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Singapore WMI aims to deepen FO engagement
Institute's initiatives nurture family office integration, compliance, sense of community
Tom King 13 Sep 2023

In response to a twofold surge in demand, Singapore’s Wealth Management Institute (WMI) is launching two new initiatives to further deepen engagement of family offices (FOs) with Singapore.

The first initiative will be the Family Office Discovery Series programme that was developed and organized with the support of Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

This initiative will work to orientate newly arrived FOs to Singapore and support closer integration into its ecosystem, with the aim of nurturing a sense of belonging and purposeful engagement within the community. It will be systematically offered to recent and new FOs being established in the Southeast Asian wealth hub.

The second initiative, the Family Office Risk Management and Controls programme, will be targeted to help strengthen capabilities in the FO ecosystem to safeguard against financial crime and uphold compliance requirements and standards relating to onboarding and due diligence, cross-border jurisdiction and tax, capital and exchange control matters.

This initiative, with its emphasis on risk management, comes at a timely moment as Singapore continues its investigation into a high-profile S$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) money-laundering case in which both local and international banks have been caught up.

In his address at the recent Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore, deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat underlined that the city-state’s ability to channel funds into productive purposes was crucial to its success as a financial centre.

And he commended the action of a number of wealthy individuals who were using Singapore as a base for their philanthropic, charitable and sustainable financing work.

But it was crucial, Heng added, for Singapore to stay vigilant against money laundering and terror financing as “we want Singapore to be a financial centre that people can trust.”

Singapore’s FO industry has grown rapidly in recent years, according to EDB figures, with the number of family offices in the city-state, as of end 2022, estimated to be 1,100.

“Over the past year, total participation in WMI’s family office programmes and forums have doubled to over 3,000 since launch,” says Foo Mee Har, the WMI’s chief executive. “Additionally, more than 200 professionals have successfully earned their Certified Family Office Adviser credentials by completing a rigorous curriculum.”

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