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. SI NGAPOURE 2-1 . 1999 . CONTENCE 1. Words page 2. Base text page 3. 3. The list of used materials page 1. Words. 2. Base text. Singapore. Asia s second financial hub Opportunities in Hongkong exodus Although Kuala Lumpur has stolen some of its thunder, Singapore is in no danger of losing its unofficial title of

Southeast Asias answer to Hongkong. The question is whether Singapore can join New York, London, and Hongkong as a truly global, full-service financial center. More to the point, will Singapores government surrender enough control to let the island republic fulfill its potential The fact that Singapore is known as the Switzerland of the East is testimony to the machinelike efficiency with which it has pursued success.

Entrepreneurial flair has never been a selling point. Even so, what Singapore does, it does exceptionally well. It is unquestionably the worlds most user-friendly financial hub The quality of its physical infrastructure, telecommunications capabilities, and work force is simply unparalleled. As a result, the Lion City has been a magnet for investment banks and commercial banks

alike. This, together with the growing interest in emerging market currencies, has enabled Singapore to challenge Tokyo as Asias top forex center. And it is already the regions premier derivatives hub, as strong in over-the-counter products as it is in exchange-traded ones. The fact that the Barings debacle originated on the Simex floor has done little to dent Singapores repution or dampen its appeal.

But Simex is itself a reflection of Singapores cautious approach. Although the exchange does a brisk business in eurodollar, euroyen, and Nikkei stock index futures, not one Singaporean product is traded. Similarly, while the Singapore dollar could well serve as a safe-haven currency, the government has resisted calls to internationalize it. Nor does it display the least desire to innovate in even the

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