, only had around 2% of loans and 3% of deposits in British pound in 2015. “Brexit implies more volatility ahead and with more economic uncertainties, banks will be less willing to take on more risks,” Heng explains further. “Possibility of lower interest rates and lower growth will lead to margin compression and lower revenues, thus cost rationalization in the sector remains a priority.” While Brexit may slow global economic growth, there is a likelihood of a US Fed Fund rate hike this year, says Leng Seng Choon, analyst at RHB. He expects DBS to benefit most from such a rate hike scenario through a widening of net interest margin due to its Singapore dollar (SGD) current account, savings account that represents 91% of

Negative credit outlook DBS broke a tie with Citibank this year as Singapore’s largest bank in terms of total number of staff. In 2015, the two landed on the top spot as both reported a total of 10,000 staff. While DBS increased staff by 400 more this year, Citibank cut down 800. However amidst challenging outlook this year for the banking sector, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said that the bank will slow down recruitment and pay rises. Other banks which increased staff this year include UOB, BNP Paribas, CIMB Bank, RHB Bank, Mizuho, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, and ICICI bank. Those who reported decreases in number staff on the other hand are ANZ, Bank of India and UCO Bank. Together, Singapore’s 20 largest banks increased staff by 1.4% to 58,053. Eugene Tarzimanov, VPSr credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service forecasts Singapore gross domestic product growth to slow to 1.6% in 2016 and to 1.5% in 2017, which will be lower than the 2% achieved in 2015 and the average of 4.5% between 2011 and 2014.




Number of Employees 2016

Number of Employees 2015

CEO/ Country Head






Sim S. Lim
































J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.*


















MALAYAN BANKING (Maybank Singapore)




Datuk Lim Hong Tat






Mak Lye Mun














BANK of china*










Pierre Finas


































Data provided by companies. Survey period: June-July 2016. *Obtained from company websites, media reports, annual reports and/or previous data.



SBR Business Case Studies Awards and Summit 2016 Chung Chee Kong of AcceVal

Singapore Business Review has concluded the Business Case Studies Awards and Summit 2016 last June 23, 2016.

T Lynette Seah of Alpha7

he half-day event was graced and attended by more than 70 key people and personalities from diverse business sectors including retail, logistics, education, energy, technology, and transportation, among many others. In its inaugural year, five outstanding companies and their case studies were recognised. •AcceVal- Computer Software Case Study of the Year •Alpha7- Cloud Advisory Case Study of the Year •Bgroup Asia- Retail Logistics Case Study of the Year •Learning Vision @ Work- Education Case Study of the Year •Continental Automotive Singapore- Automotive Solutions Case Study of the Year The event featured winning companies’ on-stage presentation of their case studies. Guests were given networking opportunities after the presentation to help them deepen and refresh business ties. The event was held at the Conrad Centennial, Singapore. List of winners:

Gianmaria Beretti of Bgroup Asia

AcceVal Computer Software Case Study of the Year Case study presenter: Chung Chee Kong, Managing Director Alpha7 Cloud Advisory Case Study of the Year Case study presenter: Lynette Seah, Founder and CEO Bgroup Asia Retail Logistics Case Study of the Year Case study presenter: Gianmaria Beretti, CEO APAC

Yvonne Tan of Learning Vision @ Work

Learning Vision @ Work Education Case Study of the Year Case study presenter: Yvonne Tan, Senior Principal Continental Automotive Singapore Automotive Solutions Case Study of the Year Case study presenter: Chia Wei Ming Dan, Head of Advance Technology Asia (IC BU), Innovation Manager

Chia Wei Ming Dan of Continental Automotive Singapore


Networking opportunities

Bgroup Asia


Over 70 guests flocked to the case studies presentation and summit


Continental Automotive Singapore

Learning Vision @ Work


Computer software case study of the year

Acceval boasts years of solid experience

Acceval transforms Petronas’ pricing and commercial excellence capability

The leading chemicals producer gets stellar results with its partnership with Acceval.


its portfolio. Besides the tool capabilities, vendors are required to demonstrate the ability to help the company go through a transformation journey; including developing competencies of its staff and managing the change process. Acceval was chosen as an outcome of this thorough evaluation and tendering process. Despite having many multinational companies under its belt, Acceval had to beat top brand-name software vendors and a well known management consultant with pricing software offering. Acceval’s software solution is multi-faceted and goes beyond just optimising pricing. It also provided the platform to generate price guidance to sales executives; enabled real time deal decision support to evaluate discount requests and volume allocation decisions; and negotiate deal terms based on various pricing models and next best alternative considerations. Beyond the core requirements, the software also supports advanced capabilities such as pricing power assessment, advanced customer segmentation / offerings alignment, customer value pricing and channel optimization. Acceval initially implemented its pricing solution in a pilot project with Petronas’ chemicals division.The project’s success led to subsequent projects with other Petronas businesses. “The chosen pilot was highly challenging in terms of business and pricing complexity. Yet, Acceval successfully delivered the software, reengineered process and built competency of people. We developed innovative processes, pricing models and volume prioritization capabilities which helped the client achieve better business performance and financial results,” said Chung Chee Kong, Managing Director of Acceval.

ricing is a major lever impacting profitability. Yet this is not competently managed in many B2B companies. Compounding this lack of pricing excellence capability is the fact that pricing in the commodity product industry (such as petroleum and petrochemical), is challenging, due to high volatility of product and feedstock prices. The business benefit of achieving pricing excellence in B2B industries is significant, typically in the range of 1-3% of revenue i.e. US$10-30 million/yr for a company with sales of US$1 billion/year. Despite the substantial potential benefits, there is high organization inertia towards pricing capability improvement in the commodity product industries, due to a number of factors; including misconceptions about the relevance of pricing management. One of the few exceptions is Petronas Chemicals Marketing Sdn Bhd (PCM), a leading chemicals producer which clearly understood the importance and benefits of pricing excellence. As part of its profitability improvement drive, Petronas embarked on a strategic project with Acceval, a pricing and commercial excellence software and consulting firm, to transform the company’s pricing and sales effectiveness capability enabled by a data-driven pricing and margin management software. For Petronas, achieving optimum pricing and pricing discipline was paramount to the company’s success. “We were looking at an overall commercial excellence beyond 2020. We understand that price is the easiest and yet the most impactful lever to attain profitability,” explains Akbar Md Thayoob, CEO of PCM explained. Transformation journey In planning for the project, Petronas went through an extensive process to choose its vendor. This included a comprehensive evaluation of the pricing and commercial excellence tools in fulfilling Petronas’ current and future capability requirements across the different businesses within 34 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

This approach was what Petronas had been looking for.

More than just software implementation This integrated approach was exactly what Petronas had been looking for. In picking Acceval, Petronas was not only looking for another software to use; it was in fact searching for an

Computer Software Case Study of The Year end-to-end solution which will help boost the capability of its commercial team and help them understand concepts in pricing and progress through stages of pricing maturity. “Acceval’s solution is configurable and easy to navigate. The solution we have is basically for decision support - it automatically pulls data from readily available sources such as the publications that we subscribe to and our own data. For example, long-term contract formula-based pricing decision support is provided to propose and negotiate price formula. During execution, final price are calculated when they are due. Data no longer remains in a spread sheet kept by individuals, but is maintained in a transparent manner in the system,” Akbar says.“With their previous work in other organizations who we consider as our peers, we learned about leading practices from AcceVal. Over a short period of time in our collaboration, AcceVal behaves as ‘coach’ rather than as a consultant,” Akbar adds. As a result of Acceval’s program, significant changes were seen among the Petronas sales team. “In term of capabilities, we are changing our sales team into value negotiators, who can articulate defensible arguments to convey the values of our product and services to our customers. This involved a mindset change. We no longer refer to Floor Price, instead we talk about Offer Price, and people are aware of the contribution margins generated in the system for every deal,” Akbar says. Showcasing pricing and commercial excellence At present, beyond providing pricing software and consulting, Acceval also offers services in pricing and commercial excellence training and certification through collaboration with pricing insititute such as Asia Pricing Professionals. “Our software uses a comprehensive pricing and commercial excellence framework which is innovated based on decades of management consulting experience, beyond the typical framework which primarily focuses on transactional pricing but without other crucial elements important for decision support such as industry dynamics and customer value, behaviour and needs,” Chung says. Thanks to its array of software solutions, the company

Optimising revenue opportunities


cceVal is a Singapore-based software cum consulting company which specializes in margin optimization through pricing and commercial excellence. It was founded in 2006 by a team of consultants and solution architects led by Chung Chee Kong, who now serves as the company’s managing director. It provides services across multiple industries including manufacturing (particularly petrochemical / petroleum / chemical and also pharmaceutical, consumer products), as well as services industries

is able to help stem revenue leakages brought about by unwarranted discounts during sales quotation and nonsystematic deal negotiation processes, and reduce lost revenue and margin opportunities brought about by under-pricing and sub-optimal volume prioritization decisions. Petronas is full of praises for its consultant. “Overall everyone involved in the solution, from business to our IT support personnel, has benefitted from this journey,” Akbar says. “On the whole the solution has been an asset to our business – it enables decisions to be made quicker and automates the underlying calculations. When asked if it would recommend Acceval’s business solution to other enterprises, Petronas’ response was a resounding yes—for its associates and sister companies, in particular. As for its competitors, Petronas would rather keep Acceval’s expertise to itself. Chung stressed the need for pricing software among firms. “Companies that are profitable doesn’t mean that all their transactions are profitable or there is no room for further revenue and/or profit improvement. Even profitable companies can benefit from further revenue & profitability improvement using advanced pricing process and techniques,“ he says. “In fact, pricing excellence is more crucial during business downturn or challenging market environment, such as the current period of low oil/commodity product prices,” he adds. (eg telecommunications). Acceval has proven its ability to shape strategy, execute and realize business value for its clients. AcceVal offers a host of innovative software solutions that uses a comprehensive pricing and commercial excellence framework. The solution analyses not only transactional data but also external data, including customer survey feedback, market dynamics data and modelling of deal pricing power. It supports advanced customer segmentation techniques, and boasts enterprise-level customer value pricing capability to enable salespersons to negotiate with their customers based on value, rather than just based on price. “With our previous management and technology consulting experience, the tool we built delivers very significant benefits because it addressed the constraints and weaknesses of the various software in the market,” says Chung. For a company like Acceval, its current success could have only been possible through years of solid experience its founders have had over the years, particularly in high-wattage firms such as Accenture, Deloitte, SAP, among others. Going forward, Chung says that AcceVal is looking to extend its solution in the banking industry where its software solution is equally relevant. SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 35


These trailblazers are leading Singapore’s ultra-competitive corporate scene


relentless drive for excellence and the unceasing pursuit of innovation are necessary for companies looking to succeed in Singapore’s cutthroat corporate scene. Singapore Business Review is thrilled to honour the city-state’s most outstanding firms at the recently-concluded International Business Awards, Listed Companies Awards, and National Business Awards. The winners were honoured at an awards ceremony held on June 28 at Conrad Centennial Singapore, which drew over 170 top-level executives from the winning companies. Some of the key people who arrived were from SMRT, PMsquare, and i-Sprint among others. The International Business Awards, now in its third year, honoured twelve companies from ten countries. The second Listed Companies Awards and the inaugural National Business Awards, meanwhile, recognised thirteen companies from diverse industries including pharmaceuticals, technology, and hospitality. It has been a spectacular night filled with recognition and networking. SBR congratulates all winners, as follows: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS AIA Singapore Life Insurance Longview Solutions Analytics Conergy Asia & ME Pte Ltd Energy Continental Automotive Singapore Automotive & Transport System Drake International (Singapore) Limited Human Resource Technology Globaleye Financial Services AkzoNobel Marine Coatings Marine Services NTT Communications IT Services NXP Semiconductors Electronics PMsquare Consulting 36 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

Robert Bosch (SEA) Pte Ltd Materials & Construction Romer Labs Singapore Pte Ltd Food Safety LISTED COMPANIES AWARDS iX Biopharma Ltd Pharmaceuticals SMRT Buses Ltd Technology OUE Limited Real Estate NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS Black Marketing - Enabling LinkedIn For You Social Media Marketing CCCS International Learning Institute Education Consistel (Singapore) Pte Ltd Telecommunications i-Sprint Innovations Pte Ltd Technology International SOS Health Products and Services MC Payment Financial Technology One Farrer Hotel & Spa Hospitality & Leisure RT LLP Accounting Services THE MUSIC PARLOUR PTE. LTD Music ViewQwest Broadband Telecommunications

Albert Ho of iX Biopharma Ltd

Masoud Bassiri with the Consistel team

Steven Neo of NTT Singapore

Chris Reed of Black Marketing

Andy Hung of NXP Semiconductors

Tim Searle of Globaleye

Anthony Koh of MC Payment

Tan Kian Heong of SMRT Buses Ltd


i-Sprint Innovations Pte Ltd

Continental Automotive Singapore

Jan Vanbrabant of Biomin Asia Pacific on behalf of Romer Labs Singapore Pte Ltd

Hendrik Bohne of Conergy Asia & ME Pte Ltd 38 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016

Henry Tan delivering congratulatory remarks on behalf of judges

Ekrem Namazci of Longview Solutions

Juliana Gim of International SOS

Durrah Hamdam of Drake International (Singapore) Limited

Robert Wong of AkzoNobel Marine Coatings

Robert Bosch (SEA) Pte Ltd

AIA Singapore

NTT Singapore


Lo Kien Foh of Continental Automotive Singapore


iX Biopharma Ltd

Denise Orr of Robert Bosch (SEA) Pte Ltd

Black Marketing

Conergy Asia & ME Pte Ltd



Networking Dinner

Patrick Teo of AIA Singapore

Drake International (Singapore) Limited

One Farrer Hotel & Spa

AkzoNobel Marine Coatings

Samuel Veera Singaram of CCCS International Learning Institute SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW | SEPTEMBER 2016 41

Broadband Communications

ViewQwest’s 2Gbps broadband for homes is a game changer ViewQwest is expanding as fast as its broadband speeds, looking to bring its innovative technologies across the South-east Asia region.


op-of-the-line customer service and ultra-fast internet access are what sets ViewQwest apart from other internet service providers (ISP). Founded by CEO Vignesa Moorthy in 2001, ViewQwest started by selling ADSL broadband lines and managed services to businesses in Singapore. A pioneer network engineer himself, Mr Moorthy used his veteran experience in innovative solutions into rolling out innovative solutions such as bringing broadband Internet and Netscape into the TV screens of hotel rooms. Achieving 2Gbps for residential users While Mr Moorthy describes ViewQwest as a boutique ISP that is “fanatical” about customer service, he is quick to add that it’s not the end-all-be-all for the company’s top-notch service. “We have always been


the first to introduce new technology to the Singaporean market,” Mr Moorthy says. Among ViewQwest’s groundbreaking offerings include being the first ISP outside of Japan to introduce internet speeds of 2Gbps for residential users, which put Singapore on the global map as a technology leader. But achieving 2Gbps was no walk in the park, even for ViewQwest’s team of engineers. Mr Moorthy wasn’t going to settle for less, saying “Where other ISPs may have taken the easy route of just offering two separate 1Gbps connections and calling it 2Gbps, we refused to compromise. The bandwidth had to come from a single strand of fiber.” Meanwhile, ViewQwest’s Freedom VPN service, which unlocks geo-restricted content for Singaporean users, is also

equally revolutionary and has been the talk of the town over the years. By placing the VPN smarts at the back-end, ViewQwest users no longer need to fiddle with complicated settings and complex configurations to catch the latest content from the US, UK and China. ViewQwest’s accolades and future plans Despite being a relatively young ISP, ViewQwest has had its fair share of recognitions, including the prestigious National Business Award for Broadband at Singapore Business Review’s National Business Awards 2016. “Our success stems from our willingness to innovate, our team of dedicated staff and most importantly our loyal customers that has given us their unwavering support,” Mr Moorthy says.

Innovative Testing Solutions.

Romer Labs Singapore Pte Ltd 3791 Jalan Bukit Merah #08-08, E-Centre@Redhill, Singapore 159471 T +65 6631 8018 | |

Social Media Marketing

How do you become a LinkedIn superstar?

Black Marketing makes clients stand out in a world saturated with social media.


ith all the social networking sites across the web, only a several few stand out for companies and entrepreneurs alike that want to grow their respective businesses. This includes the business-oriented site LinkedIn, which is enjoying a period of growth in Asia. “LinkedIn in Asia is booming,” says Chris J Reed, the Global CEO and founder of B2B marketing consultancy Black Marketing. “It has gone up from 25 million to 100 million in the seven years that I have been in Asia. This is the place to be to enjoy LinkedIn growth.” But with all of the profiles on LinkedIn, how does one stand out? Enter Black Marketing and its services involving LinkedIn. The consultancy’s services include enhancing personal brands, creating B2B content marketing strategy, and enhancing LinkedIn and Google SEO through LinkedIn optimization of profiles.

Making superstars “We make superstars of our clients on LinkedIn. No one else does that,” says Chris. “Many others do training but we do actually implementation, that’s the part that takes the time and we personalise it which takes even longer.” Chris notes that the company has perfected a four-tier strategy for its clients involving LinkedIn: creating and implementing a personal branding strategy, thought leadership, content marketing, and new business generation using LinkedIn data -- with all four tiers involving CEOs. The latter aims to find the perfect clients for them and company branding/employer branding across LinkedIn, so that searches yield a very engaging LinkedIn profile. Black Marketing’s clients include some of the largest marketing agencies in the world inside groups WPP and IPG, and some of the most famous brands.

Chris J. Reed



CCCS International Learning Institute envisions a secure Singapore

Singapore is facing a massive security shortage, with recent data detailing a deficit of almost 10,000 guards.


ith the increasing number of terrorist threats worldwide, CCCS International Learning Institute aims to help resolve this gaping hole in the city-state’s security industry by educating Singaporeans on how they can help keep the city secure. Founded and owned by Singapore Customs Credit Cooperative Society Ltd. Mr S Krishnan, Chairman of Customs Credit Cooperative Society said that CCCS International Learning Institute aspires to become a security training organisation, along with its other capabilities which include early childhood, sports-related, and customs-related programmes.

Family Service Centres, SelfHelp Groups such as Mendaki, Sinda, Chinese Development Assistance Council, and the Eurasian Association of Singapore, in providing continuing education and training for low income families.” CCCS also has both the capability and the capacity to deliver “quality security training programmes, early childhood programmes, sportsrelated programmes and customs-related courses as a credible training organization that supports the national agenda of promoting life-longlearning and nurturing a community of learners.””

Conducting trainings Samuel Veera Singaram, Director of Training and Marketing says CCCS is also committed to supporting the Singapore government’s initiatives for adult training to equip its citizens careerbased learning to develop a progressive and an inclusive workforce. Additionally, CCCS also has an extensive network of various co-operative groups, CDCs, self-help groups, and other community and corporate stakeholders. According to its website, as a nonprofit organisation, its intention is “to work collaboratively with all CDCs, Voluntary Welfare Based Organisations,

Building an Adult Education Centre In its effort to build a top-of-the-line Adult Education Centre, CCCS has achieved Council of Private Education, Ministry for Education status, and has achieved WDA/WSQ status for offering WSQ courses in security, Singaram says. It has also achieved a training organisation status under SkillsFutureCredit, ISO 9001 status, ISO 18000 OHSAS status, and Bizsafe status with the Ministry of Manpower of Singapore. Singaram adds that these achievements were completed in a span of only 15 months.


National Business Award to Consistel for Sports Hub network design and installation

Consistel has its eyes set on further expansion and more innovative solutions.


ustling Singapore is a highly connected place, with its people constantly using their phones, tablets or computers to communicate with friends and loved ones. And as the population grows, as consumer demand for better services grows, telcos should be pushing for further innovation and growth. “Singapore is a data-intensive market that requires high speed and broad access,” says Anne Dellos, spokesperson of Consistel, a leading provider of global indoor wireless systems and software solutions. “Consistel has developed a well-earned reputation for bringing innovative business models and great technology to address the needs of the market.” With OMG!, Consistel’s subsidiary that is vying for the fourth telco license in Singapore, the company is taking a fresh

look at the marketplace in addressing both data and mobility requirements. “Without legacy infrastructure, but with a huge amount of experience in building infrastructure via Consistel, OMG! is looking at innovative solutions to the typical causes of dissatisfaction among Singaporean consumers,” says Masoud Bassiri, Chairman of both Consistel and OMG!, “These include roaming charges, speed and reception, vague contracts, customer service and pricing plans.” In fact, Bassiri cites data from Blackbox Research, which reports that less than 30% of customers in Singapore are ‘delighted’ with their current service provider. Presence and track record Consistel has a long history in the deployment of mobile technology that

OMG will benefit from. It has designed and built wireless networks in over 3,000 buildings worldwide, and its customers include M1, Starhub and SingTel. The company recently won a National Business Award for the design, installation and operation of the WiFi network at the Singapore Sports Hub. “Providing ubiquitous high-performance wireless communication is part of today’s in-venue expectation – whether a hotel, a residential development, a shopping centre or a stadium. But venues are now realizing that communication networks can also be a competitive advantage,” says Ms. Dellos. “The ability for brands to serve location-based advertising and to ‘engage’ with audiences and fans has become critical to the WiFi experience. We design and install networks with advertising capability and ROI as a primary focus now.”

Co-published corporate profile Automotive & Transport System

Continental tackles mobility challenges with innovative tech platform

The multinational firm is boosting its backend infrastructure to fulfill Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.


ingapore is driven to become a global hub for intelligent transport solutions. Continental Automotive Singapore is at the forefront of this initiative, as exemplified by the recent launch of its innovative application Park&Go @SG for iOS along with new added features for Android. The app was developed by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Lab, and represents Continental’s focus on new mobility services. “The original intention is to help our local drivers resolve traffic congestion by navigating efficiently to the available parking places in Singapore,” says Lo Kien Foh, Managing Director of Continental Automotive Singapore. “We recognize that planning an efficient car journey does not only depend on modern GPS navigation for the optimal route but also a way to ensure a quick and stress-free

parking solution especially with Singapore’s high population density. With Park&Go @ SG, drivers can effectively plan their journey in advance and minimize their frustration in finding a parking space,” Lo adds. Going beyond parking Park&Go @SG is much more than a travel planning app. The app comes with its own backend infrastructure, the Continental Backend Platform. This platform is tagged to become a key enabler of Smart Mobility, essential to Singapore’s Smart Nation initiatives. “With Singapore’s drive to fulfill its vision of driverless vehicles on its roads in the foreseeable future, backend services provided by Continental will ultimately form an integral subset of the Autonomous Driving ecosystem in Singapore,” Lo notes. Park&Go @SG is a step in the right direction, but Continental continues to

see challenges for the application, such as in terms of meeting users’ needs and implementing them as fast as possible. “Another challenging aspect of today’s individual mobility pattern pertains to the fact that we are still not connected endto-end; for instance through First Mile and Last Mile. Continental is constantly brainstorming on how to close this loop and make a complete end-to-end solution for its users,” Lo adds. The launch of Park&Go @SG also provides Continental the platform and opportunity to increase its technical competency in apps development and creation. “These approaches are in line with our attempt to stretch our know-how in R&D outside of our traditional setups. This is an aligned corporate strategy to keep us engaged with the consumer world that has increasing relevant crossing between the IoT and the automotive industry.“


i-Sprint wages a war against frauds with sophisticated identity of things solutions AccessReal provides peace of mind with bank-grade data protection.


Dutch Ng

t is understandable if companies fret over issues such as authentication and identity assurance of their products. After all, their names are on the line if they become involved in product identity or counterfeiting issues, among others, that will turn off their consumers, even if these companies were not involved at all. Deftly addressing complex operations However, business partners Albert Ching and Dutch Ng found that there was a lack of providers that could offer a comprehensive suite of identity, credential and access management solutions for organizations to address the various aspects of authentication and identity assurance requirements. This led the two in 2000 to establish i-Sprint Innovations (i-Sprint), a global Identity and Access Management (IAM) software company which offers a suite of proven award winning IAM solutions. These help their clients address their user

authentication and user administration challenges, compliance requirements and technology risk needs. Albert serves as Vice Chairman and CTO while Dutch is CEO. Their solutions have been successfully deployed in many global organizations with complex operations such as Citibank N.A., UBS A.G., Credit Suisse, Bank of China, CTBC Bank, UOB, OCBC, Ambank, IRAS, Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Mizhuho, and Bank of America. “Over the years, we saw market issues such as fake products and our customers also need to provide more value to the end customers,” says Dutch. “These incidents have driven us to extend our knowledge on bank-grade digital identity protection to product identity.” Next-gen identification solutions This led them to develop AccessReal, a next-gen product identity, anti-counterfeiting, track and trace, and interactive consumer engagement solution. It has incorporated world-class, bank-grade data protection and identity assurance features for authenticating the identity of things.

Health Products & Services

International SOS’ integrated digital travel risk management solution wins award

International SOS ( has won an award at the inaugural National Business Awards in the Health Products and Services category.


he home-grown company, which was founded in 1985, was recognised for award-winning Assistance App, TravelTracker and TravelReady programmes which provide an end-to-end technological solution for preventing and managing travel risk. The award win reflects International SOS’ core competencies and emphasis on technology-based services and innovation which are a fundamental part of the preventive programme it offers to clients. International SOS’s integrated digital travel risk mitigation solutions, including the Assistance App, TravelTracker and TravelReady, are fully integrated with its 27 global Assistance Centres which operate 24/7. Their expertise is unique: more than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists. who work 24/7

to protect their members. Integrating their digital solutions to the Assistance Centre ensures that their members receive the emergency assistance from medical and security specialists during critical illness, accident or civil unrest. Riding with globalisation “With globalisation, more and more employees are travelling and working across borders. World events over the last 15 years have made businesses more aware of the need to proactively manage the risks facing their global workforce and fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities. To meet this, International SOS continues to develop solutions to assist clients in preventing and mitigating their exposure to risks as quickly as possible,” said Managing Director of

International SOS Singapore, Juliana Gim. The award-winning Assistance App delivers travel information, advice and connectivity into the hands of business travellers and international assignees in four languages - English, French, Chinese and Japanese. The market-leading app is at the heart of the organisation’s digital interaction with the millions of travelling International SOS members. TravelTracker, the world’s leading travel tracking solution, helps organisations quickly respond to a critical event by identifying employees at risk of exposure and facilitating communications with them through integrated email and optional SMS. Employers also have 24/7 web-based access to a simple, aggregated view of their employees’ travel during an incident.

Financial Technology

MC Payment:

Over a decade of revolutionising digital payments

The company has grown beyond payments with innovative industry solutions.


ayment transactions are at the centre of commerce and business transactions. However, at the turn of the millennium, Asia’s emerging payments landscape lacked an efficient and effective digital payments system, making business deals tedious. Realising this, Mr Anthony Koh and Mr Kim Moon Soo founded MC Payment, which provided firms an easy, seamless, and secure way to process payments digitally. Established in 2005, MC Payment is a financial technology service and business solutions provider which supports the end-to-end value-chain of commerce transactions. The company facilitates supplier, merchant, and consumer transactions through its platform. Eleven years later, MC Payment is still all about revolutionising digital payments. Mr Koh says, “We have expanded our physical presence into Southeast Asia and Oceania, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.” As it operates in diverse markets, Mr Koh adds that MC Payment continually analyses market opportunities so it can meet Singapore Business Review - Taste of One Farrer

the needs of each market, while simultaneously facilitating cross-border payment transactions for businesses operating within these regions. While payment services remain MC Payment’s strength, Mr Koh says the company has also grown beyond payments, with innovative industry solutions helping improve businesses’ operational efficiencies across the industrial spectrum, such as for transportation and retail. Taste of One Farrer

A new experience in outside catering

processing also reduces businesses’ collection expenses that are incurred by sending and tracking invoices, as well as posting payments. Poised for expansion Looking ahead, Mr Koh says MC Payment is looking to expand into new markets, especially in Southeast Asia, in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, for volumetric growth. It is also primed to make bigger splashes and larger waves in the financial technology space, as Mr Koh quips that it is set to launch with one of the world’s leading nutrition and health companies.

6705 7832 What is Xaavan? MC Payment has also recently unveiled Xaavan, an online supply chain payment and e-invoicing platform. It is also the first MasterCard-certified, Level 3 enhanced data processing solution in Asia. “Xaavan utilises digital payment solutions to automate invoicing, driving efficiency throughout the supply chain. As such, the conventional purchasing and billing process is streamlined and the average duration is reduced by up to 90%, saving precious time for businesses” Mr Koh explains. Electronic authorisation and payment Ad (210x130mm with 3mm bleed)FA -bigger fonts-path.pdf

1 11/8/16 Anthony Koh

3:57 AM


Accounting Services

Accounting that transcends borders The RT ASEAN Network looks beyond traditional accounting services.


he says. “ It is only logical that professional service providers should come together, especially from ASEAN to support growth, investment and demand for services in ASEAN and beyond.” He mentions that while there are a number of foreign accounting networks in Singapore, however, in targeting to be an Accountancy Hub, Singapore does not have one to call a Singaporean network. RT LLP is the first locally branded Singapore firm to form a regional network of accounting and finance professionals. However, RT ASEAN network goes beyond traditional accounting services, and is multidisciplinary in nature.

he Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Singapore is a member, says the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 was a major milestone in terms of the group’s economic integration agenda. And how could it be not, given that ASEAN says the AEC offers opportunities involving a US$2.6 trillion market and more than 622 million people. The huge potential in the ASEAN network was what led to the establishment by the RT Group, led by CEO & Managing Partner of RT LLP Ravi Arumugam, of the RT ASEAN Network. RT ASEAN Network is a network of firms under the RT brand to service the ASEAN footprint. The network is headquartered in Singapore. Ravi’s aim was to set up a Singapore branded network with the vision to expand beyond our shores and into the region. “The potential and possibilities the ASEAN region has to offer is tremendous,”

No ordinary network “The network is also the first of its kind in linking accounting and finance professionals that do not fall within the norms of traditional accounting services,” says Ravi. The network’s value proposition is in its

diverse offering of professional services by member firms who can provide full services in home countries and at the same time they have the know-how and competence to provide cross border services. Apart from members from ASEAN, the network has presence in China, India and Australia. It is expected that the network will grow to 30 countries by 2020. “RT ASEAN leverages on cultural diversity, which is pivotal to successful integration and internationalization of the network,” says Ravi. “The diversity of cultures, languages and professional expertise provide a vibrant, multi-disciplinary network that facilitates doing business across borders in a seamless fashion.” Ravi Arumugam’s advice and believe: “Boundaries are for those with limited minds. Expansion beyond boundaries are for those who dare to be different, want to make the difference and want to be different – the absolute right and freedom of the romantics who listen to their hearts.”


Please don’t stop the music:

The Music Parlour presents a haven for local artists This new downtown hideout has become increasingly popular among local musicians.


inger, songwriter, performer and music producer, Jaye knows all too well the importance of having a place where musicians can work on their craft. This is why he co-founded The Music Parlour, a downtown hideout for musicians to immerse in their craft through jamming, recording and gigs. Conducive to creativity Jaye established The Music Parlour along with fellow musician, songwriter and performer Justin Mendoza, whom he met in a band. justin is an audio engineer also, and together, they noticed that there is no all-in-one space for musicians to rehearse, record, perform and promote their material, and so The Music Parlour was born. “The venue is a great place to check out local established and upcoming acts through the many intimate concerts held in-house, with international acts also making their occasional

appearances,” says Jaye. The Music Parlour is located in the heart of the city, where many music shops can be found. There is also a cosy lounge filled with acoustic instruments and a bookshelf littered with vinyl records and all things musical for hangouts. But what really makes The Music Parlour stand out is that its three jamming studios can all be combined into one bigger studio. “This means that the space is flexible, and can be used as a jamming studio, a recording studio and even an intimate concert venue,” shares Jaye. Fostering musical passion Since the studio launched in February this year, it has gained a strong online following with consistent 5-star ratings and reviews. Notable clients include Charlie Lim, Dru Chen, Tim De Cotta, Disco Hue, Take Two, Stopgap, and the

internationally renowned Blue Man Group. Commercial clients include Zouk, Starbucks, Baybeats, National Kidney Foundation, National Bone Marrow Programme and NTUC Club. The Music Parlour has gained over a dozen partners such as Esplanade, Bandwagon, Invasion, and with endorsements by Gibson Brands, Audio-Technica and Klipsch. Jaye says that in the future, The Music Parlour plans to include record label expansion and to introduce music training, apart from their other bigger plans in the pipeline. “Passion for music is what fuels the team to keep pushing on and providing the best experience possible every day. You could call this place a home for music lovers. Step right in and embrace the good vibes,” Jaye passionately says.

SAVE THE DATE 12-13 OCTOBER 2016 Retail Congress Asia Pacific will take place in vibrant Kuala Lumpur on 12-13 October 2016. The theme for this year’s Congress is “The evolution of retail in Asia Pacific: innovation and disruption”. It brings together all of the key issues facing retailers across this large and vitally important region. Confirmed speakers include executives from: Alibaba, Al Futtaim, Google, Carrefour, Lazada, IKEA, Robinsons, LVMH, Zalora, NTUC Fairprice Co-operative, Nike and Love, Bonito. Join this exclusive networking event while gathering insights into growth market opportunities, enhancing the customer experience, how to profitably deliver an omnichannel strategy and more.




Singapore Business Review (August-September 2016)  
Singapore Business Review (August-September 2016)