Opening Address by Mr David Gerald, Founder, President & CEO, at Inaugural SIAS Master Series Investment Conference 2019 Suntec City Convention Centre, Singapore, 11 July 2019

Date: July 11, 2019

Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore

Distinguished Speakers, Delegates and Guests

Good morning

Welcome to the inaugural SIAS Master Series Investment Conference. This is one of a series of events to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. I am indeed grateful that so many of you have taken the time to join us this morning.

In the last 20 years, SIAS has come a long way from its formation. At its inception, SIAS provided support to 172,000 disenfranchised Singapore investors in Malaysian shares previously traded on CLOB. We have since evolved to take leading roles in investor education, investor rights and the promotion of good corporate governance.

Despite assuming new responsibilities, SIAS has never lost sight of its original primary objective:  upholding the rights of small shareholders AND giving them a voice when problems or disputes arise.

Our “in the boardroom, not the courtroom’’ approach to resolving disputes, draws on the best practices of arbitration: identifying common areas of agreement through discussion as the basis for resolving disputes.  As a result, we have seen many shareholder issues resolved successfully, whilst preserving investors value and protecting market stability.

This work not only covers Ordinary Shareholders but the wider investor community, amply illustrated by our involvement in Marco Polo Marine, Ezra, Nam Cheong, Ezion and more recently, Hyflux.

So, what are our objectives in launching these Master Series Conferences?

We believe that most of these types of events have a specific focus on Investment.  OUR aim, however, is to focus on the Investor.

The objective of these Master Series Events is to provide a forum for high net worth individuals, family offices, and other stakeholders in the investment process to voice their priorities and issues. The range of topics covered by our distinguished guests will address those concerns and are relevant to all of you in attendance today.

The investing world has changed dramatically since our formation 20 years ago. Today’s focus is to explore how these changes will affect the Investor in the future.

Although change is inevitable, I doubt we have ever faced a period where the, scale, quantum and speed of change has been so dramatic.

Just as an example:  the sustained period of low interest rates persuaded even Granny to consider taking her Fixed Deposit Savings and investing in Mini-Bonds.

On a less parochial note however, technological disruption and failures in Corporate Governance are leading calls for ever increasing regulation; this, set against an uncertain political backdrop in some of the more traditional markets ensure that challenging times lie ahead for ALL investors.

Our principal objective today is to raise awareness of these changes so that you can better protect yourself in caveat emptor or “buyer beware” market.

Mark Twain wrote “I am more concerned about the return of my money than the return on my money’’.

Ultimately however, as Mr. Ravi Menon our guest of honour wrote in the Business Times recently,

Trust is a key attribute for the success of a financial ecosystem”.

I trust banks and financial institutions will bear this in mind when serving both your and their other customers’ needs.

We are indeed privileged to have Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), as our Guest of Honour to share his thoughts on The Future of Investing. Thank you for spending your time with us today.

I would also like to thank Mr Mats Isaksson, Head of Corporate Governance and Corporate Finance Division, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for traveling to Singapore to provide OECD’s view of recent developments in global capital markets and discuss its implications for public policy, especially in the area of corporate governance.

I would like to record our sincere thanks to our platinum sponsors, DBS and OUE and our silver sponsor solicitors Rajah & Tann Asia, without which this programme would not be possible, all donors, supporting organisations, ACRA and SGX, partners and endorsers for their generous support and assistance. We are indeed grateful to all our distinguished speakers and panelists for graciously accepting our invitation to participate in this first Master Series Investment Conference. They have certainly taken a leap of faith in joining us.

I would also like to record a special thanks to our Advisor, Mr Jonathan Willetts, who has spent much time working with me and my team to put this programme together.

Last but not least, I would like to sincerely thank all you delegates for joining us today.

I am confident you will find today’s discussion interesting and useful.

Enjoy the Conference.

Thank you.