Singapore is one of the leading financial institutions in the world. The Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) is the world's most authoritative comparison of the competitiveness of the world’s leading financial centres.
GFCI 30 provides evaluations of future competitiveness and rankings for 116 financial centres around the world.
In the GFCI 30, Singapore was ranked 4th.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. MAS regulates and supervises over 150 deposit-taking institutions in Singapore, including full banks, wholesale banks, merchant banks and finance companies. Financial institutions (FIs) wishing to conduct banking business in Singapore must meet MAS' admission criteria and receive written authorisation from MAS to set up a wholesale bank or merchant bank in Singapore.
Types of Deposit-Taking Institutions
Full banks may undertake universal banking, including the following activities:
Cheque services and lending.
Any other businesses regulated or authorised by MAS, including financial advisory services, insurance broking and capital market services.
Some full banks are DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, UOB Bank, Bank of India, CIMB Bank, Bangkok Bank.
The 3 major Singapore local banks
Established in 1968, DBS has 54 years of heritage. It is the largest bank in Southeast Asia measured by total assets of S$686 billion assets, with a net profit of S$6.8 billion.
DBS has an extensive network across Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and India, and is one of Asia’s leading banks with over 9 million customers in 18 markets. The bank has received 56 awards, including Best Bank in the World, the prestigious World’s Best Global Banks 2018 Awards by Global Finance.
In 2018, DBS was also named World’s Best SME Bank by Euromoney. DBS has banking facilities that provide corporate and project financing, syndicated loan and bank guarantees. In addition, the bank provides investment and advisory banking services, that comprise offshore financial advisory including hedging of currencies and commodities, arranging, underwriting and placement of fixed income debt securities, as well as advisement on Initial Public Offers, secondary listings and equity placements for Singapore and Hong Kong equity markets.
Founded in 1932, OCBC is the longest-established bank in Singapore, formed from the merger of 3 local banks - Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank and Oversea-Chinese Bank.
OCBC’s key markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China, with more than 470 branches and representative offices in 19 countries and regions. It is the second-largest banking group in Singapore by total assets.
The bank was named Best Managed Bank by The Asian Banker in 2016, 2019 and 2020. OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of commercial banking, specialist financial and wealth management services, ranging from consumer, corporate, investment, private and transaction banking to treasury, insurance, asset management and stockbroking services.
UOB was first founded as the United Chinese Bank in 1935. UOB’s strong foothold is in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China. Today, the UOB Group has a network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America.
The bank was awarded Asia and World’s Best Bank for SMEs in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2021. UOB provides a wide range of financial services, including personal financial services, private banking, commercial and corporate banking, investment banking, corporate finance, capital market activities, treasury services, futures broking, asset management, venture capital management, insurance and stockbroking services.
Why Bank in Singapore?
Singapore ranked 3rd in the 2021 Safest Cities Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
DBS Bank announced in 2020 that it has been named the “Safest Bank in Asia” for the 12th consecutive year by New York-based trade publication Global Finance. DBS’ rankings as the fourth-safest commercial bank in the world and 14th safest bank globally remain unchanged from 2019 and 2018.
In Singapore, your money is protected by insurance. Many Financial Institutions (FI) are under the Deposit Insurance Scheme under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). If the FI were to collapse one day, all of your insured deposits with the institution will be aggregated and insured up to S$75,000. In addition, money placed with a member bank under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) and CPF Retirement Sum Scheme (CPFRS) are aggregated and separately insured up to S$75,000.
Privacy of Customer’s Information
Singapore’s __ Under Section 47 of the Banking Act (Cap 19), Privacy of Customer’s Information, it prohibits the sharing of customer information unless otherwise stated within the Act. The Act imposes stringent fines should any of the clauses be breached.
Useful Links and Info
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is the central bank and financial regulatory authority of the Republic of Singapore. It administers the various statutes pertaining to money, banking, insurance, securities and the financial sector in general, as well as currency issuance.
MAS’ Home Page: https://www.mas.gov.sg
The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS)
The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) is a non-profit organisation that represents the interests of the commercial and investment banking community. As at 31 January 2021, their membership comprised 154 local and foreign banks/institutions and representative offices operating in Singapore.
ABS’ Home Page: https://abs.org.sg/
GoBusiness is jointly developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), and GovTech, it also offers personalised help and recommendations for your business.
It is the go-to platform for businesses in Singapore to access Government e-services and resources.
GoBusiness’ Home Page: https://www.gobusiness.gov.sg
Keen to start a business in Singapore?
Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB)
The Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB), commonly known as the CPF Board or simply the Central Provident Fund (CPF), is a compulsory comprehensive savings and pension plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents primarily to fund their retirement, healthcare, and housing needs in Singapore.
CPF’s Home Page: https://www.cpf.gov.sg