T H E O F F I C I AL MAG AZIN E O F TH E BRIT IS H CHA MBER OF COMMERCE - S ING AP ORE
I S S U E 25 : J U N E J U LY 2010
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CORPORATE BANKING & PERSONAL FINANCE
BRITCHAM AGM 2010 BRITCHAM BOARD 201011
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
FUTUREPROOFING YOUR BUSINESS FOR FUTURE SUCCESS
building networks connecting business creating opportunities
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AGM 2010 – A New Year Heralds a Brighter Future
AGM 2010 – A New Year Heralds a Brighter Future
June Feature – Cor porate Bank ing and Personal Finance
12 - 19
June Feature Topic: Corporate Banking the Personal Finance
20 - 21
The Future of Transctions: Innovating for a better customer experience – RBS
Strategies for dealing with reduced external liquidity – HSBC
Investing: A Lifetime Commitment – Standard Chartered
Getting out of and staying out of debt - iPac
Impact of British design on the Singapore skyline – UKTI
Economic and Business Insights
Public relations has changed… for the better – EastWestPR
AIM: A Steady Ship in Choppy Waters? – FirstBranding
Round 2 of the Credit Crunch – The Extreme View – SgWealth
UK Inﬂation Spikes – Interest Rates Remain Flat – Bad News for Savers – The Fry Group
Corporate Social Responsibility
Futureprooﬁng Your Business for Future Success - Grayling
High Commission News
Lord Mayor Visit and UKTI Calendar
Chamber news updates June-July
BCC Young Professionals / New Members
Business Awards 2010 / Members Oﬀers
Inside Britain – UK-Singapore Collaborations
30 - 33
CSR – Futureprooﬁng your Business for Future Success Page
EDITORIAL Editor: Sebastien Barnard
Orient is a bi-monthly magazine published by the British Chamber of Commerce.
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The views and opinions expressed or implied in Orient are those of the authors or contributors and do not reﬂect those of the British Chamber of Commerce, its ofﬁcers or editorial staff. All rights reserved. No reproduction of articles without the prior permission of the Chamber. Unsolicited transparencies ad articles are sent at owners’ own risk and the Chamber accepts no liability for loss or damage. orient 1
BritCham Events Sustainable Supply Chain Practices – Hit or Myth?
63 - 64
BBC’s Close Encounter with Indonesia’s Orang Utans
Members – Sterling News
Breakfast Club: An Introduction to Commercial Marine Salvage
Breakfast Club: Cut Your Marketing Budgets and Make Every Employee a Brand Champion
Breakfast Club: What Makes A Successful Entrepreneur?
Economic Brieﬁng: How to Tame a Dragon
CSR Seminar: CSR Seminar 2010
Lord Mayor Lunch: The City Today – Opportunities for Partnership
Ossie Ardiles - BP Evening
New Members Evening
Members - Corporate News
Close encounter with Indonesia’s endangered Orang-Utans - BBC
Christine Kernohan – Gladstone Vineyard – Rubicon Reserves Wines
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, SINGAPORE SPONSORS PLATINUM SPONSORS
BREAKFAST CLUB SPONSOR
BRITCHAM WINE SPONSOR
Pr e s i d e n t ’s M e s s a g e Dear Members, It is an honour to have been elected by your incoming board as your President. I took over the reins from our outgoing President, Terry O’Connor, at the AGM held on 19th May. On behalf of the Board and our members I thanked Terry for his years of service and many achievements throughout his tenure and presented him with a plaque to commemorate the occasion. As has been customary in recent years, the AGM was held at Eden Hall and we thank His Excellency the British High Commissioner Paul Madden for once again welcoming us into his home. The turnout was excellent. Appreciation and thanks is due to outgoing Board Member Chris Hurd of HSBC, for the strong support given during his term of ofﬁce. I welcome new Members of the Board, Emma Boyd, Ingrid Child and Andrew Vine. In addition I am pleased that Hugo Walkinshaw will continue as Honorary Secretary and Peter Allen will continue as our Treasurer - their contribution is important to the continued good stewardship of the Chamber’s affairs. In leading your new Board I am supported by elected Vice Presidents Chris Claridge and Chris Davies. The foundation of our Chamber’s activities continues to be our four committees and our active business groups. Our Membership Committee continues to be led by Simon Wilson, our Events Committee will be led this year by Philippe Touati, Chris Davies leads our Marketing & Communications Committee, Terry O’Connor has agreed to continue to lead our External Affairs Committee and I will continue to lead our CSR Committee. Our business groups are core to our offering and provide the opportunity and focus for members to network, to leverage their experience, and to participate in business-speciﬁc events. The Chamber now has seven active and growing business groups.
Over the past month or so we have a number of stand-out events. Our annual CSR seminar, at the Shangri La, was well received by all who attended and my thanks go to the speakers from CSR Asia, World Wildlife Fund and DHL, for ﬁrst-class presentations. The Lord Mayor of the City of London proved to be a particularly engaging speaker at our Leaders in Business luncheon and our annual Golf Tournament hit the usual heights, with a full complement of golfers enjoying the challenge of Sentosa’s Serapong course. Coming up; preparations are well in hand for the British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Business Awards, which are produced in collaboration with UKTI. This year will be the 11th year and in the call for nominations you will possibly have noticed some changes to the format, which it is hoped will give the Awards a wider reaching. Eligibility has been made simpler and there are eight reshaped award categories, which will broaden the opportunity to highlight business achievements at this exciting and prestigious event. This year the Awards will be held on October 7th and the Guest of Honour will be the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr. S. Iswaran (Member of Parliament). In recent years we have built a strong foundation, with an engaged Board and a committed Executive Team. Moving forward we look to grow the Chamber, broadening our reach and improving our offering to members. With your continued interest and participation in our activities, I am sure we can scale even greater heights.
Steve Puckett President British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore
BRITCHAM BOARD: PRESIDENT: Steve Puckett - Tri-Zen International VICE-PRESIDENTS: Chris Claridge – TCP Group Chris Davies TREASURER: Peter Allen - Paciﬁc Century Regional Development HONORARY SECRETARY: Hugo Walkinshaw - Deloitte Consulting, SE Asia EX-OFFICIO: Amanda Brooks - British High Commission Mark Howard - British Council BOARD MEMBERS: Alan Goodyear Andrew Wine David Conway Emma Boyd Ingrid Child John Horsburgh Kevin Burke Nick McGylynn Philippe Touati Pek Hak Bin Richard Burn Roman Scott Stephen Crisp Simon Wilson
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RBS The Insight Bureau Pte Ltd Jupiter Asset Management Limited Ernst and Young Solutions LLP HSBC Singapore Rolls Royce Singapore Pte Ltd Barclays Bank PLC British Airways Standard Chartered Bank BP Singapore Pte Ltd Diageo Calamander Group BT Singapore Lloyd’s Asia
COMMITTEES: Events: Philippe Touati Membership: Simon Wilson Corporate Social Responsibility: Steve Puckett External Affairs: Terry O’Connor Marketing & Communications: Chris Davies Young Professionals: Mile Gooseman BUSINESS GROUPS: Energy & Utilities: Damian Adams Entrepreneur & Small Business: Richard Ayres Financial Services: David Conway IT and Communications Technology: Richard Richardson Professional Services: Tulika Tripathi Media & Marketing: Fiona MacKinnon Shipping, Transport & Logistics: Neil Johnson MANAGEMENT TEAM: Executive Director: Brigitte Holtschneider Events & Sponsorship: Melanie Hewlett Events Support: Tiffeny Kua Marketing & Communications: Sebastien Barnard Membership Manager: Katie Hudson Membership Support: Rabiatul Adawiyah Accounts: Emmeline Ng
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, SINGAPORE STERLING MEMBERS
share in our success Royal Skandia in Singapore is a premier provider of offshore investment solutions within Skandia International. We offer access to a wide range of assets from a large number of third-party fund managers and other organisations. We have extensive experience in providing services for international investors. But don’t just take our word for it. Financial services experts at ‘International Investment’– the authoritative UK magazine for international advisers – have just judged Skandia International the very first winner of their new award in 2009: Best International Provider – Far East. Skandia International are also proud winners of their Best International Life Group and Best Commitment to Service awards. If you’d like to invest with a leading company that really understands the needs of international investors, ask your financial adviser how you can share in our success.
Skandia International is the divisional name for the international group of companies within the Skandia Group. Calls may be monitored and recorded for training purposes and to avoid misunderstandings. Royal Skandia Life Assurance Limited (Singapore Branch), Level 25, North Tower, One Raffles Quay, Singapore 048583. Phone: +65 6622 5406 Fax: +65 6622 5400 Registered in Singapore number T08FC7158E. Authorised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to conduct life assurance business in Singapore. Member of the Life Insurance Association of Singapore. Member of the Singapore Finance Dispute Resolution Scheme. Royal Skandia Life Assurance Limited is registered in the Isle of Man under number 24916C. Registered and Head Office: Skandia House, King Edward Road, Onchan, Isle of Man, IM99 1NU, British Isles. Phone: +44 (0) 1624 655 555 Fax: +44 (0) 1624 611 715. Authorised by the Isle of Man Government Insurance & Pensions Authority.
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AGM 2010
eld once again within the elegant surroundings of Eden Hall, the residence of HE Paul Madden, British High Commissioner to Singapore, the 2010 British Chamber of Commerce AGM kicked oﬀ with 80 members in attendance, on Wednesday, 19th May 2010.
A welcome address by HE Paul Madden, started oﬀ proceedings. This was followed by Terry O’Connor’s Presidents Report in which he took the members through some of the highlights and initiatives of the Chamber in 2009. Terry followed up with the key developments for 2010 after which Hugo Walkinshaw stepped in, (as former Treasurer in the absence of Peter Allen, 2010 Treasurer), to give a summary report of the Chamber’s ﬁnancial position at the end of 2009.
For those members who were unable to make the AGM, the following is a quick summary update of the Presidents Report and Treasurers Report as presented on the night. Presidents Report 2009 – An economically very challenging year for many businesses
Membership – Continued Growth The British Chamber of Commerce experienced further network development in 2009. Total membership expanded to 1,109 executives, a 32% growth from the previous year. Despite the harder economic times the Chamber welcomed 577 new members to the network in 2009.
Adapting to the changing economic climate and the changing needs of the membership, the Chamber focused upon helping and assisting members to manage the challenges and beneﬁt from the opportunities, by providing insights into how to manage a business in the downturn, engagement with the SingaporeTripartism partners, engagement with EDB to learn ﬁrst hand how Singapore is going to re-position in a changing economic landscape, engagement with the Economist Group sharing analysis and insights, timely economic outlooks, Country updates presenting possibilities beyond Singapore and a close link to UKTI and the British High Commission. The Chamber also worked on continuing to strengthen relationships with SBF, EDB; with other International Chambers and with the British Chambers in SEA through BISEA.
The number of member companies remained stable at around 300 despite a 20% attrition rate mainly due to budget cuts and expense freezes. Continuing to reﬂect the business demographics of Singapore and the key areas of British business excellence strong representation continued from the Professional Services and Financial Service sector. These make up more than 50% of the total Chamber network at present.
Events – A Strong Performance The Chamber’s events oﬀering surged in 2009 with over 50 events conducted. Attendance also increased, in particular at the Breakfast Clubs, which experienced attendance more than doubling to over 1,800 attendees for the year.
The diversity of events also grow with a higher number of lunches, particularly the very successful Leaders in Business Lunch Series and more evening networking opportunities on oﬀer.
In 2009 the Chamber achieved a top line growth of 11%. This was driven by a 10% growth in member subscription, 24% increase in income from functions and a 10% increase in income from sponsorship. However the Chamber did experienced a 32% decrease in income from publications driven mainly by the tightening of advertising and marketing budgets by many companies during the tougher economic climate. The Chamber ended the year with a strong operational cash position at the end of the period. This provided an opportunity to strengthen the Chamber’s cash reserves.
executives with over 330 companies now represented. A new sponsorship category has been introduced, the Platinum Sponsor, taken up by Barclays Capital and an upgrade to Platinum by long term sponsor RBS. Events continued to be held at a high frequency, highlights being the successful CSR Seminar “Sustainable Supply Chain Practices” supported by BP. The Chamber has re-activated the Entrepreneur and Small Businesses Group and launched the ‘Mini MBA’ lunch series. Also new to for 2010 is the Young Professionals initiative and EDB Cluster Collaboration. 2010 will once again feature a Membership Survey,
Of the key ﬂagship Chamber events, the 2009 British Business Awards attendance remained at 2008 level with over 400 pax attending a very successful and enjoyable evening. And ﬁnally the BritCham Ball attendance remained strong at 700 pax, continuing its reputation as the classiest end of year bash in town. Other Highlights The British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore helped conduct the 2009 Business Climate Survey jointly with 14 other International Chambers and Singaporean associations. The results were available online to members as well as a synopsis of key ﬁndings in the Orient Magazine. The Chamber also further deepened and developed the relationship with existing and new sponsors. New Chamber sponsors in 2009 included Barclays for the Golf Day, Meyado for Breakfast Clubs, Rubicon for Membership Card, Audi as Gold sponsor and Henley Group as Supporting sponsor for the Ball.
By the end of 2009 the Chamber achieved a break-even result after absorbing GST requirements, incurring higher cost for running events due to signiﬁcantly increased activity and through Chamber obligations; donating to Dream 2012, concentrating the support on two athletes with great prospects to compete in London. Hugo concluded with a positive view for the future sighting the ﬁrst four months of 2010 as seeing particular strong performance driven largely by events and membership expansion.
Accounts 2009 In the absence of 2010 Chamber Treasurer Peter Allen, past Treasurer Hugo Walkinshaw kindly stepped in to explain to the members the ﬁnancial position of the Chamber.
Key developments and initiatives update 2010
which was conducted in May-June. Results will be highlighted in the next Orient magazine. Conclusion The evening concluded with incoming President Steve Puckett thanking Terry O’Connor for his dedication, commitment and service to the British Business Community and presenting a token of appreciation on behalf of the Chamber, the Board and the Members. If you wish to have more information on the point raised in this summary please contact the Chamber oﬃce at 6222 3552.
2010 has already seen the Chamber further grow the network by 15% to 1,276
BRITCHAM BOARD 2010
Chris Davies Vice President
Steve Puckett President Managing Director Tri-Zen International Pte Ltd
Peter Allen Treasurer Group Managing Director Paciﬁc Century Regional Development
Chris Claridge Vice President Managing Director TCP Group Pte Ltd
Alan Goodyear Board Member CEO, Global Transaction Services, Asia Paciﬁc RBS Roman Scott Board Member Managing Director Calamander Group
Stephen Crisp Board Member Director Public Aﬀairs, Asia Paciﬁc BT Singapore
Kevin Burke Board Member Managing Director, Head of Distribution, Asia Paciﬁc Barclays Bank PLC
Simon Wilson Board Member Director, International Development Markel International John Horsburgh Board Member CDO Rolls Royce Singapore Pte Ltd
Nick McGlynn Board Member Regional General Manager, SE Asia British Airways
David Conway Board Member Sales Director, Asia Paciﬁc Jupiter Asset Management Limited Philippe Touati Board Member Managing Director, Head of Client Relationship Standard Chartered Bank Singapore
Pek Hak Bin Board Member Country President BP Singapore
Emma Boyd Board Member Director, Client Relationships Ernst and Young Solutions LLP
Ingrid Child Board Member Chief Risk Oﬃcer HSBC Singapore
Richard Burn Board Member Corporate Relations Director, Diageo Asia Paciﬁc Diageo
Hugo Walkinshaw Honorary Secretary Partner Deloitte Consulting, SE Asia
Andrew Vine Board Member Managing Director The Insight Bureau Pte Ltd
Amanda Brooks Ex-Oﬃcio Deputy High Commissioner The British High Commission, Singapore Mark Howard Ex-Oﬃcio Director British Council, Singapore
Fe a t u re : C o r p o r a t e B a n k i n g & Pe r s o n a l Fi n a n c e
THE FUTURE OF TRANSACTIONS: INNOVATING FOR A BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE By Harm Bots, Head of Global Transaction Services, Malaysia, The Royal Bank of Scotland Research by Erika Wade, undergraduate economics student, Middlebury College, Vermont, USA
lectronic payment platforms will continue to provide a critical economic link between customers and service providers and gain a place in the growing e-commerce industry. From the advent of credit cards to using smart cards for road tolls and public transportation, it is undeniable that we are moving towards a cashless society where goods and services are being transacted digitally on a micro-second basis across industries and geographies. According to industry surveys, online banking, bill payment and e-bill usage has continued to grow signiﬁcantly during the last decade. Fiserv Inc, a global provider of ﬁnancial services technology solutions, conﬁrmed in its latest survey that between 2000 and 2010, the number of American households that use online banking increased more than six-fold, and the number that use online bill payment increased nearly eight-fold. The trend of growing popularity in electronic payment is certainly not unique to the United States. Here in Asia, with computer literacy and aﬄuence on the rise, it won’t be long before we see more Asian consumers making purchases with the click of a mouse. Flying high with AirAsia AirAsia – Asia’s leading low cost carrier - understands this trend well and has
been innovating its electronic payment platform to enhance the experience for its customers. The company recently launched a multicurrency pricing e-platform, enabling its passengers to get instant ticket pricing in the currency of their choice when they make an online purchase. AirAsia Group CEO TDato’s Sri Tony Fernandes believes the enhanced online ticket sales platform “will take away the uncertainty of exchange rates ﬂuctuation” for AirAsia’s guests, making the purchase of air tickets more convenient, straightforward and transparent.
Last November, eBay launched the next phase of PayPal, an Application Programming Interface (API) called PayPal X that enables developers to integrate a payment option into their application or website. And just last month, MasterCard decided to follow the footsteps of eBay and launch an API of its own that is due to become available sometime later this year.
To begin with, AirAsia will launch AirAsia and The Royal Bank of Scotland launched an innovative multi-currency pricing the new service e-platform. From left: Alan Goodyear, RBS Head of Global Transaction Services, Asia; Datoí Abdul Aziz Abu by oﬀering sales Bakar, AirAsia Chairman; Andrew Sill, RBS Country Executive, Malaysia for the following currencies: USD, SGD, HKD, GBP and AUD. AirAsia’s latest multi-currency pricing The next step is to roll out the service to e-platform is created using The Royal accommodate other currencies. Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) leading e-commerce solution – FXmicropay – AirAsia has been named as the World’s and sophisticated cash management Best Low Cost Airline by Skytrax for two and merchant acquiring services. years in a row (2009 and 2010). The solution is an advanced Foreign Exchange (FX) platform that provides Innovating the customer experience Air Asia with the ability to price tickets in a variety of currencies online, whilst There is no doubt that there is cash to be simultaneously managing the FX risk made in a cashless world. so that AirAsia does not take on any additional FX exposure. With consumers welcoming new advances in payment systems, it is no AirAsia sells 80 percent of its tickets surprise that more and more innovative online as you would expect from an payment platforms are being developed airline that operates 600 ﬂights daily to accommodate electronic payments.
cost carriers always look at opportunities to lower the cost and therefore an advanced cash management structure was designed on the back of the FXmicropay solution that would fully automate the ﬂow from FX trade to settlement across a variety of countries and across a number of currencies.
to 70 destinations. It is the customer experience that counts for AirAsia and this is where an innovative solution from RBS was able to help. Prior to the FXmicropay solution, customers were subjected to opaque currency conversion by their credit card providers. With FXmicropay however, it is possible to purchase a ticket in a familiar currency and against the exact price that is quoted at the point of sale. On the day that FXmicropay went live on AirAsia’s systems, it successfully processed more than 1000 transactions although it can actually handle up to 3000 transactions per second.
a platform that is capable of processing transactions not only in all of the G11 currencies but key Asian currencies, including the Malaysian Ringgit, Thai baht and Indonesian Rupiah. It was a complex project and RBS drew on the expertise of its teams in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK to deliver it successfully. The bank’s Aviation Capital, Global Transaction Services, WorldPay, IT and Credit teams worked closely together to provide the breadth of knowledge that was required.
However, in order to fully meet AirAsia’s objectives of eﬃciently serving its international clientele, RBS had to design
Andrew Sill, RBS Country Executive for Malaysia, said, “AirAsia has an innovative culture and could see the advantages of FXmicropay and really encouraged us to tailor the product for their business. Adding three new currencies was not a simple task and required dedication from teams in many diﬀerent countries.“
RBS experts in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia also had to obtain approval from their respective central banks to include the essential Asian currencies for the system.
No doubt, technology and e-platforms will play an increasingly important role and large global banks, such as RBS, are in a position to deliver on this as scale is required to justify the investments. These investments can be substantial as banks system infrastructure needs to be robust. Any failures would directly impact important payment ﬂows, with the risk of disturbing the business operations of clients. The systems are also developed with the highest levels of security which is of critical importance to both parties and necessary for regulator approval.
Then RBS took a further step and started looking at end-to-end ﬂow - from the point of ticket sale to the bank settling the cash proceeds into the accounts. Low
Role of banks in driving e-payments platforms The solution provided by RBS to AirAsia is an excellent example of how a bank can go beyond its traditional role and design solutions that support its clients to take their business forward. When RBS was confronted with AirAsia’s dilemma of trying to lower costs and yet still maintain customer satisfaction, RBS saw the potential in FXmicropay, a solution that has worked for many of the Bank’s clients in other industries.
Finally RBS also identiﬁed an opportunity to improve the merchant acquiring services and lined up RBS WorldPay to provide a platform that would enhance the overall solution and position AirAsia strongly as their business expands internationally.
How does FX Micropay work? FX Micropay is an advanced platform that connects real time between FX market makers (RBS trading rooms), AirAsia’s ﬂight booking systems, AirAsia’s web front end and sophisticated reporting and cash management tools to manage the settlement of the FX trades across various locations. All the operations are automatic without any hands touching the transaction, from ticket booking to settlement.
Fe a t u re : C o r p o r a t e B a n k i n g & Pe r s o n a l Fi n a n c e
STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH REDUCED EXTERNAL LIQUIDITY by Iain Taylor, Head of Global Payments and Cash Management, HSBC Singapore
ne of the most obvious consequences of the recent credit crisis has been the reduced availability of external liquidity. This sudden contraction in liquidity availability from the end of 2008 and through 2009 delivered a key lesson to many corporate treasuries – to seriously reconsider their existing strategies in their management of liquidity. There is no better time than now for corporate treasurers to put in place structures that will deliver longterm beneﬁts for return, ﬂexibility and risk management - and in turn they are taking a major step towards ensuring the long-term stability and proﬁtability of their companies. Events of the past 24 months have brought a widespread realisation that the impact of liquidity on a company can be as signiﬁcant as credit or foreign exchange risk. Previously, companies with respectable credit ratings were able to tap into seemingly limitless and inexpensive liquidity by issuing commercial paper, notes or bonds – or turn to banks to take advantage of uncommitted facilities. That relaxed era is now most deﬁnitely over - credit has become a scarce and considerably more expensive commodity.
So What Can Corporate Treasuries Do About Liquidity? In today’s environment, it is vital for corporate treasuries to have a proper framework to mitigate liquidity risk – and in particular, make optimal use of internal liquidity, which has shot up in value. The basic starting point is to have complete visibility of all company cash at the treasury level. This enables the cash position, funding requirements and investment transactions to be tracked in real, or near-real, time. The company’s cash must also reside in a mechanism that allows any idle balances to be used quickly and eﬃciently. In addition, the
associated investment policy has to be robust, with all the appropriate risk parameters, checks and controls in place so that security if not sacriﬁced in pursuit of yield. Accurate forecasting of cash-ﬂows underpins the above points, as well as the ability to model appropriate stresses to test the resiliency of liquidity reserves to external shock. While the forecast may never precisely match the outcome, if the process if hampered by poor practices or disciplines, the corporate treasury may face unpleasant surprises that add to the pressure of liquidity management.
Real and Relative, Current and Future Beneﬁts Given the resources required to implement a liquidity solution, corporate treasurers are understandably eager to have a clearer picture of the possible beneﬁts before committing. The beneﬁts are considerable: Once treasury has visibility and control of corporate cash, it can use surpluses in one part of the business to ﬁnance deﬁcits in others, reducing the overall need for borrowing. If, as part of the liquidity management programme, treasury has control over payments, collections and trade ﬂows, then cash ﬂow forecasting will improve and liquidity ﬂuctuations should become less of an issue. Borrowing requirements can be centrally managed, thereby leveraging the higher credit rating of the parent company to reduce borrowing rates. Net surpluses can also be invested centrally, with the ability to secure higher returns by investing larger balances. Counterparty risk in its various forms can be managed more eﬀectively. Centralising cash and treasury
“Procrastination invariably results in a reactive rather than a proactive response when conditions subsequently deteriorate.” With credit markets having moved rapidly from monsoon to drought over that same time frame, another important lesson for corporate treasurers is to establish a diversiﬁed portfolio of credit facilities – diversiﬁed by lending institution and by facility type. This ensures that the appropriate tool or contingency measure is always available to cover liquidity risk.
activities with group liquidity and balance sheet management enhances their eﬃciency through greater automation and enhanced reporting. Control over cash can also be improved, with better segregation of duties and “auditability” of activities. Many of the steps required to improve liquidity management
create contingent beneﬁts in other areas. For example, implementing bank-neutral technology also provides greater strategic ﬂexibility around bank relationships, as well as streamlining processes and reducing costs. Many corporate treasurers started considering cash and liquidity management projects in the good times, but these were often postponed because of other business priorities – a decision, which was probably regretted during the credit crisis. Procrastination invariably results in a reactive rather than a proactive response when conditions subsequently deteriorate. Moreover, any quick ﬁx undertaken needs to be considered a ﬁrst step in a long-term road map, and not just a quick ﬁx in isolation that will be subsequently replaced. For example, an overlay account structure is comparatively simple to implement, but doing so without
considering how it will evolve into a consolidated structure incorporating other transactional banking services is short-sighted and ultimately ineﬃcient, if not costly. If the overlay is provided by a bank that cannot also service the transactional banking element, then this will have to be provided by another bank and signiﬁcant synergies will be lost. This model also breaks down particularly badly in certain markets. For instance, in some Asian markets transaction banking fees have often been low or waived on the basis of suﬃcient interest margins realised on frictional and residual deposit balances. However, the moment liquidity migrates from the transactional to the liquidity overlay level across diﬀerent institutions, the bank providing transactional services suddenly ﬁnds itself servicing the client on a very diﬀerent proﬁtability basis, with inevitable implications for service levels. It is tempting to argue that now may not
the right time to embark on a cash and liquidity management implementation, given how companies are only starting to realise business returns post-crisis. Unfortunately, there is never a good time, and procrastination is deﬁnitely not a strategy, even at the best of times. Given the right provider, swiftly establishing an improved banking model now is perfectly possible. A well-planned structure supported by a provider that can oﬀer a homogenous solution for regulated and unregulated markets will deliver long-term returns, irrespective of future market conditions. However, the critical point is that such a solution must be fully integrated end to end. Piecemeal products that cannot incorporate the transaction banking element are a recipe for sub-standard performance and future re-engineering costs.
Fe a t u re : C o r p o r a t e B a n k i n g & Pe r s o n a l Fi n a n c e
INVESTING: A LIFETIME COMMITMENT HAVE A CLEAR AND CONSISTENT FINANCIAL PLAN AT EACH STAGE OF YOUR LIFE By Ronnie Lim, General Manager, Wealth Management, Singapore and Malaysia, Standard Chartered Bank
inding ways to invest wisely throughout your life has become even more important with the rising number of aﬄuent1 individuals in Singapore and the rest of Asia.
partner to build a sound investment portfolio and strategy. It is a misconception that you need a large amount of funds to begin investing. Standard Chartered Bank believes wealth is acquired through astute investment decisions. Start with a small sum by dollar cost averaging or investing equal dollar amounts regularly such as S$100 monthly in an investment or portfolio. Invest in global equities in emerging markets such as Asia, excluding Japan and high-growth sectors like technology, plantation and commodities. Bonds with a decent coupon and longer tenure can cushion exposure to equities.
The Datamonitor Asia Paciﬁc Wealth Management database reports that the population of aﬄuent people in Asia, excluding Japan, is slated to grow from 16 million to 23 million by 2012. According to the Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management World Wealth Report, by 2013, Asia Paciﬁc is expected to overtake North America as the largest region for ﬁnancial wealth. With such newfound wealth, investment has become a top priority. While each individual has diﬀerent investment goals, there are some basic guidelines that an investor can follow which will support your lifestyle, commitment and expectations. Stage One: 20s to 30s Looking at four lifecycle segments, the ﬁrst is in your early 20s. You will usually want to maximise capital with a 20- to 30-year investment horizon. Your risk tolerance may be high. While investing in high-return products, keep a well-balanced portfolio to balance risk and returns and enlist help from a reputable, committed investment 1 An aﬄuent individual is deﬁned as a person with investible assets of more than US$100,000
Stage Two: 30s to 40s Your investment goal is capital growth with a 15- to 20-year investment horizon with low- to moderate-risk. You may have commitments such as a housing or education loan and other family expenses. Shift your portfolio to reduce the proportion of high-risk investments while enjoying reasonable returns and opt for asset allocation across investments of varying degrees of risk versus return. Invest in bonds with a regular stream of ﬁxed coupon payout and strong credit rating. Bonds provide tax advantages as they are tax-exempted and you can enjoy both capital gain and dividends. Look at blue-chip stocks such as banking, consumer and telecommunication stocks with minimum volatility and a good dividend payout. For families, accumulate foreign currency for your children’s education or overseas expenses. Consult a reputable ﬁnancial provider for foreign currency investment recommendations and services.
Review your insurance policy to include changes like purchases of additional property or more dependents. Ensure proper estate planning especially if you are the sole bread winner. Stage Three: 50s to 60s Your investment goal may be preserving capital with a ﬁve- to 15-year investment horizon. As retirement approaches, your investment horizon and risk appetite shrinks. Protect your portfolio rather than maximising your capital from risky assets. Allocate over 50% of your portfolio in conservative investments such as bonds. Continue investing in stable banking, consumer and telecommunications stocks as well as bonds or bond funds. Manage your interest rate risk while avoiding foreign currency investment that carry higher risk or select a less volatile currency which may give higher yields like the Australian dollar. Nominate a beneﬁciary. Stage Four: 60s Preserve capital and set an investment horizon of less than ﬁve years. Hopefully you have a steady income from ﬁxed deposits, bonds, rental or the Central Provident Fund (CPF). Blue chips such as ﬁnancial and healthcare stocks and bonds with good credit rating and coupon payout are a good choice. Following an investment strategy at each stage of your life may reduce or eliminate ﬁnancial stress as you peacefully grow old with your loved ones. Warren Buﬀet once said, “Investing is laying out money now to get more money back in the future.”
Fe a t u re : C o r p o r a t e B a n k i n g & Pe r s o n a l Fi n a n c e
GETTING OUT AND STAYING OUT OF DEBT By: Mark Sing, Vice President and Licensed Financial Adviser Representative with ipac ﬁnancial planning Singapore private limited
arning a ﬁve- or six-ﬁgure salary is a great opportunity for increasing savings and also accumulating wealth. Yet being in this situation does not always equate to smart saving strategies, when people fall into the “big bucks, big debt” trap and fail to monitor their spending habits.
penny saved might very well be a penny earned, but the attitude he or she might take is: who really cares when you can easily get a $15,000 credit limit? High debt levels are prevalent in today’s times with the ready availability of credit, and credit cards in particular, resulting in debt-related diﬃculties for some people.
Take the case of celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. To the rest of the world, it was a surprise to read reports that the photographer of Vogue and Vanity Fair fame was in severe debt. Leibovitz
It is important not to ignore any problems with debts despite feeling powerless. Don’t ignore debt, it doesn’t go away. You may end up losing the goods that you have bought and ﬁnd
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak can sink a great ship.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
A build up of debts can be scary, hence the key is to prioritise them in order of fear factor. Remember that all debts are not equal and use this list as a quick guide: ~ Secured debts: Secured debts are those outstanding loans on which you have signed collateral, for example, your house, car, furniture and so on. Rent/ mortgage is likely to be the biggest worry. If you are behind on mortgage payments, you may lose your home. Look at reﬁnancing options as there may be cheaper loans. These creditors can usually live with a late or missed payment or even two, but it is important to contact the creditor and explain the circumstances. Deﬁnitely do not just ignore the creditor. ~ Unsecured Debts: Unsecured debts are those loans that do not have property attached to them, like credit cards, department store loans, phone bills, medical bills or utilities. When it comes to items like utilities and your phone bills, aim to reduce usage as much as you can. If you can do without certain “wants”, like cable TV, cancel your subscription. Failing to pay these will eventually be very painful with your credit and good name, but are probably the least devastating for the short term. Therefore it is these debts that can be the last to be paid. ~ Other Items: Car insurance, medical insurance, children’s “needs” and other debts unique to your circumstance will require a value judgment.
had the ability to command a sevenﬁgure salary and a commercial clientele which paid her thousands of dollars for her craft. Yet her debt mounted to US$24 million, and she had to pledge her properties and the rights to her life’s work as collateral. What happened? Very simply, Leibovitz spent beyond her means, without paying attention to where the money was going. When it comes to the everyday man, a
it diﬃcult to get credit. You could even lose your home. When you are in debt, the ﬁrst step is to try and get legal and ﬁnancial advice to understand the ramiﬁcations of any contractual terms and conditions on your personal ﬁnances and repayment schedules. You should then work out what debts are immediately due, what all your sources of income are and which of your expenditure items are essential.
Deal with debt proactively There are several steps you can take to get yourself out of debt. For a start, you could consolidate your debt, which would involve rolling all your existing debts, such as your car or boat loans and credit cards, into one loan with a ﬁxed interest rate and a ﬁxed repayment schedule. This can reduce both the amount of interest you pay and your monthly repayments. Contact each of your creditors to negotiate to buy some more time or reach a settlement of what you owe. If a creditor rejects your proposal or wants more evidence in writing that you are genuinely unable to pay, consider asking a ﬁnancial counsellor to intervene on your behalf. If the debt is large or one of many debts, you should consider hiring a lawyer to write a second letter asking for additional time. The lawyer won’t say anything diﬀerent than you would, but a request in black and white carries weight. This will cost some money, but it may be worth it. Review the possibility of reﬁnancing your home. Lower interest rates can help you save money while still paying oﬀ your home loan. Other options include taking a second job for a short term period of time, even if it is something you wouldn’t normally consider. You may also want to consider obtaining short term loans from family or friends. Avoid the debt trap To avoid being led into the trap of bad debt, look into strategies that will help you protect your wealth and be in control of your savings. i) set up a budget It is important to always have a budget in mind and know how much you can aﬀord to spend. It is an essential tool for ensuring that your money gets used the way you need it to. A budget will enable you to get a handle on the ﬂow of your money – how much is coming in or going out, and also where it goes out. It is only when you understand the ﬂow that you can make intelligent choices about how to spend. Further, having a budget lets you control your money, instead of your
hardship or even to go on that long awaited holiday. Unfortunately, when we know we have savings, we are likely to spend more freely and comfortably as we know that we will always have our savings as a back up. A good way to avoid doing this is by opening a separate account with your bank. money controlling you, and can also keep you from getting into debt. You may have goals and dreams but if you don’t set up guidelines for reaching them and you don’t measure your progress by using a budget, you may end up going so far in the wrong direction you can never make it back. Ultimately, budgeting requires selfdiscipline. This requires determination on your part, and the support of family and friends in sticking to your budget. ii) shop smartly ~ Budget and make a list of items that you intend to buy and stick to it. Don’t spend over this amount. ~ Be wary of enticements like “red hot specials” where an item is advertised in the store as being on discount for the next ﬁve minutes. ~ Compare prices between sellers. You may ﬁnd that someone is selling an item at 10 per cent oﬀ and another seller is selling the same thing at a lower price and they’re not having a sale. ~ Compare items for price and quality. ~ Examine the goods carefully. Sometimes packaging can mislead you about the actual quantity supplied. ~ Check out the warranty. ~ Avoid buying on impulse – you may get home and regret the purchase. The worst part is that a shop is not obliged to oﬀer you a refund for a change of mind. ~ Never let anyone talk you into buying something you’re not sure about. iii) have a savings plan It is a great idea to set up a savings plan. Endeavour to save a certain percentage of your income earned. In doing so, you should always have money available to pay for any surprise debts or to help you through an unexpected ﬁnancial
iv) use credit cards wisely The advantage of using a credit card is that you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash with you. The disadvantage of credit cards is that it makes impulse buying easier and you can spend more than you can aﬀord before you realise. Try not to make the minimum-only payment on your credit card each month. By doing so, you will increase the amount of time it will take to pay oﬀ your debt and also increases the amount of interest you end up paying. To pay your debts oﬀ quicker and cheaper, you should pay as much as you can on your balance each month. Also, don’t use your credit card to buy things you can’t aﬀord. Make wise decisions about purchasing items you need versus those you simply want. It is easy to over commit when it comes to money. It happens every day without you realising it. The golden rule to avoid going into debt is to buy only what you can aﬀord. Frugal living seems counterintuitive in today’s consumption-driven society, but saving money is attainable, and adopting Ben Franklin’s common sense advice will result in extra dollars. The challenge is upholding the discipline to resist blowing it on a lifestyle you can’t aﬀord, which can be managed with a well-structured ﬁnancial plan of your goals and objectives.
www.ipac.com.sg In preparing this information, we did not take into account the investment objectives, ﬁnancial situation or particular needs of any person. Before making an investment decision, you should speak to a ﬁnancial adviser to consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs, objectives and circumstances. In preparing this information, we did not take into account the investment objectives, ﬁnancial situation or particular needs of any person. Before making an investment decision, you should speak to a ﬁnancial adviser to consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs, objectives and circumstances.
IMPACT OF BRITISH DESIGN ON THE SINGAPORE SKYLINE
lose to 200 years on since that great British pioneer Sir Thomas Stamford Raﬄes commissioned the ﬁrst of Singapore’s iconic buildings, great British pioneering companies continue to inﬂuence the shape of the Singapore skyline as they design and engineer today’s iconic buildings. As this dynamic Asian market undergoes a 21st century growth spurt, a plethora of projects has sprung up with signiﬁcant British involvement in terms of innovative design, world class technologies and sustainability credentials. Recently Sir Andrew Cahn, CEO of UTI, viewed both the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and the Marina Bay Bridge. In October 2009, HRH the Duke of York, visited Gardens by the Bay. Singapore projects with UK involvement: Marina Bay Area: Gardens by the Bay, Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay, Marina Bay Double Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, Singapore Flyer. Other Developments : Capella Singapore (Luxurious Resort), Duke University/National University of Singapore Graduate School of Medicine, EXPO Station (Mass Rapid Transport), ION Orchard, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, National Heart Centre, National Library Board, Parkway Novena Hospital, Singapore Sports Hub, The Supreme Court. During the last 30 years there have been 4 UK winners of the coveted Pritker Architecture Prize – the professions highest honour. UK architects excel
at urban regeneration, transport infrastructure, energy eﬃcient buildings and sports infrastructure. London based architects generate in excess of US$1.1 billion in revenue per annum. Marina Bay Area Singapore Flyer - ARUP The S$240 million Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest Giant Observation Wheel to date, standing at 165m tall with a 150m diameter wheel. The Arup design team used the experience gained from working on the London Eye to optimise the design of the Singapore Flyer. Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort – 4 UK companies The Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort is estimated to have a total cost of S$8.0 billion. Four UK companies are involved with the project: Aedas lead Consultant & Executive Architect, Arup worked on civil, structural, geotechnical, traﬃc, façade, ﬁre, acoustics, risk & security along with 3D modelling. Mace appointed to provide project and construction management consultancy services. Rider Levette Buckman provided cost consultancy and quantity surveying, project management and advisory services. Marina Bay Double Helix Bridge - ARUP The design consortium of the Marina Bay Double Helix Bridge was awarded to an international team consisting of engineers from UK ﬁrm Arup, Australian architects from the Cox Group as well as Singapore-based Architects 61. The 280-meter-long bridge features a
double-helix exoskeleton constructed from stainless steel to support a 6-meterwide deck spanning 65 meters between piers. The construction for both the vehicular and pedestrian connections is estimated to be around S$68million. Gardens by the Bay – UK Consortium Gardens by the Bay, a major infrastructure project in the Marina Bay area was awarded to a UK team led by landscape architects Grant Associates in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre, Atelier One, Atelier Ten and Land Design Studios. The master plan for Marina South forms part of Singapore’s new Gardens by the Bay development and will draw from the distinctive ﬂora of the region to create a new destination in the city. It has been designed as a series of distinct ecosystems, which will enable the gardens to function with maximum environmental eﬃciency. The garden at Marina South will be home to some of the site’s most spectacular structures, including a grove of ‘supertrees’ reaching almost 40 metres in height and two cooled conservatories, which will be among the largest climatecontrolled glasshouses in the world. The cool-dry conservatory will explore issues related to plants and people and incorporates a spectacular ﬂower ﬁeld with programmed changing displays. In contrast, the cool-moist conservatory will focus on plants and the planet, with a dramatic internal ‘mountain’ and waterfall, demonstrating subjects such
as bio-diversity. The structures will form a new landmark for the city, enjoying views back across Marina Channel to Singapore’s city centre. The Gardens by the Bay at Marina East is designed by UK-based design ﬁrm Gustafson Porter. It will be a waterfront park that is connected to East Coast Park. This watersports themed park will allow for activities such as canoeing, water skiing, sculling and dragon boat races to be conducted along the Channel. It will also feature a number of artiﬁcial waterfalls and a wading pool. It is linked to the Gardens at Marina South by the Marina Barrage. Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay - Michael Wilford & Partners Michael Wilford & Partners designed this iconic building with Architects 61. The Esplanade is a S$540 million multiactivity complex for the staging of a wide variety of artistic activities and has an area of 80,500 square metres. Other Developments ION Orchard - Benoy Designed by globally renowned Benoy architects, the $700 million retail-led ION Orchard is located at the crossroads of Singapore’s prime retail district. Opened in July 2009, the 61,300 sq m retail mall represents a signiﬁcant expansion of Singapore’s public sphere providing both internal and external spaces, including 3,000 sq m of events space and a 500 sq m art gallery.
of open spaces. These spaces, namely courtyards and gardens, are fused with natural light and are naturally ventilated. These enlarged passages serve a dual purpose as they maximize retail opportunities for users and create more space for operational eﬃciency for staﬀ. Parkway Novena Hospital - HOK International Designed as the “hospital of the future,” this private hospital in central Singapore will provide the latest medical technology and design innovations. HOK International is targeting Green Mark Platinum certiﬁcation their state-of-theart strategies for energy conservation and sustainability. National Library Board (Singapore) Rider Levett Bucknall Rider Levett Bucknall Singapore was appointed as the Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor and Contract Administrator for the New National Library project. They were also the cost consultants for the NLB’s Library 2000 programme, which involved over 30 regional, community and children’s libraries. The building is internationally acknowledged for its architectural features, green building features, and innovative intelligent and IT features. The building has been the recipient of the Green Mark Platinum award, the highest award accorded for green buildings in Singapore.
ION Orchard’s signature futuristic architecture has already hauled two prestigious awards at MAPIC 2006 against stiﬀ competition from submissions from around the world. These were for ‘Best Retail Development over 20,000m2’ and the ‘Best Architectural Entry’ at British real estate periodical Estates Gazette’s EG Retail & Future Project Awards.
Duke University/National University of Singapore Graduate School of Medicine – RMJM Designed by RMJM, the new graduate school is the ﬁrst western medical school to open in Singapore. At eleven stories high, the new building is very vertical and boasts a plethora of sustainable design measures, which earned it green mark certiﬁcation.
National Heart Centre, Singapore – Broadway Malyan Broadway Malyan designed the S$ 160 million state-of-the-art national heart centre in Singapore which is expected to be completed in 2010. A key feature of the Heart Center is the abundance
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital – RMJM Khoo Teck Puat is the region’s leading healthcare institution and plays a major role in emergency and infectious disease management. RMJM incorporated these factors into the design of the building, creating subterranean blast-
protected triage and surgery facilities and providing decontamination and quarantine areas with dedicated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. This project costs $490 million and is stated to be completed in 2010. Supreme Court Singapore - Foster & Partners Fosters and Partners designed this building together with PWD Consultants. The Supreme Court is a major new judicial centre in Singapore. Environmentally, this building incorporates a range of passive climatecontrol devices, including solar shading to the oﬃces, and the roofs are planted with trees, creating a blanket of greenery that shelters a public promenade. EXPO Station (MRT) - Foster & Partners This station was opened on 10 January 2001, and is part of the Singapore MRT Changi Airport Extension to the existing East West Line. It sports a space age architecture designed by world renowned architect Sir Norman Foster and with a distinctive feature of a large disc situated at the top of the glass elevator shaft; similar to the Singapore Supreme Court building. Capella Singapore (Luxurious Resort at Sentosa) - Foster & Partners Designed by Foster & Partners in association with a+i Asia, Capella Singapore has 111 villas and suites (the largest in Singapore). It also features Singapore’s ﬁrst circular, glass-roofed ballroom and the entire project costs S$250 million. Singapore Sports Hub - ARUP Arup is part of the consortium that won the S$1.87billion Singapore Sports Hub project, which is expected to be completed in end-2011. This project is Singapore’s largest and ﬂagship PublicPrivate-Partnership (PPP). The Sports Hub will be Singapore’s Premier Park - a fully integrated sport, entertainment and lifestyle hub for both the citizens of Singapore and its visitors.
www.uktradeinvestment.gov.uk orient 21
Economic & Business Insights
PUBLIC RELATIONS HAS CHANGED… FOR THE BETTER By Frederic Moraillon, Managing Director – South-East Asia, & Jeremy Ee, PR Executive, EASTWEST Public Relations
ublic relations professionals today are required to deal with not only media relations, but also consumer relations and blogger relations. This distinction is more important than ever with the advent of the Internet and the rise in popularity of online social networks. Bringing together a publisher, a freelance journalist, a blogger and a couple of Singaporean businessmen, we recently discussed how the economics of what we do has been impacted by the Internet. From the point of view of a publisher who is concerned about circulation ﬁgures, advertisement sales and overall proﬁtability of their publications, selecting the best articles to publish becomes their top priority and challenge. It also matters whether the article should go to print or be published online, as the dynamics of each medium is starkly diﬀerent. Generally, a request from a company wanting to get into your publication would mean that the news value is not good enough to be there in the ﬁrst place. At the end of the day, news that is being fed to you is not going to be that riveting. So almost everything that comes in from a company or agency, immediately gets categorised into online news. As we all know, the role of a PR agency is to help clients connect with their public. This is traditionally done through engaging publishers and journalists, who are the means to reach speciﬁc target markets. With the current decline of print and rise of online media, it is fast becoming too expensive for a publisher to cover stories that are not very interesting or even plain boring (in Web parlance, they won’t get many hits.) “Based on the number of estimated reads you get for a story about a company’s CEO coming to town, it is probably
“One of the critical challenges for PR agencies is to convince clients on the value of uploading content on social media sites.” worth only $5 or at the most $50 dollars if it is a great story. Furthermore, paying journalist to cover the story will cost $400. The question then, is whether the story getting published is worth $395 to you. If it is, then you should be paying for the journalist,” says Tim Charlton, publisher of the Singapore Business Review.
with no interest in what the clients sell. So if publishers are not going to give me that coverage, I’ll have to ﬁnd an alternative and upload the content to Slideshare or Youtube, or even use traditional marketing techniques to reach the target audience. Remember, PR is but a part of a marketing mix, though an important one.
This simply means that the majority of press releases are not going to get published and end-up as junk mail or spam in a publisher’s inbox.
One of the critical challenges for PR agencies is to convince clients on the value of uploading content on social media sites, as it is apparent that clients still value and prioritise media coverage in mainstream publications and newspapers. When we tell clients that the media scene is not the same anymore, their response is that we are not competent enough to get the job done. What PR agencies are doing today is to create the content ourselves, post them on Slideshare, Facebook or LinkedIn, resulting in the disintermediation of the traditional media because such info is not worth their time. The agency still has to do what it used to do, create relevant content, but now it needs to create even more and broadcast it through the entire Internet supply chain.
So what does an agency need to do in order to get coverage for its clients? Firstly we need to think about the target audience that they want to reach in order to generate more revenue. What we do is called public relations, not publisher relations. We engage publishers and journalists because they are a channel to reach a desired public. Though we need to keep in mind that what we propose to them has to interest their readers ﬁrst. Anything less and we’ll fail. If, for example, 5 CIOs read my posting, and they are my target market, it is much more valuable, from a client’s perspective, than to reach 10,000 people
“From the end-user point of view, information that comes out in the newspaper, may be a bit stretched from the truth. But when you get bloggers coming in, you read their opinion with a bit more interest, be it true or false. They ask questions that everyone thinks about, and they are willing to take the risk to put their opinions in public.” Chris Ong, local businessman. It is obvious that the economics of journalism, and PR, is changing and that the public sees more and more value in bloggers. This inﬂuences the way publishers pick and choose their stories as the public is always hungry for interesting news, not boring press releases. The media dynamics are shifting away from the traditional linear ﬂow of information to become intermingled into a web of online sources. PR agencies need to convince their clients to change their mindset about how they can get noticed and who their most valuable target audiences are. Reaching out to them directly, instead of going through the traditional onal media, is the new valueueadding work agencies must st provide. Another aspect of publicc relations that we often hear from our clients is about using PR to increase their revenue – PR ROI. ROI has to be one of the most overused acronyms in the past decade. No activity has been left unturned to ensure that every drop of return has been found. PR is no exception. The UK’s Institute of Public Relations ﬁnds the term ROI to be misleading and prefers the term ‘outcome’. It seems, however, that practitioners use ROI to put themselves on equal footing with other disciplines and shows the seriousness of their profession. You can ﬁnd discussions of PR ROI throughout the discipline’s history with the age-old, though allegedly in disrepute, advertising-dollar-equivalent (AVE) still being used to justify investing
in PR (Metrica found out that the use of AVE has increased from 28% to 49% over the last decade.) PR is one of the most cost-eﬀective ways to get your message out-there. Though less controllable than direct marketing, it beneﬁts from the thirdparty endorsement that its cousin doesn’t. So how do you start measuring your PR ROI? First, ask yourself why you would do PR. It’s a simple question but a powerful one. Many a times, the quality of PR reﬂects the beliefs of the company’s leader. Some use it to satisfy their ego, others simply tolerate it while treating it as an expense with no or little value. The better leaders will see PR as a business strategy helping them to build revenue and to do so, they need to be the best at it. The complexity of today’s companies and the business environment they work in requires nothing less. Ignoring PR, just like ignoring any other of the companies’ structural activities (sales, ﬁnance, HR, etc.), can only o be done at your own risk, ris and don’t complain when the wrong wind w comes your way. co PR is all about changing people’s attitude so they peo become willing to try and beco use your product or services. y It’s about selling, though not ab in the hardcore, in-your-face, way we equate the selling profession with. It creates familiarity, it oﬀers the reader a chance to evaluate, to be accepted as a reasonable option worth looking into, in B2B parlance, a chance to be invited to the table and pitch your case. PR is not a panacea but it’s an important tool in your business arsenal and like any other tool, you need to be able to measure its results eﬀectively. There are many ways to measure the value of PR. Here is a non-exhaustive list of questions that will help you deﬁne it: • Clipping: How many articles did you get? What where their tone? Were they positive, negative, neutral? Was your
mention prominent? Dominant? In the article? • Are you mentioned on equal footings with your competitors? Are you measuring well in independent comparisons? • Have you asked your prospect or customer the source of their info? • Can you measure the diﬀerence in demand before and after a PR campaign? • How many additional hits did your website achieve during your campaign? What was the percentage of those hits that turned into inquiries? Into sales? • Has the perception of your brand changed after the PR campaign? Did you know what it was before? • Did you receive any industry awards? How did it impact your invitations to speak at events? • Do you know the acquisition cost of leads? Can you correlate with their source? • What is your cost of reach (cost per thousand, CPT or CPM in the online world)? • Do you know your net promoter eﬀect? i.e., how many people would recommend you? • Can you correlate with business outcomes: did your target buy more? • Can you invest in econometrics modeling? Do you have access to the information you need to do so? (yes, that age old tool can save the day) These few questions will allow you to start deﬁning your measurement strategy. It’s not an easy task but a worthy one, and PR deserves to be measured to ensure it’s eﬃcient and eﬀective. Whether you measure the amount of coverage or the realisation of your objective, the future of PR resides in eﬀectively measuring its impact. There are many ways to do it but it looks like web metrics will play an even bigger role in measuring the value of PR coverage and even link it to an actual sales lead. Now, what is the value of a PR coup again?
Economic & Business Insights
AIM: A STEADYING SHIP IN CHOPPY WATERS?
By Matthew Gorman, Corporate Partner, Stephenson Harwood, Singapore
n recent weeks the world’s stock markets have been no playground for those of a weaker disposition. Volatility has been the order of the day as investors have had to digest a seemingly endless diet of uncertainty and plain bad news. The Greek debt crisis rumbles on amidst fears that it will infect most of the Eurozone; in Bangkok the death toll continues to rise as the red shirts refuse to disperse; the threat of volcanic ash clouds continues to plague the airline industry and it is feared that China will pursue further measures to address a potential real estate bubble.
USD2.7b oﬀering in Hong Kong. Amongst the downsizers are several IPOs that had to price at the lower end of their target ranges including the US listing of Chinese solar energy player, JinkoSolar which recently raised US$64m. However, it has not all been bad news. Earlier this month, Masterskill Education Group, Malaysia’s largest private-sector operator of nursing schools, shrugged oﬀ market woes to raise around US$240m in Malaysia’s largest initial public oﬀering so far this year and L’Occitane International, the French producer and retailer of cosmetics and skincare products, raised
“AIM’s investor base has not lost its appetite for exciting Asian businesses” As a result, global indices have risen and fallen on an almost daily basis as market participants try to navigate their way through a morass of conﬂicting news. Of course, for many dealers the market swings have been good news as they can make returns from trading the volatility. However, the general uncertainty has been less helpful for those companies looking to IPO.
more than US$700m in Hong Kong and was apparently “very signiﬁcantly oversubscribed”.
At the extreme, a number of IPOs have been pulled whilst others have been postponed or downsized. Those pulled include, New Century Shipbuilding’s proposed USD500m listing on Singapore’s Main Board (which would have been the largest IPO in Singapore this year) and Swire Properties mammoth
A 2008 Growth Company Investor / BDO Report noted that there were 147 companies from Asia listed on AIM as of November 2008. The halcyon days of 2005-2007 had seen AIM truly globalise as the international platform forged by AIM’s natural resource and property players provided the launchpad for the junior market to drive into ever more exotic sectors and geographies. With China’s growth engine to the fore and Asia’s emerging markets adding additional ﬂavour, the region quickly gained a signiﬁcant share of AIM’s pie, represented by a multitude of sectors including oﬀshore services, orange juice producers and online advertising brokers.
However, fast-forward to the end of October 2009 and AIM had shed 239 companies from its roster including a number of casualties from Asia. Of course, much of this fall-out can be attributed to the collapse in asset values and lack of liquidity that were the hallmarks of the Global Financial Crisis. Marry this with the natural tendency for investors to focus on local markets in harder times, and it is little wonder that AIM’s Asian alumni began to complain of poor liquidity and waning investor interest. When added to the then already common refrain that there is limited market access for the strong retail element that dominates the mid and small cap investor base on most Asian exchanges, the AIM message began to lose much of the luster that had made it such a beacon during the bull run of 2004 - 2007.
So, with a seemingly strong supply of companies still keen to IPO, where does all this leave London’s AIM market, which prior to the Global Financial Crisis had arguably been the market of choice for many companies in Asia?
However, the recent IPO of Stephenson Harwood client, CSF Group, a leading player in the Asian data centre industry, clearly demonstrates that (i) Asian companies still see AIM as a high quality listing venue and (ii) AIM’s investor base has not lost its appetite for exciting Asian businesses. In many ways CSF’s IPO bears all the hallmarks of an ideal AIM ﬂoat: a strong management team with a proven track record; a growing and proﬁtable
The challenges involved in bringing Asian companies to AIM are much the same as for any other company, whether from the UK, Europe or elsewhere. That said, there are both practical issues and cultural nuances that may need to be dealt with.
business in a market characterised by a signiﬁcant lack of supply; and a concept that is easily understood. Factor in a market cap of nearly GBP100m and management’s willingness to ensure a strong free ﬂoat and the result was just reward for a well-packaged oﬀering. So is this simply a one-oﬀ, or is it a sign that AIM remains open for (and more importantly is still attractive to) Asia’s entrepreneurs? In the writer’s view, there are a number of reasons why the answer is a positive one:
ß With no obvious signs of a quick turnaround in most Western economies, investors looking for strong growth plays are realising that they may have more success hunting in the emerging markets of Asia than closer to home.
On the practical side, language, foreign ownership restrictions and express limitations on overseas listings are obvious hurdles; whilst from a cultural perspective, a tendency towards tightly held family businesses (even post ﬂoat) and a reluctance to accept that market practice can, in certain respects, impose a more restrictive position than is strictly required by the AIM Rules, can call for some delicate handling in the planning stage. However, the number of Asian companies that have come to AIM provides manifest evidence that such obstacles can be readily overcome and that investors are both capable of understanding these issues and willing to ride with them.
ß London’s position as a leading global ﬁnancial centre is still a big draw for Asian issuers particularly as the market’s depth often results in a greater understanding of certain sectors. Indeed, in a recent interview for The Edge, Adrian Yong, CEO of CSF Group, cited London’s familiarity with the data centre industry as a key factor in choosing to ﬂoat on AIM.
“Asian companies still see AIM as a high quality listing venue” ß One of the most frustrating features of the last few years has been the number of good Asian businesses that have still wanted to raise funds through AIM despite a lack of investor appetite.
ß The “cash is king” mantra of 2008/2009 has started to wear thin as the returns on cash continue to languish and those with a more risk-oriented proﬁle look elsewhere for growth.
ß One of the legacies of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis is a landscape in which many Asian economies, and the battlehardened entrepreneurs that inhabit them, were better placed to tackle the Global Financial Crisis when it came, and have emerged ﬁtter and stronger than many of their Western counterparts.
ß Regional bourses within Asia continue to struggle when it comes to developing a second board that can appeal to nondomestic issuers. So, if Asian companies are still hot, what of the common complaint that they are more of a challenge when it comes to the IPO?
Clearly, current volatility levels are making it a diﬃcult time for the regions companies to come to market, whether they chose to do so on a regional bourse or in London. However, for those of stronger constitution who are prepared to tough it out and ﬁght for a valuation, the capital markets remain cautiously receptive albeit that the ride may be somewhat bumpy until some of the macro factors mentioned above settle down.
Economic & Business Insights
ROUND 2 OF THE CREDIT CRUNCH THE EXTREME VIEW By Dr Alan King, CEO for GS Wealth Pte Ltd
hat if the current “recovery” is only a lull between the 1st and 2nd rounds of the Credit Crunch with more aftershocks to follow at regular intervals over the next few years? We are facing a sovereign debt crisis in the Euro zone that is being underestimated in other asset markets – equities, commodities and property and could lead to a second credit crunch in the second half of this year. As Wolfgang Munchau recently wrote in his excellent series of FT articles on the Greek crisis and its repercussions, “Greece will default, but not this year”. Spain, Italy and Portugal are already in the bail-out queue. Eastern Europe will also return to the radar. The UK will be facing a major devaluation of the pound, as in all past sterling crises. And how good is the US economy and ﬁnancial
– 9 were driven by extreme credit stress. The risk-fuelled equity market re-bound of 2009-10 has been driven by huge infusions of credit by governments, many of which, without correcting their severe structural problems, have now run out of money, especially in Europe. The answer is that credit is bound to get very tight again with big market falls quite a possibility. In recent times liquidity, not fundamentals, has driven markets, and it may well now dry up again.
“2007-2009 meltdown was just Round 1, and, after a stimulus driven break, Round 2 is now rapidly approaching” recovery? And really scarily, what if China falters with its super-charged bank lending and accompanying monster growth ﬁgures, but limited systematic risk controls? So, is the ﬁnancial crisis over, or has it just been taking a bit of a time-out, while the world’s governments emptied their treasuries to save their “too big to fail” banks? An emerging thesis therefore is that the 2007-2009 meltdown was just Round 1, and, after a stimulus driven break, Round 2 is now rapidly approaching. The focus is now correctly back on the credit markets. The asset crashes of 2007
What if Europe, as a whole, has to go to China and the Middle East for a bail-out, under the guise of the IMF, because the US and Germany are not in a position to hold up the Western ﬁnancial system. Japan suﬀers badly in the same scenario. Fanciful maybe but, all of a sudden, not an impossibility. So, I fear that the events of 2007-09 were just the start with Asia and the Middle East the big winners, although only in relative terms. But, given the major weakness in the US, and the rapidly deteriorating situation in Europe, what if things now go wrong in China? All bets are oﬀ then. My view is that the world is much too optimistic and another reality check is coming.
Against such a background, we make no apologies for not abandoning our conservative instincts, but also accept that holding cash, unlike diversiﬁcation and asset shorting, is not hedging. So, we are focusing on fund managers and asset strategies, which, we believe, balance the right defensive qualities with a track record of solid performance in a range of market conditions, and are giving us every indication of understanding the above scenario. But it may be time to defer that house purchase or any headlong rush into equities, corporate bonds and industrial commodities and stay liquid with some exposure to precious metals, government bonds and the US$ and other safe haven strategies. A 2nd severe ﬁnancial crisis, this time based on sovereign debt defaults, the prospects for which are now clearly before us, is suddenly a very real possibility.
Economic & Business Insights
UK INFLATION SPIKES INTEREST RATES REMAIN FLAT BAD NEWS FOR SAVERS By Aidan Bailey, General Manager Singapore, International Division, The Fry Group
onsumer Price Inﬂation (CPI) in the UK showed an unexpected rise from 3% to 3.4% in April. Although economists had been expecting a rise in inﬂation, the consensus had been a more modest rise to 3.1%. What are the main reasons behind this spike in inﬂation? According to the Oﬃce for National Statistics (ONS), inﬂation ﬁgures were pushed higher by a rise in the price of petrol (because of the relative strength of the dollar and higher reﬁning costs, as well as the increasing price of oil) and food. The weakness in the pound is also forcing companies to raise the prices of imported goods.
savers who will ﬁnd the real value of their savings erodes fast if they cannot ﬁnd accounts paying rates to match the inﬂation increase. For expatriates, ﬁnding a bank account oﬀering much more than 3% is a challenge and, for UK tax payers, the hurdle is even higher. According to ﬁnancial website Moneynet, savers paying basic rate tax need to ﬁnd an account paying over 4.25% to ensure their savings keep pace
The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has said that he expects inﬂation to fall back towards the target rate of 2% in the coming months. Analysts therefore expect the Bank to keep interest rates low to stimulate growth. “We would not expect the Bank of England to be swayed by short-term movements in commodity prices, so today’s ﬁgures should not have much bearing on interest rates. We still expect rates to remain on hold for the remainder of this year,” said Hetal Mehta, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club.
“savers paying basic rate tax need to ﬁnd an account paying over 4.25% to ensure their savings keep pace with inﬂation”
The continuing impact of the rise in VAT, which went back up to 17.5% in January, and the eﬀect of ﬂat gas bills relative to this time last year, when they fell sharply, also contributed to the spike in inﬂation. Other rising costs included clothing prices while airfares were up 11.3% on last year.
with inﬂation. Higher rate taxpayers would need to ﬁnd an account paying 5.67% to match the CPI ﬁgures. The rate of inﬂation is now way above the Bank of England’s set target of 2% and at its highest level since January. So why aren’t interest rates rising? Despite the sharp rise in prices, analysts expect the rate of inﬂation to fall again in the coming months, as weak economic growth and high unemployment dampen price rises.
The inﬂation ﬁgures are bad news for UK interest rates have been at the record low of 0.5% for 13 consecutive months. The policy helped to bring the UK economy out of recession in the last quarter of 2009, when it grew by 0.4%. However, if prices continue to rise sharply, the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) may have to raise rates and, if the CPI inﬂation rate remains above 3%, Mr. King will have to write another letter of explanation to the Chancellor.
Corporate Social Responsibility
“FUTUREPROOFING YOUR BUSINESS FOR FUTURE SUCCESS” THE NEED FOR A ROBUST CSR POLICY By James Wright, Managing Director of CSR, Sustainability and Not-for-Proﬁt at Grayling
magine you were to restart your business from scratch tomorrow. What would you change? Would you change your values? Would your business live those values diﬀerently? Would you try to be better corporate citizens? Would you be more ethical, give more thought to sustainable development and environmental issues?
Forget the barriers and the diﬃculties. How would you make your product diﬀerently, deliver your services diﬀerently? It is what I call the ‘Stop. Reset’ process. It is this type of exercise that businesses need to undertake if they have ambitions of being leaders in sustainability and corporate responsibility, and to be best positioned for success in the future. Developing strong sustainability and corporate responsibility strategy builds trust with your stakeholders and provides numerous business beneﬁts. It allows you to communicate to groups and organisations that you may have not been able to talk to before, whether this be government, international NGOs or local community groups. It can provide access to new investment and growth opportunities (see table 1). It can save you money through eﬃciency
savings. It can help attract and retain talent. It can protect and enhance your brand. Importantly, sustainability is about futureprooﬁng your business, enabling you to meet the needs of future consumers. Strategic communication Sustainability campaigns seem to be the rage at the moment yet it is not a fad or a fashion, and it is certainly not a tool to get some ﬂuﬀy PR. It is strategic and it’s business critical in future prooﬁng
many cases where the businesses record was actually pretty good. The problem was that neither the media nor the NGO knew what they were doing. The businesses hadn’t communicated it. But sustainability communications is not about waving a ﬂag and saying “look how fantastic we are”, it is about sincere, evidence based communications, whether through media relations, digital channels, investor relations or stakeholder engagement programmes.
“Developing strong sustainability and corporate responsibility strategy builds trust with your stakeholders and provides numerous business beneﬁts” your business and it is important to communicate it. If stakeholders don’t know you are tackling sustainability issues then you are missing a trick and perhaps even exposing yourself to unfair accusations. I have seen many businesses attacked by media and NGOs on areas where they had made signiﬁcant headway, and in
I am often brought into meetings with new clients that will say they are keen to promote their CSR or sustainability credentials and they will often have their CSR report to hand. The view seemingly that if we just got this document into the hands of the right people then everyone would see how wonderful they are. CSR or sustainability reports are about governance, a management tool to enable you to progress and improve. They provide the evidence of what you are doing, which is all great but they are not a communication tool. The key is to bring to life your sustainability vision and your story in a way that your stakeholders will appreciate and understand. The goal for sustainability communications is to reassure people that your business is a good one. May even make people feel good about your business. Whether that is your employees feeling good about working for you, suppliers feeling good about working with you, customers feeling
good about buying from you, investors feeling good about investing in you. Where to start With austerity measures being implemented in some countries, such as Greece, to tackle deﬁcits and the global recession we are seeing consumers turning in the short term to cheaper goods and it is also leading companies to ‘put oﬀ’ making long term sustainability decisions. This is a trap, as failure to prepare and gear up will leave businesses on the back foot in the future. So, where do you start? In the words of Henry Ford “a business that makes only money is a failure”. Ask what beneﬁts your business brings to the communities in which it operates and what beneﬁts would you like it to bring in the future? Are there any negative impacts and if so, how do you act responsibly to minimise this? Ask who do you want to reach and
chosen to do is to create sustainability marketing brands. They are appearing everywhere and in every industry. BMW has ‘Eﬃciency Dynamics’, GE has ‘Ecomagination’, IBM has ‘Smarter Planet’, Marks & Spencer has ‘Plan A’, Starbucks has ‘Shared Planet’ and so on and so forth. This has enabled these companies to cleverly package everything they do as a responsible business in an easy and consumable format, and it is striking a chord with stakeholders both internally and externally. Taking your internal stakeholders with you is vital to success. They are the people that will be implementing the strategy and they should be proud of the business they work for, they are your brand ambassadors. A neat way of doing this is to get them involved in the development of new sustainability ideas and initiatives. It will give them a sense of ownership and encourage them to ensure KPIs are met.
“a business that makes only money is a failure” what is the best way to reach them? It is vital to understand how doing all of this can in turn bring tangible beneﬁts to your business. This business case is what will often determine the amount of resource an organisation will put behind developing and implementing sustainability strategy. Packaging up sustainability The problem is that words like “sustainability” and “corporate responsibility” can often be meaningless to certain stakeholders. There is even, often a misunderstanding internally about what it means for the business and so communicating it to stakeholders will always be diﬃcult until everyone is on the same page. What many businesses have
Externally it is often good to talk not just of the accomplishments, but of the challenges you face and how you plan to tackle them. Some businesses shy away from this, frightened of criticism if they admit to not quite meeting expectations or targets. NGOs and opinion formers in particular understand that the big issues are tough and will appreciate the challenges you face. What these inﬂuencers really want to know is that: A) you accept there is a problem; B) you are making a genuine and concerted eﬀort to tackle it; and C) you are doing so with transparency and integrity. Many of the big NGOs are becoming more and more supportive and they are often keen to develop partnerships with business to help address problems.
Asian expansion The number of Asian companies expanding into foreign markets has doubled over the past 5 years and this pace is quickening. This provides several problems. The ﬁrst is that the vast majority of CSR leaders are Western companies and so stakeholders in Western markets will expect the same level of governance and rigour to be given to these issues by new players. Indeed many contracts require, as part of pitch and tender processes, evidence of actions being taken by the supplier company, whether this is in terms of ethical trade, human rights, environmental actions or community support, so without this they won’t be able to bid. The second is that as more Asian businesses spread their wings overseas they may be able to ﬂy under the radar for a while and so will have no reason to truly embrace sustainability practice. This would leave them exposed when someone somewhere begins to scrutinise that business as it becomes better known and more successful, and if things don’t stack up, those wings could be snipped. However, events such as the Shanghai Expo, where Asian business is being showcased to the world, are acting as catalysts across the region to push the agenda. Many are keen to prove that they can compete on sustainability against their Western counterparts or even become leaders and this can only be a good thing.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Leadership Being a leader in sustainability and corporate responsibility is not about meeting regulatory requirements or even social expectations. The former simply makes you compliant and the latter is a common misconception. If your stakeholders would say “I would expect them to do that anyway” then this isn’t leading and doesn’t set you apart. It’s obvious to say it but leading requires leadership and this can only come from the very top of the business. The best businesses in terms of sustainability have strong direction and they invest appropriately in it. The business begins to ascribe its values from its sustainability strategy.
been brought up with diversity, the explosion of connectivity and the internet, and worldwide eﬀorts to save the planet. Ambitious, motivated, conﬁdent and sophisticated, they will ask for things that previous generations may have been too nervous or embarrassed to ask for. Comfortable communicating through multiple platforms, they want information immediately and being able to express their point is important to them.
They have seen their parents working hard, long hours only to ﬁnd themselves with ﬁnancial problems during the global recession and they don’t want to ﬁnd themselves in a similar position. They want a life of riches rather than a rich life. Globally this group will more than ever seek reassurance that companies are ethical and environmentally sound and be much more willing to trade up if they don’t like what they hear.
Generation Y A companies values will become increasingly important in the coming years in attracting future consumers. Lets take Generation Y, people born between the late 70s through the 90s, and otherwise known as the ‘now’ generation. By 2020 we will see an explosion in the global middle class and as this generation builds its wealth their power will naturally increase. Whilst they may already be signiﬁcant purchasers of products and services, in ten years they will have become a major force in the economy. They will be the next group of global managers and leaders - and they are game changers for businesses wanting to attract them. The risk of losing out to more agile competition has led to many businesses, such as Microsoft touting the mantra that we must ‘adapt or die’ to this generation. This is a generation that has some major diﬀerences to previous ones (Boomers and Generation X). They are global in outlook and multicultural. They have
The need for a robust CSR policy : Supporting tables Table 1: Highlighting that the DJSI (a global index tracking the ﬁnancial performance of the leading sustainability driven companies wordwide) Asia Paciﬁc regularly outperforms MSCI.
Negative press around sustainability and corporate responsibility issues can have a considerable impact on share price. Table 2: Impact on BP share price against Dow Jones Industrial average following oil spill and environmental fall in the Gulf of Mexico.
If businesses want to be best placed to make the most of changes in customer attitude and behaviour and attract Generation Ys. To stand up to increased scrutiny from media and opinion formers. To pre-empt future regulation and legislation, rather than be forced to change, they need to embrace sustainability strategy. It can be a market diďŹ€erentiator and its success lies in weaving it into the fabric of the business and then strategically communicating it to stakeholders. Are you best positioned for future success, are you ready for the challenges of the next generation of consumer? If not, perhaps you should ďŹ nd time to stop and reset.
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High Commission News
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION NEWS JUNEJULY 2010
m sitting down to write this less than 12 hours after the end of the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s visit to Singapore. The Lord Mayor used his visit to remind people of the strength of UK’s ﬁnancial and professional services, and to highlight the opportunities still to be grasped for further partnership between the UK and Singapore. I’ve heard an overwhelming array of statistics – indeed the Lord Mayor said in his British Chamber speech that it would take 15 minutes to give you them all – but here are just a few: - The UK’s ﬁnancial services sector contributed 12.1% of total tax in 2009 - There are 280 banks represented in London: that’s more than New York, Frankfurt and Paris combined. - The UK is responsible for almost a ﬁfth of international bank lending and over a third of foreign exchange trading takes place in London. - £3.7 trillion total funds are managed in the UK – second only to the US. - The London Stock Exchange has more overseas companies than any other exchange. The Lord Mayor focused on two key areas during his visit, with potential for further co-operation: asset management and arbitration. And he spoke at two events, organised by UKTI, to highlight the opportunities. The UK had a record year in 2009 in asset management, taking £26 billion in net retail sales – 45% above its previous best year. As a result, by the end of 2009, total funds under management had reached the highest on record at £500 billion. Against this background, the UKTI seminar, at which 5 British based asset management ﬁrms were represented, highlighted innovative and niche products not currently available in Singapore. If you would like to learn more about these products, please take a look at our website – www. ukinsingapore.fco.gov.uk/ukti The UKTI seminar on arbitration demonstrated that there are
opportunities in the development of arbitration in Singapore and in London, working together. UK law ﬁrms are already a global leader in commercial law and arbitration, and English law is the law of choice in many contracts around the world. Singapore is already a major hub for law ﬁrms in Asia, with 95 international law ﬁrms here. It aims to become a centre for arbitration, and has established excellent facilities for arbitration at Maxwell Chambers. The discussion focused on increasing the cost eﬀectiveness and eﬃciency of arbitration - and perhaps exploded a few myths about arbitration. Allen & Overy, DLA Piper, Hill Dickinson, Norton Rose, Watson Farley Williams, and the Londonbased Zaiwalla & Co all participated in this event.
want more detailed discussions. The ﬁrst three seminars will be covering Indonesia, Vietnam and Korea. Within UKTI Singapore, this work is being led by Dominic Lyons, who has recently joined the team. His sole focus is supporting you in other Asian markets: if you’d like to speak to him further about this, please do give him a call on 6424 4351 or drop him an email - email@example.com. uk
We’ll be doing more work on both of these issues in the months to come.
Over the next few months, UKTI will be working with the British Chamber to deliver a new series of events for British companies operating from Singapore. My colleagues from a variety of Asian markets will be visiting Singapore to deliver seminars on the opportunities for British companies in those markets. They’ll also be oﬀering one to one meetings, for those who
For those of you in the UK in July or November, the Asia Taskforce will be holding a series of meetings across the UK, working in partnership for the ﬁrst time with RBS (big thanks to Alan Goodyear and James Walton for this!) More information can be found on www. businessinasia.co.uk
AMANDA BROOKS DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER DIRECTOR OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT www.ukinsingapore.fco.gov.uk www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk
UKTI SUPPORTED EVENTS 2010/11 DATE
June 30 Jun - 2 July The Children’s Media Conference 2010 (previously known as Showcomotion) 7-12 MIFA (Annency Animation) 24 UK reputational showcase, Shanghai 28-2 Jul Explore Expert Wales July 1 13 19-26 August 14
5 yrs on- UK’s capability in sports linked to Soccerex Asia Forum Inward mission to Asia Attractions Expo 2010 KL Farnborough Air Show
Reception & mini exhibition in support of Inaugural Youth Olympic Games
Sept 20 Sep-1 Oct Asia Pac ICT Clinic IBC - Low Carbon Vehicles 15-17 UKTI stand & Networking Reception at Medical Fair 15 Technical Seminar by Healthcare Trade Mission to Singapore
Oct IBC - DSO Security Sector 4th Qtr/2011 SE Region Meet the Expert Day 1 Inward mission to World of Learning 1 Inward mission to BES Asia Nov BDV and IBC to Technology World 30 Nov -3 Dec Networking Programme in support of OSEA Dec 8-10
Networking reception & seminar Asia TV Forum
Jan-11 12 15
Inward mission to BETT Education Show BDV to Arab Health
Mar-11 1 1 13
UK Stand at Biomedical Asia Inward mission to Education Show BDV to Int’l Food & Drink Exhibition, ExCel Ldn
TBC Railway Projects Seminar Regional BDV visit to W Midlands and SE to meet companies
CHAMBER NEWS JUNE JULY 2010 For all of you who were not able to attend the AGM on May 19th a quick heads up on what has been happening: Terry O’Connor, Board member of the Chamber for eight years and President for the last four years stepped down from the Chamber presidency. Terry’s outgoing President’s report comprised the following key messages summarizing the Chamber’s development over the recent past: BritCham 2010 – Bigger – Closer – Smarter • Continuous and sustainable membership growth • A revived and diverse events programme • Excellent relationships with sponsors, both long term and new • An active and engaged membership contributing to the Chamber development through Business Groups and Committees • A close and productive working relation with UKTI and the BHC • Strong ties with Singapore Business Associations (SBF, EDB) • A capable and committed Management Team • A very strong cash position Incoming President Steve Puckett is committed to lead and drive continuous growth and development. I would like to invite all members who are interested in participating in one of the Chamber Committees or one of the Core Business Groups to speak to Steve or myself. Being involved means getting most out of your Chamber!
Shortly before the AGM Terry, Steve and I attended the fourth BISEA conference hosted by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce in KL. The main agenda items were an economic up date about key markets in the region and an exchange of the developments of the respective Chambers. The key discussion evolved around how our respective members can beneﬁt most from the BISEA alliance. Currently BritCham Singapore oﬀers a BISEA webpage enabling members to easily click through to the other Chamber’s sites. All BritCham Singapore members can attend events presented by the Chamber’s in the region at respective member prices. Individual connection to respective contacts in the other Chamber’s are made upon request. We are working on agreeing a special membership fee scheme applicable for members in one Chamber if they wish to join one of the BISEA Chambers. Our Membership Directory 2010/2011 will also include information about BISEA. Following up on information I gave in the April issue, BritCham’s Entrepreneur and Small Businesses Group hosted their ﬁrst presentation on Thursday May 27th. A group of 18 members gathered at Host @ Clark Quay over lunch to discuss the Top 10 Mistakes of Entrepreneurs. The event was perceived as intimate, personable and highly valuable with tangible tips to take away for entrepreneurs and small business owners as well as members thinking of changing their career path and considering a start up themselves. We will be hosting a presentation every last Thursday of the month at the same
time and the same venue. Look out for information on the website and for our individual event announcements! I was also referring to the Singapore Budget 2010 in the April Issue mentioning that some of it’s measures and complexity would need to be explained in a bit more detail. For example did you know that under the Productivity and Innovation Credit = PIC businesses can deduct from taxable income 250% of their ﬁrst $300,000 spending for each of the following six activities: • • • • •
Research and Development Registration of Intellectual Property Acquisition of Intellectual Property Design Activities Automation through technology or software • Training of employees We will present a series of comprehensive up dates in special newsletters in the next couple of weeks. The results of the recently conducted membership survey are going to be available by mid June and a report will be sent to all our members by end of June. Best wishes for a pleasant and relaxing summer break wherever you are planning to spend it!
Brigitte Holtschneider Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce www.britcham.org.sg
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, SINGAPORE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS COMMITTEE “See a need, ﬁll a need”, was the motto of the main character from the 2005 computer-animated comedy Robots. In that spirit of adaptation BritCham recognised a large segment of the business community was perhaps not having their needs fulﬁlled. So the Chamber has launched the BritCham Young Professionals Committee with Miles Gooseman at the helm. Miles, Area Manager, Singapore & Malaysia for Royal Skandia Life Assurance Ltd., and the Chamber oﬃce saw an opportunity for the Chamber to engage existing members and attract a new, younger membership. The new committee will explore ways of encouraging and engaging professionals under 35. This will also provide an added beneﬁt for current Corporate members, who will have given the opportunity to develop the skills of up and coming
employees by encouraging their involvement in Chamber activities and networks. To get a better feel for the needs of the ‘young professional’ a focus group discussion was conducted by the Chamber and moderated by Chamber member Dennis Heath, of WayAhead Leadership. Findings indicated ‘young professionals’ would like access to experts in career development, leadership, people management and mentoring. The group also showed a particular interest in the collaboration of business and sport and events that would be appealing to young professionals; focused, diverse, intimate and inspirational. These ﬁndings have formed the basis and focus for the activities of the Young Professional’s Committee. The group will be holding several events throughout the year providing
opportunities speciﬁcally for young professionals. The ﬁrst initiative is a new kind of networking and development event. The ‘Dragon’s Den’ Business Challenge, to be held Thursday, 1st July 2010 at The Tanglin Club, is a business simulation pitting ﬁve teams of four against each other to see who can steer their business to success. Book your best four up-and-coming professionals for this exciting opportunity online at www. britcham.org.sg. The committee also has a Young British Chamber of Commerce LinkedIn group. An online forum for ‘young professionals’ to connect and keep up-to-date with the latest activities from the Committee. If you are interested to be part of the BritCham Young Professionals Committee please contact the Chamber oﬃce or connect with Miles on LinkedIn.
NEW MEMBERS STERLING Gazprom Marketing & Trading Singapore PTE Ltd. Arthur Tait managing Director Sterling www.gazprom-mt.com Qatar Airways Andrew Stephen Country Manager Singapore Sterling www.qatarairways.com/sg StarHub Ltd Neil Monteﬁore CEO www.starhub.com Thales Security Asia PTE LTD Ian Woodroofe CEO www.thalesgroup.com CORPORATE PLUS BSI Group Alwi Haﬁz Managing Director, ASEAN www.bsigroup.com BW Furniture Pte Ltd Charlie Brazier Managing Director Corporate Plus www.bwfurniture.com GL Noble Denton Mark McGurran Business Development Manager www.gl-nobledenton.com
London Oﬀshore Consultants Rutger Bierman Director www.locs-group.com Prime Cuisine Pte Ltd Felomina D Rulloda Managing Director www.bobbys.com.sg The AES Corporation Mark George Sandy Regional General Counsel, Asia & Middle East www.aes.com BDP Oil and Gas Logistics Pte Ltd Paul Jones Executive Director bdpoilandgas.com CfBT Education Pte Ltd Kari Lawson Charity www.cfbt.com CMC Markets Singapore Pte Ltd Ward Gavin Director of Asia (Ex-Japan) Global Marine Systems Limited Ian Douglas Managing Director www.globalmarinesystems.com K2 Specialist Services Pt Ltd Nicholas Robert Conway Managing Director www.k2velosi.com CORPORATE SME
Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd Adrian Love TBC www.gfadvice.com INCE & CO Richard Lovell Managing Partner www.incelaw.com Kennedys Julian Wallace Partner www.kennedys-law.com.sg
Actinium Consulting Pte Ltd Alexander Knight Director www.actinium.com.sg Advance Supply Chain Solutions Pte Ltd Pavan Sharma Country Manager www.advancescs.com
NEW MEMBERS Commensus Pte Ltd Peter Lazou CEO - Asia www.commensus.com
Competitive Capital Consulting Pte Ltd Shaun Warren Partner www.competitivecapital.com
Chadwick International Andrew Chadwick Principal www.chadwick-international.com
EASTWEST PR Frederic Moraillon Managing Director - South-East Asia www.eastwestpr.com
Joseph & Partners Jeremy Mark Joseph Partner www.jnplaw.my
Elmwood Design Singapore Pte Ltd Dominic Mason Managing Director www.elmwood.com
Lawford Exhibits Ltd Francesca Rabjohns Director www.lawfordexhibits.com
eVantage Technology Pte Ltd Sam Walker Director www.evantage-technology.com
McKinney Rogers International Ltd John Collins Partner, South Asia www.mckinneyrogers.com
Flying Dragon Adventures Pte Ltd Conrad Ho Managing Director www.megazip.com.sg
Young Samuel Chambers (“YSC”) Ltd Peggy Lam Senior Consultant www.ysc.com
BOOTS RETAIL (THAILAND) MICHAEL CAVES Mr.
Majuko Enterprise (S) Pte Ltd Y S Nam Managing Director Masters Medical Pte Ltd. Roger Schmid General Manager Asia www.masters-uk.com McLaughlin IP Pte. Ltd. Michael McLaughlin Patent and Trademark Attorney www.mclaughinip.com Partners In Brass Pte Ltd David Smith Managing Director www.partnersinbrass.com/ ZoMedia Pte Ltd Pierre Perrett Managing Director & Creative Director www.zomedia.sg
Keith Price Paul Coleman Andrew Douglas Emslie PETER RYAN Sree Kumar Dean Ward Manish Singh Michael Warren Peng Huat Ang Rainer Ackbari Sara Varela Suzy Goulding Kenny Rogers Graham Prior Gregory Errol Hobson Raphael Young Benjamin Paul Arnott
Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member Individual member
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, SINGAPORE BUSINESS AWARDS 2010
Creating Opportunities, Showcasing Excellence OUR MISSION To recognise outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals within the Singapore business community.
AWARD CATEGORY Customer Service Excellence Companies with a continuous proven commitment to serve customers/clients
OUR VISION To be the premier Business Awards in Singapore, which recognises outstanding achievements of both British and Singaporean businesses.
Extraordinary CSR Practice Companies with implemented CSR practices & programmes, outstanding HR, Health & Safety, Work Life Balance policies and environment & sustainability commitments.
To provide the platform of choice for promoting and showcasing business achievements. 10 YEARS ON – WHAT’S NEW? The British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore has been recognising excellence in local and international business for the past 10 years through its British Business Awards. This has positioned the Chamber as a leading exponent of business interests in Singapore. In 2010 the Chamber aims to encourage a wider and more diverse ﬁeld of nominations with the re-vamped British Chamber of Commerce Singapore Business Awards. The 2010 awards will place greater emphasis on the collaboration between British and Singapore business. NEW CATEGORIES As part of the awards re-focusing, the British Chamber of Commerce Business Awards will introduce new award categories. These will be organised away from the traditional vertical industry sectors and will incorporate horizontal cross-sector business performance and policy criteria. The British Chamber of Commerce Singapore Business Awards seeks to be relevant across industries and hence attract a wider variety of businesses and a stronger ﬁeld of contenders. Instead of only demonstrating excellence and leadership in their industry, companies will now be able to associate themselves with speciﬁc business initiatives and strategies, providing potential winners with an alternative platform for showcasing themselves to the business community.
Productivity Improvement Companies with productivity practices that have enhanced their business model and performance Innovation in Business Companies/organisations/ individuals who have shown innovation in their business practices Inspirational Creativity A broad ﬁeld of creative achievements from industries such as PR, Marketing. Advertising, Product/Business launches, Design, Architecture, Projects & Campaigns which have shown ingenuity and taken expectations to a new level Education & Training Excellence Schools, Colleges, Universities, Executive/ Personal Development professionals or companies which have internal training programmes Outstanding Professional Services Any company providing professional services for example - banks, accountants, aviation & aerospace, legal, HR, executive search, real estate, shipping, energy, oil & gas and oﬀshore services which provide outstanding levels of services and oﬀerings to their clients and customers. Young Professional of the Year Anyone under 40 years old who has performed outstandingly and shown deﬁnite career progress. Companies may enter on behalf of an outstanding employee or entrepreneurs may enter themselves.
ELIGIBILITY The British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Business Awards have broadened the eligibility criteria for award entrants. Firstly, ALL British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore members are eligible to nominate themselves for an award. Secondly, ALL Singapore registered enterprises who can demonstrate British business interests, (e.g. products, clients, management, etc), connections, partnerships or links are eligible for a British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Business Award. EXPOSURE The British Chamber of Commerce is committed to building networks, connecting business and creating opportunities. The British Chamber of Commerce Business Awards is one of the most valuable platforms the Chamber has to oﬀer for nominees and eventual winners in achieving these aims. The 2010 awards will create more exposure and publicity for the entrants not only at the Gala Dinner itself but during the process leading up to the Awards presentation as well as post event. HOW TO ENTER The entry process is simple: • Ensure that you are eligible to enter • Select the Award Category in which you wish to be considered • Go online to www.britcham.org.sg and click on ‘Business Awards 2010’ to download the entry form. • Develop a Submission document using the Judging points for your selected category • Prepare any supporting evidence/ documents • Email the entry form, submission and supporting documents to: firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the deadline of 13th August 2010
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SINGAPORE
BUSINESS AWARDS 2010 SHOWCASE YOUR PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS EXCELLENCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY EIGHT EXCITING NEW AWARD CATEGORIES HAVE BEEN LAUNCHED Customer Service Excellence Extraordinary CSR Practice Productivity Improvement Innovation in Business Inspirational Creativity Outstanding Professional Services Education & Training Excellence Young Professional of the Year
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AWARDS AND SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES PLEASE VISIT WWW.BRITCHAM.ORG.SG
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBERS OFFERS AMAN Resorts Complimentary upgrade + spa treatment (A 60-minute spa treatment is approximately valued at US$75++.) at AMAN Indonesian resorts. Valid until June 30th 2010. For further information or to book please contact Pauline Choo, Tel 68832555 or email pchoo@ amanresorts.com British Club British Club oﬀers a 15% discount (= S$ 600) for their 1 year membership* which retails @ S$ 4,000, to members of the Chamber who are not yet members of the Club. For more information please contact: membership@ britishclub.org.sg Bobby’s Taproom.Grill.Ribs • 15% oﬀ a la carte food and drinks menus Privilege Valid • At Bobby’s @ Chijmes AND Bobby’s @ Cuppage • Valid until 31 Dec 2010 Terms and conditions apply: Please present your chamber membership card prior to payment COVA Pasticceria 1-for-1 set dinner (4-course set dinner at S$69++) Promotion period: immediate to end May. Please present your British chamber membership card prior to ordering. Located at Paragon, #01-20A. For reservations, please call 67330777. Damai Spa - Grand Hyatt Singapore Grand Hyatt, Damai membership for $280 (plus GST) per month with no annual fee (one year contract. Annual fee is normally $2000). Enjoy all the beneﬁts of being a Damai Member for less than $ 10.00 a day. 20% discount at Oasis restaurant - 20% discount on all Spa treatments. Garibaldi Group Special corporate privileges at Garibaldi Italian Restaurant and Bar and Ricciotti Pizza, Pasta and Deli. 15% discount for a la carte menu, including beverage. DeSte, Italian Confectionary 10% discount. Please present your chamber membership card for discount. Terms and conditions apply. www. garibaldigroup.com.sg
The Hideaways Club - investment & luxury lifestyle uniquely combined. As a member of the British Chamber of Commerce you are eligible for The Hideaways Club Exclusive Summer Oﬀer. If you join the Club as a Lifestyle Member you will beneﬁt from an additional oﬀ-peak week in any of our luxury properties in the portfolio. This fantastic oﬀer is available until 30th September 2010*. For more information on membership please email email@example.com or call +65 6832 5522. *Subject to The Hideaways Club Destination Points Calendar. www.thehideawaysclub.com
MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. UPTO 15% DISCOUNT FOR HEALTHCARE 10% discount for British Chamber of Commerce member purchasing a new individual Prestige Healthcare policy directly from MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. Additional 5% family discount* apply. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org * Terms and Conditions apply. RBS - The Expat Desk Start a Royal Preferred Banking Relationship and enjoy an exclusive welcome package: Terms and conditions apply - Complimentary telegraphic transfers - 12,000 KrisFlyer Miles - Complimentary Golf at premier golf clubs in Singapore - Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge in Singapore, KL & Hong Kong For more information, please contact 1800 226 8899, or email: email@example.com Singapore Cricket Club The Singapore Cricket Club are oﬀering Chamber members their special Term Membership (1 year term) at a rate of SGD2,500 (usual rate $3,500). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org *oﬀer available for Britcham members only Vanda Boxing Club No joining fee (usual joining fee is $250) and a free pair of gloves and wraps worth $100 upon joining. Free of Charge introductory training session at Havelock Road or Turf City. For full details regarding our clubs please check out our website www.vandaboxing.com.
For more information on member oﬀers visit www.britcham.org.sg
Members - Sterling News
FUTUREGOV SUMMIT CHINA TO BE HELD IN DALIAN CHINA
lphabet Media’s editorial arm, FutureGov magazine, and the Dalian Municipal Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the organisation of the inaugural FutureGov Summit China, to be held on the 1-2 September 2010. The agreement was signed by James Smith, Managing Editor of FutureGov, and Liu Weichun, Director of Dalian Municipal Government Administrative Service Centre. “I was very impressed by the excellent
content and organisation of the FutureGov Summit in Bali last year, and since I came back we have been working very hard to ensure the same high-level forum could be replicated into China,” said Liu. “We are very excited to bring our winning formula to China, and about the high-level support we receive from the Dalian Municipal Government,” said FutureGov Managing Editor, James Smith. www.futuregov.net
LIVINGSTON SETS OUT OBJECTIVES FOR BT
an Livingston, chief executive of BT, has set out his three year plan for the company. By improving customer service and reducing the cost of failure, BT has reduced its costs over the last two years. The improved eﬃciency is freeing up resources to allow BT to accelerate its investment plans. Livingston also announced a major expansion of BT’s ﬁbre investment programme. Assuming an acceptable environment for investment, he said
BT’s broadband programme could potentially be extended to make ﬁbre available to around two-thirds of UK homes by 2015. The expansion of BT’s network will bring competition and consumer choice given the network is open. Such competition is beneﬁcial for consumers and businesses as it helps to ensure that prices are kept as low as possible, reinforcing the UK’s position as one of the best value countries for communications. www.bt.com
TANGLIN TRUST’S STEVEN ANDREWS JOINS COGNITA AS CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER world, where he held the position of ognita, has named Steven
Andrews as its Chief Education Oﬃcer for the UK, commencing his new role on September 1, 2010. Mr. Andrews will be responsible for developing and maintaining high standards of quality education across all Cognita schools in the UK. Mr. Andrews brings nearly 30 years of experience in the education industry to Cognita. He most recently joins Cognita from Tanglin Trust School, a leading international school in Singapore regularly cited as one of the top international schools in the
Chief Executive Oﬃcer since 2006. At Tanglin, Mr. Andrews oversaw the school’s strategic growth and yearon-year improvements in academic performances. “Steven’s extensive experience in the educational industry and considerable leadership skills make for a fantastic addition to the team, and will serve Cognita’s vision of promoting teaching excellence in all our UK schools,” said Rees Withers, Chief Executive, Cognita. www.cognitaschools.co.uk
DELOITTE PROJECTS GROWTH IN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
he global chemicals sector is projected to see a modest uptick in growth during 2010 according to a new report by the Deloitte’s Global Manufacturing Industry group, “Compass 2010: Global chemicals sector outlook”. In 2010, global chemical companies will recalibrate their business objectives and make tougher strategic choices as critical end markets begin to recover — a gradual rebound in the automotive, construction, electronics, and pharmaceutical markets are potential bright spots for the chemicals sector.
Using the lessons learned from the downturn, executives will create shortterm plans reﬂecting existing business realities, and incorporate the ability to meet future economic turbulence. Deloitte member ﬁrm chemical leaders foresee growth opportunities in 2010 as a result of innovation eﬀorts in key technology areas such as energy, health care, and climate change. These innovation initiatives will address global megatrends which could pave the way for the future and be a major source of revenue. www.deloitte.com
DHL SCORES GOLD IN READER’S DIGEST TRUSTED BRANDS
HL has clinched the Gold Award in the Airfreight/Courier Service category at the 12th annual Trusted Brands Awards 2010 organized by Reader’s Digest. For the second year running, DHL clinched the overall Gold Award for Asia and also received a Gold Award in Singapore and six other Asian countries. This year’s win marks the fourth Gold for DHL in Singapore since 2004.
DHL continues to be the chosen brand for consumers also as a result of its longstanding support of and partnerships with key industry leaders. Since 2004, for instance, DHL has been providing logistics solutions for the renowned Formula 1 races as Oﬃcial Logistics Partner, furthering its commitment to the global sports attraction. www.dhl.com
HAYS SURVEY REVEALS JOBSEEKERS IN SINGAPORE FINDING SALARIES TOO LOW
ore than one third of jobseekers believe the salaries on oﬀer are below market rate. “As candidates see that more opportunities are available and conﬁdence in the market grows, they are adjusting their salary expectations,” says Chris Mead, General Manager of Hays in Singapore. “This often prices candidates out of the market because employers are unlikely to increase salaries right now. Often
this is a response to internal pressures and a misunderstanding about the current market. In reality, there is not an abundance of quality candidates who can be secured for a salary below the level of skill sought. Moving forward employers will need to re-examine salaries in order to secure the right candidates, particularly as counter oﬀers rise in number,” Chris said. www.hays.com
Members - Sterling News
SINGAPORE SME BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ON THE UP
usiness conﬁdence among Singapore’s small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) continues to climb, placing the conﬁdence level
back in positive territory, according to the latest HSBC Small Business Conﬁdence Monitor. Around the world, a growing proportion of small businesses are bullish on the ﬁrst half of 2010 and many are, for the ﬁrst time since the ﬁnancial crisis, signalling increasing capital investment and recruitment. Commenting on the results, Ms Tan Siew Meng, Head of Commercial Banking
of HSBC Singapore, said: “Our small business conﬁdence index is telling us conﬁdence levels are back to preﬁnancial crisis levels. Not only are SMEs conﬁdent that their local economies will strengthen, they are ready to invest again in their own operations and in people. This is a very positive sign indeed given the importance and contribution of the SME sector to the larger economy in Singapore.” www.hsbc.com
QATAR AIRWAYS NAMED AMONG TOP THREE INTERNATIONAL CARRIERS AT SKY TRAX WORLD AIRLINE AWARDS 2010
atar Airways has been named among the top three airlines in the world at the latest Skytrax World Airline Awards 2010. Qatar Airways, which remains one of a select-few carriers with a Skytrax Five Star ranking, also claimed the World’s Best Business Class award in one of the most hotly contested categories. The airline’s Business Class catering was recognised separately as the best in the world.
“It is extremely gratifying to be honoured with these achievements, which recognise the outstanding eﬀorts of our employees in the air and on the ground, as we look to oﬀer the highest levels of service and consistency across all levels of our operation,” said Al Baker, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Oﬃcer. Qatar Airways currently operates a modern ﬂeet of 83 aircraft to 89 key business and leisure destinations across
Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Paciﬁc and North America. www.qatarairways.com
RBS APPOINTS JULIAN CHEONG AS HEAD OF BANKING, SOUTH EAST ASIA
he Royal Bank of Scotland Plc appoints Julian Cheong as Head of Banking for South East Asia. Mr. Cheong will be responsible for driving RBS’s aggressive growth in its banking business across debt, equity and advisory products as well as overall coverage in the region.
“Singapore is a global trading hub of RBS and will continue to play a pivotal role in helping our target clients get access to the international capital markets and investment opportunities. We believe the addition of Julian to the team will help us further strengthen and cement the bank’s relationships with our clients,
who are central to everything we do at RBS,” said Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, Country Executive, Singapore and Head of Global Banking & Markets for South East Asia and Pakistan. www.rbs.com
SINGAPORE’S AEROSPACE INDUSTRY BOLSTERED BY EXPANSION OF SAESL’S AWARDWINNING FACILITY
ingapore Aero Engine Services Private Limited (SAESL) continues to drive Singapore’s growing aerospace industry with a new $60-million facility extension. The 12,000 sqm extension will enable SAESL to take on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of additional Rolls-Royce Trent engine types, such as the Trent XWB which powers the Airbus A350.
SAESL, a joint venture between SIA Engineering Company, Rolls-Royce and Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Limited, specialises in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of Rolls-Royce Trent aero engines. The expansion of its existing facility will increase SAESL’s workforce from 800 to 900. The new jobs will include technicians, planners, quality assistants and engineers. www.saesl.com.sg
THE SUKHOTHAI BANGKOK’S CELEBRITY CHEF MAURIZIO MENCONI AT THE CLIFF
avour epicurean delights from 3 to 8 August 2010, as The Cliﬀ at The Sentosa Resort & Spa presents celebrity Chef Maurizio Menconi from the award-winning La Scala Italian restaurant from The Sukhothai Bangkok, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. He will delight guests at The Cliﬀ with unique creations of contemporary cuisine infused with the ﬂamboyant Italian ﬂair.
Set in stunning interiors with commanding views of the South China Sea, The Cliﬀ features a show kitchen, cascading water features and a splitlevel platform built over lush jungle. It is an alfresco haven for connoisseurs of exquisite seafood and ﬁne wines, complemented by excellent service. Oﬀering contemporary sea-inspired cuisine guests can experience the seasonal best from around the world nightly. www.thesentosa.com
LAUNCH OF 20102011 LIVERPOOL FC SHIRT SPONSORED BY STANDARD CHARTERED
tandard Chartered is delighted to announce the launch of the new Standard Chartered branded 2010
season Liverpool FC home shirt. Standard Chartered signed a four-year deal to be the main sponsor of Liverpool Football Club from the start of the 2010/11
season, which oﬃcially commences on the 1st July 2010. With a comprehensive rights package, sponsorship of the iconic football club will provide a platform to signiﬁcantly accelerate the Bank’s brand awareness across its core markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Ray Ferguson, Regional Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore and Southeast Asia, comments: “Without a doubt, the Liverpool FC sponsorship marks a new milestone for Standard Chartered Bank and provides a tremendous opportunity for us to grow our brand exponentially on a global scale.” www.standardchartered.com.sg
BREAKFAST CLUB SPONSORED BY:
CUT YOUR MARKETING BUDGETS AND MAKE EVERY EMPLOYEE A BRAND CHAMPION Speaker: Simone Vaz, Principal Consultant â€“ Pure Communications Date: Tuesday 11th May 2010 Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR? Speaker: Mike Balfour (OBE), Chairman, the Hideaways Club Date: Tuesday 18th May 2010 Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
AN INTRODUCTION TO COMMERCIAL MARINE SALVAGE Speaker: Stephen Wood – Salvage Master, Titan Salvage Shipping Transport and Logistics Date: Thursday 22nd April 2010 Venue: Raﬄes Hotel Singapore
BRITCHAM Q1 2010 ECONOMIC BRIEFING ďšť HOW TO TAME A DRAGON Speaker: Mr Roman Scott, BritCham Economic Spokesman, MD Calamander Group Date: Thursday 15th April 2010 Venue: The Tanglin Club, Singapore
BRITCHAM CSR SEMINAR 2010 SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN PRACTICES HIT OR MYTH? Moderated by: Professor Annie Koh, SMU Speaker: Richard Welford, Chairman, CSR Asia • Kevin Bennett, Managing Director DHL Neutral Services, Asia Paciﬁc • Katie Staﬀord, WWF-Indonesia Date: Thursday 06th May 2010 Venue: Shangri-La hotel, Singapore
Leaders in Business Lunch Series sponsored by:
LORD MAYOR LUNCH ďšş THE CITY TODAY: OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTNERSHIP Speaker: The Lord Mayor of The City of London, Alderman Nick Anstee Date: Tuesday 25th May 2010 Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
OSSIE ARDILES SPECIAL EVENING Presented by: Barclays Capital Date: Friday 09th April 2010 Venue: Singapore Cricket Club, Singapore
GLOBAL GAS AND LNG MARKETS OVERVIEW ďšť GOOD TO GROW? Presenter: Doug Rotenderg Regional Vice President, BP - Gas Asia Middle East Date: Tuesday 04th May 2010 Venue: Singapore Cricket Club
NEW MEMBERSâ€™ EVENING 2010 Hosted by: Rubicon Reserve Wines Date: Thursday 03th June 2010 Venue: HOST@Clarke Quay
Members - Corporate News
AMBITION LAUNCHES NEW CAREER BLOG IN ASIA
mbition has announced the launch of its ‘Ambition Career Blog’ in Singapore and Hong Kong. The blog provides opinion and thought leadership as well as oﬀering high quality articles and video clips relating to the specialist areas of banking & ﬁnancial services, accounting & ﬁnance and sales & marketing recruitment. Guy Day, Managing Director – Asia and UK, Ambition said, “Skills shortages will become more acute in Asia over the next one to two years. The launch of our new ‘Ambition Career Blog’ will create opportunities for us to reach international candidates who are willing to relocate.” www.ambition.com.sg
ASCENDAS BAGS TWO AWARDS AT 2010 CITYSCAPE ASIA REAL ESTATE AWARDS
eading business space solutions provider, Ascendas has clinched two awards in the 2010 Cityscape Asia Real Estate Awards. Dalian Ascendas IT Park in China came out top in the “Best Urban Design and Master Planning” category and Citi at 3 Changi Business Park Crescent in Singapore won the “Best Green Building (Built)” category. Ms Chong Siak Ching, Ascendas President and CEO, said, “We are extremely proud of the benchmarks set by these two developments. The awards are testament to our unwavering commitment to deliver quality solutions to our customers.” www.ascendas.com
ASCOTT BOOSTS PRESENCE IN INDONESIA WITH SECOND CITADINES SERVICED RESIDENCE
apitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has secured a contract to manage its second Citadines-branded serviced residence in Indonesia.
Mr Alfred Ong, Ascott’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia and Australia said: “There’s a strong growth potential for Ascott in Indonesia as more travellers are choosing serviced residences over other accommodation options. Our properties are also performing well with an average occupancy of about 80%. With Citadines Jakarta Rasuna and Citadines Jakarta Quartier, we will be able to cater to the growing segment of savvy travellers who desire ﬂexibility in choice. www.the-ascott.com
LATEST PAX DATA REVEALS RECORD SHOWING FOR BBC WORLD NEWS
he latest Synovate PAX survey sees BBC World News record its highest weekly and monthly ﬁgures since the survey began publishing quarterly results in 2002. The channel saw its weekly audience grow by more than 20% year-on-year in Asia Paciﬁc markets. Jeremy Nye, Head of Audience Insight at BBC Global News, says: “It is fantastic to see such strong growth in what is a key region for BBC World News. The fact that we have recently introduced more content tailored to viewers in the Asia Paciﬁc region should help us to build on what is yet another excellent showing.” www.bbc.co.uk
BG GROUP ANNOUNCES US APPALACHIAN BASIN JOINT VENTURE WITH EXCO
G Group announced that it has entered into further joint venture arrangements with its US shale partner, EXCO Resources, Inc. BG Group Chief Executive Frank Chapman said: “We are delighted to expand our highly successful alliance with EXCO built around complementary skills and objectives. The new joint venture will further strengthen BG Group’s unconventional gas portfolio, adding, at an attractive price, substantial resources adjacent to the premium gas markets of the US eastern seaboard. This transaction provides critical mass to BG Group’s US upstream gas business, with total resources estimated at more than 7 trillion standard cubic feet (tcf ). www.bg-group.com
BRITISH AIRWAYS MAKES NEW INVESTMENT IN FACILITIES
ritish Airways has invested £100 million in its ﬂagship brand drawing on its rich heritage to create an exclusive experience based on classic design and understated luxury. British Airways frequent ﬂyer, actress Rachel Weisz, said: “For style, stellar service and complete luxury, it doesn’t get better than British Airways new First cabin.” British Airways head of customer experience Mark Hassell, said: “We have contemporised First and created an intimate private jet experience onboard. We have resisted gadgets and gimmicks and focused instead on simplicity and quality. Every feature has been carefully considered and researched to ensure we are giving our customers what they want.” www.britishairways.com
CISI IN PHILIPPINES PRESENTS INTEGRITY AT WORK SEMINAR TO BANK AND REGULATOR
inancial services workers in the Philippines are the latest to beneﬁt from a Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment workshop on ethics. The CISI ran the Integrity at Work course for, staﬀ from the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Securities & Exchange Commission. The sessions were delivered by Paul Hedges Chartered FCSI, CISI Director and Acting Head of ASEAN. He said: “The sessions were well received and considered extremely timely by both organisations as the Central Bank of the Philippines is asking for input from the industry to develop tighter regulations for corporate governance and risk management.” www.secinst.co.uk
FULFORD PR GETS ACQUIRED
ingapore’s homegrown lifestyle and sports PR agency, Fulford PR has been acquired by international marketing services group, Qobliq, at an undisclosed value. As part of the acquisition, Fulford PR will become the Asian arm of Qobliq’s communications divisions, supporting and growing the group’s consumer and sports portfolio in the region. “This is an extremely exciting development for Fulford PR and will enable the agency to broaden the scope of our lifestyle and Sports PR operations and deliver more for our clients both here in Asia and across Europe,” Linda Fulford, founder of Fulford PR said. www.fulfordpr.com
Members - Corporate News
IPAC’S WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS LEADERSHIP FORUM CHALLENGERS EMPLOYERS TO OPTIMSIE FEMALE TALENT
pac Financial Planning Singapore hosted its inaugural Women Mean Business Leadership Forum to address the subject of optimising female talent in the workforce and how to groom and retain leaders at senior levels. Women make up only 35 per cent of the total number of employed managers and senior oﬃcials, according to the 2008 Report on the Labour Force. The challenge is for corporate decision-makers to take a proactive approach towards grooming future female leaders from this talent pool. www.ipac.com.sg
IQE POSTS STERLING RESULTS IN 2009
QE Plc, the leading global supplier of advanced wafer products and wafer services, records sequential revenue growth of 46% in H2, demonstrating strong recovery. Dr Drew Nelson, IQE Chief Executive, said: “We made excellent progress in 2009 on all fronts - strategic, operational and ﬁnancial. We continue to build on our market leadership. We demonstrated a high degree of operational and ﬁnancial resilience through a challenging year thanks to proactive management, and a committed and professional workforce. We believe that this positions us well to continue to grow our market share.” www.iqep.com
ONE IN TWO SINGAPORE BASED COMPANIES ARE NOT STRATEGICALLY MANAGING THEIR BUSINESS RISKS
hird in a series of surveys since 2002, KPMG’s Singapore Enterprise Risk Management Survey 2010 nevertheless shows that more than half of companies polled in Singapore may be unprepared for a future downturn. Just over half (51 percent) of all companies polled in Singapore have implemented an enterprise wide risk management programme. Only onein-four (26 percent) understand its strategic importance.
Mr Irving Low, Head of Enterprise Risk Management at KPMG in Singapore said, “What is surprising is that in-light of the turmoil which confronted the ﬁnancial sector these past two years, only 61 percent of them have implemented ERM.” www.kpmg.com.sg
GO INDIA AT MELT
mbark on a culinary expedition to India at MELT ~ The World Café at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, as Indian-born Chef Bharat Singh Negi showcases an exquisite menu of traditional South Indian specialities from 22 to 31 July 2010. With more than a decade of South Indian cuisine experience, Chef Negi enthrals with his signature dishes such as “Kerala Beef Stew”, a Kerala-style beef with th coconut milk and whole spices; “Iraichi Milagu Pirattiathu”, a lamb and pepper marsala;“Kozhi zh hi Chettinad”, a home-style chettinad chicken; and much more. For reservations, please call alll al MELT~The World Café on 6885 3082. www.mandarinoriental.com
MATADOR HELPS OIL TRADING COMPANY LEVERAGE ON TECHNOLOGY
n a strategic move to eﬀectively manage critical business processes including contracts and inventory, the trading arm of a leading independent petroleum company engaged Matador to develop a custom oil and gas trading system. The commodity trading solution is designed to improve the eﬃciency of the trading process through process automation, secured system access and data consistency. “We are pleased to be able to meet the company’s business software needs and we anticipate further expansion of the system to meet the company’s steady growth,” said Mathew Boylan, President and CEO, MATADOR Systems Pte Ltd. www.matadorhub.com
REGUS PARTNERS WITH IHG’S PRIORITY CLUB REWARDS
HG (InterContinental Hotels Group), the world’s largest hotel company, and Regus, the world’s largest provider of innovative workplace solutions, today announce a partnership that oﬀers the 48 million members of IHG’s Priority Club Rewards (PCR) complimentary annual membership to the Regus businessworld gold programme. The Regus businessworld gold card provides professionals immediate access to more than 1,000 business lounges in 450 cities worldwide. Mark Dixon, Global CEO, Regus plc comments: “It’s a natural partnership that demonstrates our understanding of our customers’ lifestyle. The global footprint and quality Regus oﬀers is a great match with IHG and Priority Club Rewards.” www.regus.com
ROBERT WALTERS WINS TWO PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS
obert Walters added yet another two prestigious awards to its list of accolades this year. The world’s leading recruitment ﬁrm was recently named Best International Recruitment Consultancy at The Recruiter Awards for Excellence 2010 in London. It also snagged The Asian Banker Supporting Industry Achievement Award for Strategic Executive Search to the Commercial Banking Industry, Mid-Level Category, for 2010. Commenting on the receipt of the award, Richard Parnell, CEO of Asia Paciﬁc, said: “On behalf of all of my colleagues throughout the region, we are delighted to receive this acknowledgment of a high quality, team eﬀort.” www.robertwalters.com
EQUINOX COMPLEX’S CROWNING JEWEL JAAN PAR ANDRÉ MAKES INTERNATIONAL HISTORY
caling the heights of international restaurant accolades, French nouvelle establishment Jaan par André has set an historic record for Singapore with its debut amongst the top restaurants in the renowned S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2010. Sharing his elation, Mr Aiden McAuley, General Manager, Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore and Regional Vice President, Asia Paciﬁc, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, said, “Swissôtel The Stamford and Equinox Complex are extremely proud of Jaan par André’s spectacular debut in this year’s ‘List’ – an honour that we must dedicate to our extraordinary culinary and service teams who epitomise our credo - A Passion For Perfection.” www.swissotel.com
NEW GOVERNMENT MUST ADDRESS UK COMPETITIVENESS SAYS ICAEW
ommenting on the UK government’s £6bn of saving cuts in public spending, Michael Izza, Chief Executive of the ICAEW, said: “These cuts are inevitable and we have to accept them. It is clear that there are some deep-seated problems to address in the UK’s public ﬁnances and we have this once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle them. We want to see meaningful reform in public sector ﬁnances through transparency, accountability and governance. This will lead to more eﬀective delivery of public services and value for taxpayers’ money.’ www.icaew.com
WATSON, FARLEY & WILLIAMS LLP ADVISES LENDERS ON US$97.3 MILLION FINANCING TO JOINT VENTURE COMPANY QUIPPO PRAKSH
he Singapore oﬃce of Watson, Farley & Williams LLP advised ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Punjab National Bank and Indian Bank in relation to loan and letter of credit facilities aggregating US$97.3m to part ﬁnance of the acquisition of, and project costs relating to, a derrick pipe-laying vessel chartered and delivered to joint venture company, Quippo Prakash. Quippo Prakash is a joint venture between Quippo Oil and Gas of India, MDL Energy or India and SapuraCrest of Malaysia. The new vessel is capable of laying pipe up to ﬁve in diameter and in 150 metre water depths. www.wfw.com
WING TAI WINS 2010 MAY DAY CBF MODEL PARTNERSHIP AWARD SINGAPORE, 29 MAY 2010
ing Tai Holdings Limited wins the May Day CBF Model Partnership Award 2010 – Institutional Category. As an early adopter of Best Sourcing Initiative (BSI), the company has seen signiﬁcant enhancements to staﬀ productivity and performance. “Working closely with our staﬀ union and partners, we were able to implement BSI successfully to achieve cost eﬃciencies and higher service levels, leading to increased productivity and competitiveness,” says Ms Karine Lim, General Manager of Group Human Resource, Wing Tai Holdings. www.wingtaiasia.com.sg
WWF INVITES YOU TO STEP FORWARD TO BE A ONE PLANET LEADER
ome of the biggest challenges facing business in Asia Paciﬁc surround questions of sustainability in rapidly advancing economies. WWF is bringing to Asia Paciﬁc for the ﬁrst time One Planet Leaders - an applied Sustainability training programme designed to help companies understand and meet the complex environmental and social challenges to build competitive advantage and future-proof their business. The programme has a successful 3 years run in Europe. And past participants include many multinational companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Nokia, IKEA, Sodexo, Procter & Gamble etc. www.wwf.org
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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH INDONESIA’S ENDANGERED ORANGUTANS
By Amandeep Bhangu, Reporter, Fast:Track, BBC World News
hat’s orange, hairy, lives in the trees, with a judo grip as strong as seven men?” I’m impressed by my park ranger’s pace, and sense of humour, as we trek deeper into the dense jungle. Then, all of a sudden, Efan Ekananda stops and in a low, conspiratorial voice whispers: “Stay close by and follow my instructions at all times. If they come towards us, I’ll know what to do.” I should hope so, I think, as my wide eyes dart around us expecting to see - arguably Indonesia’s most famous resident - the orang-utan. Efan roars with laughter, fully aware the only jungle I’ve known so far is an urban one. It’s not everyday one gets a chance to travel into the unknown. It might be the third largest island in the world, but Kalimantan is one of Indonesia’s least visited provinces. Borneo, the Malaysian and Brunei side of this island, is both better known and better explored. Perhaps this is because rivers remain the main – and in places – the only highway through this vast southern interior. Having ﬂown from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, it’s a ﬁve-hour journey up the Sekonyer river from the tiny port of Kumai, in Pangkalan Bun, to the gateway of the Tanjung Puting National Park. The klotok, motorised river boat, chugs slowly through the increasingly narrow water ways, framed by huge fronds of nipa palms, mangroves and swamps. Sitting on the ﬂat roof I’m soon seeing proboscis monkeys making wild
leaps from the branches straight into the water, leaving only their oversized noses in view; whilst I can just about make out gibbons moving swiftly through the treetops disturbing kites and kingﬁshers into ﬂight and casting shadows across
used for food, industry and bio fuels critics argue these laws aren’t rigorously enforced, penalties aren’t harsh enough and deforestation continues on a mass scale.
the water where I suspect the crocodiles lie, waiting to see who else dares to take a dip.
“Since I started working here, in 2000, I’ve noticed that we’ve lost already about ﬁfty ﬁve percent of our forest area”. Efan provides a local insight into a devastating regional picture which points to a more worrying ﬁgure of over seventy percent of all of Indonesia’s forests having been destroyed thus far. “But if that’s not bad enough, our indigenous orangutans are also targeted by the illegal pet trade, especially the young ones.” Indeed, last year a report compiled by Traﬃc, the international wildlife trade monitoring network, suggested more orang-utans are being traded on the black market than in previous decades and, in conjunction with the loss of vital habitat, the overall population has shrunk by a staggering eighty percent over the last seventy-ﬁve years. And whilst we’re talking statistics, take three percent: that’s all that separates human DNA from the orang-utans’. It begs the question, what’s in that three percent diﬀerence that’s makes it so diﬃcult for humans to peacefully co-exist with our
There’s an even bigger threat under this perfect surface, for Indonesia holds the dubious record of the highest number of endangered species in the world. And whilst the name orang-utan is derived from Malay and Bahasa to mean ‘person of the forest’, its forest home is disappearing at an alarming rate. Environmentalists fear this great ape – the only kind outside Africa, living exclusively in Malaysia and Indonesia – could be driven to extinction within ten years. They predict a similar fate for much of the rich ﬂora and fauna which depends on this delicate habitat that has suﬀered from decades of abuse from illegal logging, gold mining polluting the water supply with mercury and frequent forest ﬁres. Although the government has now legislated against the recent trend in palm oil plantations – whereby virgin forest is cleared to grow palm oil
redheaded cousins? A mixture of greed and ignorance is the damning answer and is driving further destruction as I write. National Parks are now recognised as the frontline to safeguarding the orangutans and their precious environment. I’ve travelled to Tanjung Puting, one of the largest of the ﬁfty national parks in Indonesia. Commended for its conservation eﬀorts, it’s more widely known as home to Camp Leakey, the centre established in 1971 by Dr Birute Galdikas with the assistance of the Leakey Foundation, the US philanthropic foundation. Respected as the authority on orang-utans, the Canadian researcher was the ﬁrst to document how their eight-year birth cycle, the longest among mammals, makes them vulnerable to extinction. Although the original aim was to study and reintroduce orphaned or rescued orang-utans back into the wild, in more recent years it’s been discovered these primates can never be completely wild again, with some criticising over familiarity with humans playing a role in this. Efan adds: “Orangutans are highly susceptible to human diseases, so nowadays only park rangers are permitted contact with those that return to the dedicated feeding stations. And we only give some basics, once a day, so they don’t depend on us for their entire diet.” For the visitor a trip to the feeding station promises a perfect photo opportunity in a relatively, safe environment. And that’s where we’re heading.
“It’s no wonder they call it a jungle. It’s certainly very hot and steamy”, I reﬂect as I notice my sweat-drenched clothes and socks drawn up over my trousers to prevent leeches. “Hmmm, not the best of looks”. Efan, of course, takes it all in his stride as he navigates us through the undergrowth; the national park authorities are strict about which areas are open to public access, in order to
keep the environment as untouched and as wild as possible. To avoid adding to environmental degradation, visitors are asked to follow the maxim that is posted in every Indonesian national park: ‘Take nothing but photos. Leave nothing but footprints’. Walking through the changing landscape, the shift in the rainforest’s microclimate is discernible. I’m relieved the thick canopy of trees oﬀers shelter from the beating sun – the same canopy, Efan explains, where the orang-utans spend nearly all their time; brieﬂy descending when they really need to. Taken with the fact we’re still some way oﬀ from Camp Leakey, I’m completely taken by surprise by what happens next. It all occurs so fast I will, however, endeavour to recall the spirit of the experience for you. Suddenly in the distance I make out a huge auburn ball. Soon legs, arms and a face come into focus. I stop and stare at it. It stops and seems to stare straight back at me. Then it’s moving, towards us. Without turning, glee unmasked on my face, I barely get my words out in a whisper: “Oh my god, I’ve just seen my ﬁrst orang-utan and it’s heading our way.” Naturally, Efan has clocked this a good two minutes before I comprehend reality and nods calmly. With the gap between it and us closing fast – although not at a menacing pace – I turn to ask: “I thought they’re supposed to be reclusive primates, who hardly ever approach people away from the feeding stations?” His eyes remain ﬁxed ahead of us, “Looks like this one wants to be our friend. Now, get behind me, quick!” As I start to make a move I only just catch a ﬂash of colour in my peripheral vision, simultaneously feeling a ﬁrm, yet gentle, grip as I look down to see a huge, human-like – albeit extremely hairy – hand on my thigh. Yet in an instant, the orang-utan releases me and changes its interest to Efan, who acts as a human shield between us, shoving his bag in my direction and ordering me to step aside. Breathless with excitement, admittedly I don’t obediently oblige his instruction exactly to the letter and my deliberate, close proximity to this captivating primate provokes another lurch in my direction. “Walk away!” This time I hear it’s my own voice chastising me, and having learnt
myy lesson les esso son n I do do just jus that, but ut aam m ca care careful refu ful t keep to kee eep p facing faci fa cing ng Efan Efa fan and d this th his great gre eat aape pe distance, at alll ttimes. imes es.. From a safe dist tance ce e, la lladen den with ourr bags, bag bags, s I watch wat atch ch tthe he iintriguing ntriguing exchange e ex xch c an ange ge e off half-embraces h lf ha lf-e emb m races aand nd gentle pushing, push pu shin ng, g as Efan Efa fan n disentangles disentangl gles himself And from m the the orang-utan’s oraang ng-u utan’s grip. A nd even close enough hear if I was was cclo lose se e eno ough h to h e r what he ea is saying sayin ayin ay ing g softly, I suspect sus uspect ctt I wouldn’t wou o ldn’t be sense able ab le e to to make much sens nse e of o it. i After all, unlikely EEnglish nglilish ng s is un unli like kely ke lyy tto o be the the ﬁrst choice of language. lan anguag angu a e. ag Our friend is soon oﬀ again but this time meanders down the path away from us, no longer curious by our presence, instead in nstead more distracted by digging up aan n ant hill. “So if a tourist comes by themselves them mse selv l es they the ey could coul co uld d come across an orang-utan or ran angg-ut utan an llike ike ik e we jjust ust did?”, I ask, still giddy g iddy and shaking ever so slightly from the experience of barely a few moments ago. Efan is brushing himself down: “Yes, ago “Yes Y but that’s why we recommend visitors being accompanied by park rangers at all times. In fact it’s one of the rules. The orang-utans are attracted by the bags thinking there’s food inside and only the trained rangers know how to handle them, avoiding harm to all involved.” I don’t need telling twice and glance back one last time before falling into step as we resume our trek to Camp Leakey. Visiting the feeding stations certainly lives up to the hype. A dozen or so orang-utans play, eat, sleep, seemingly unaware of being watched, nearby but at a reassuringly safe distance. And witnessing the enthusiastic response from the other tourists present, I can see why it’s hoped that by encouraging more people to make it out here to see these beautiful creatures in the ﬂesh and relative wild this may help to stir sympathy for their plight, galvanise action against their destruction and bring in vital tourist revenue to support future projects. Of course, for me, I’ll treasure my lucky close encounter as one of the most surreal and humbling experiences of my life.
www.bbcworldnews.com orient 65
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Published on May 31, 2010
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FUTUREPROOFING YOUR BUSINESS FOR FUTURE SUCCESS www.britcham.org.sg ISSUE25 : JUNEJULY 2010 BRITCHAM AGM 20...