DPM Heng Swee Keat applauds the achievements of  Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) Singapore and emphasizes the potential for deeper regional cooperation in technology and sustainability

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Heng Swee Keat, delivered a speech at SMBC Singapore’s 60th Anniversary celebration on December 5, 2023. The event, attended by prominent figures including Ambassador Hiroshi Ishikawa, SMBC Chairman Makato Takashima, and SMBC President and CEO Akihiro Fukutome, commemorated the rich history of SMBC, a global firm with a legacy spanning over 400 years.

SMBC’s presence in Singapore dates back to 1963, and today it stands as the largest Japanese bank in the country, employing over 1,300 individuals. DPM Heng Swee Keat expressed condolences for the passing of SMFG President and Group CEO Jun Ohta, recognizing his contributions to strengthening ties between ASEAN and Japan.

Highlighting the growth of Singapore’s financial sector, DPM Heng Swee Keat emphasized its current contribution of 14% to the country’s GDP. He commended SMBC’s pivotal role in the region, serving as the Asia Pacific regional HQ with expertise in corporate banking, infrastructure finance, and sustainable finance.

Japan’s economic prospects were also discussed, with DPM Heng Swee Keat noting a forecasted 2% growth in 2023. He sees opportunities for collaboration, particularly in the areas of sustainability and technology. SMBC’s initiatives, such as the Asia Innovation Centre and the Asia Rising Fund, were commended for fostering innovation and supporting FinTech startups in the region.

The Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged SMBC’s role in sustainable financing, citing its involvement in financing Singapore’s first hydrogen-ready plant. He also praised SMBC’s participation in national initiatives, including MAS’ AI utility NovA! and the Transition Credits Coalition (TRACTION).

Recognizing the importance of a skilled workforce, DPM Heng Swee Keat lauded SMBC’s involvement in training programs like the Technology in Finance Immersion Programme and its role as a founding partner of the Singapore Green Finance Centre.

Expressing gratitude for SMBC’s steadfast partnership with Singapore, DPM Heng Swee Keat looks forward to further collaboration and the deepening of SMBC’s footprint in Singapore and the wider region.

In closing, the Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged the strong relationship between Japan and Singapore, expressing optimism about exploring new opportunities and fostering greater cooperation, including in financial intermediation.

Source – PMO