At WMI's official campus opening on 9 February 2022

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat,
Members, WMI Board of Trustees,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning everyone. A very warm welcome to WMI’s new campus. Thank you for joining us at our Official Campus Opening today.

We are grateful to have DPM Heng Swee Keat grace our Opening today. We were privileged to also have DPM’s presence at our previous event in 2017 where we announced WMI’s appointment as Lead Training Provider for Private Banking by IBF, supported by MAS. Thank you DPM for your strong support of the work of WMI.

This event is made even more memorable with the presence of two special guests who were the driving force behind the founding of WMI - Madam Ho Ching and Mr Ng Kok Song. They foresaw the trend of rising wealth in Asia 20 years ago; created WMI to build the talent pool to seize that opportunity. We have benefited from their pioneering work, and we continue to receive their unwavering support and guidance.

Establishing our new campus at One Marina Boulevard puts us at the heart of Singapore’s financial district, and closer to our clients, partners and the industry. This move reflects WMI’s commitment to be a nexus for the finance industry where professionals and thought leaders come together to share knowledge and build a community.

Major Global Transitions
There are major transitions in the world impacting finance and in turn wealth management. Covid is one, moving from pandemic to epidemic or hopefully endemic.  With that, economies are seeing growth driver passing from public sector stimulus to private sector spending.  Economic policies are moving away from being accommodative to neutral or even restrictive.  At the same time, climate change is driving a massive transition from brown to green; and technology continues its relentless disruptions.  Geopolitics too is seeing a transition to a more contested structure.  These transitions are creating many challenges and opportunities for the wealth management industry, which sits at the center of the financial ecosystem.

Wealth is the accumulation of scarce resources. It provides its owners financial security and non-financial impacts.  For society, these in turn give opportunities through the funding of enterprises and other productive efforts.  It needs to be well managed.

Wealth and asset managers – who are our students, alumni and partners – have a key role to play in all these. Done well, including good technical competency, quality stewardship and sustainable practices, these professionals create value for the wealth owners, financial industry, society at large and for ourselves.  This is the essence of how wealth management needs to perform and respond to the various transitions.

As an example, skillful and sustainable practices are strongly needed in enabling the massive energy transition. It is estimated that the capital need is $3-$4 trillion dollars per year for the next 30 years.  Good Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing would be key to deal with the sheer quantum, complexity and trade-offs.  It is in fact a huge opportunity for the industry e.g. if we can help create public-private investment vehicles to bring capital and solutions into the transition.

WMI's Role
WMI plays a critical role here in supporting our industry professionals.

Indeed, WMI’s broad mission is to build capabilities for investing in a better tomorrow. These capabilities should be up-to-date, practical and informed by global perspectives. They must also be anchored by strong ethics and stewardship.

With that mission in mind, we devote resources to building 3 pillars : Education, Research and Community Building.

On Education, we aim to deepen the skills of our students in wealth and asset management, and grow new areas such as family offices, ESG and impact investing. We will deliver best-in-class course content and practice-based pedagogy. We do so by continually strengthening our networks of the latest experts and thought leaders.

We will also invest in Research - practical, applied research that creates high-impact solutions and tools. This includes convening flagship conferences to bring together global thought leaders. This will also support our third pillar of Community Building, where we will build networks and platforms for peer support, knowledge sharing and cross-sector collaboration.

If we succeed in this mission, we can look forward to achieving our ambition of being Asia’s Centre of Excellence in wealth and asset management education and research, and making a sustained contribution to Singapore’s role as a leading financial hub.

Before I close, let me take the opportunity to thank our partners, including IBF, MAS and EDB for their partnership in programmes and community building. I would like to also acknowledge the support of Temasek Foundation and industry associations such as IMAS, SVCA and ABS for our initiatives. Together, we amplify our national and international impacts.

We are also grateful to Ray Dalio and Dalio Philanthropies for gifting WMI the generous grant for the Dalio Sustainable Market Principles Program. This is a landmark initiative that brings together distinguished global investors to share their investment principles and approaches. We look forward to the first modules starting next month. GIC has worked closely with the Dalio team and we are excited to create this together with you.

I also extend my appreciation to our WMI faculty and expert panel members for your commitment to building capabilities in the sector. You inspire us by your spirit of giving back. Thank you for sharing real-world lessons and opening our learners to new perspectives and approaches. WMI has always been for the industry, by the industry and of the industry.  It is wonderful to see that in action.

Lastly, I would like to thank my fellow WMI Board Members for your guidance and support. The Board is also grateful to the WMI Management and staff for your hard work and commitment in service of our mission.

Thanks again everybody for joining us in this milestone occasion. Now I would like to invite our Guest of Honour, DPM Heng, to deliver his keynote address.