Magazine issues » September 2017

ASSOCIATION COLUMN: An early port of call

Singapore_cityThe fund management industry has come a long way in Singapore in the past ten years, with the city-state now regarded as one of the most attractive asset management hubs globally. This has been the result of a series of calibrated tax measures aimed at attracting investors, as well as support available for investment managers setting up operations here. This has also been possible, in part, through the efforts of Singapore-based fund administration service providers, facilitating the asset management industry and providing a robust platform for funds to grow their investor base and assets. Working closely with law firms, tax advisers, financial services firms and investment managers, fund administrators play a crucial role in the value chain. The Singapore Fund Administrators Association (SFAA), set up in 2007, is the body representing predominantly the fund administration services providers and engaging widely with partners across the legal, taxation and financial services spectrum. The evolution of Singapore as a fund management hub is mirrored by the growing role played by the SFAA. “What started with a handful of founding members in 2007 has now become a cross-industry association that is home to 48 members. This growth illustrates the evolution of fund administration in Singapore,” says SFAA chairman Martin O’Regan. “The association provides a platform for all stakeholders in the funds industry to come together to discuss regulatory and industry issues, among others. It is one of the first ports of call for anyone looking to set up private equity, real estate, venture capital, hedge and hybrid funds in Singapore.” This is a valuable function given the complexities and the many legalities governing fund administration. According to Ashmita Chhabra, managing director, business development, Asia-Pacific at Apex Fund Services (Singapore) and an executive committee member of SFAA, “Singapore is viewed as a preferred option as a fund and fund management jurisdiction. Strategically located, it offers a stable political environment, excellent business infrastructure and lifestyle options... On the regulatory front, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has been engaging actively with stakeholders to further develop and strengthen the resilience of the asset management industry, in particular with initiatives such as the S-VACC framework.” Another role is as a source of information for those looking to set up funds or investment management operations in Singapore. “The SFAA is dedicated to representing the industry as a whole and not just fund administrators. Our members and partners can support funds and investment managers with everything from administrative support to advice on local regulations and the tax implications of multi-jurisdictional structures, for instance,” says Imran Khan, regional director, alternative investment services at Vistra Group and vice chairman of the SFAA. Importantly, the SFAA has become more active and integral in client activity. “When the association was set up, the focus was predominantly on fund administrators, but today the focus is on the ecosystem as a whole. It has broadened to represent the entire fund management industry.” ©2017 funds global asia

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