A.M. Best announced the establishment of a new office in Singapore as part of its continuing growth in the Asia Pacific Region, as the economies of the countries located there continue to expand. Best said the office would “offer internationally recognized ratings to insurers, reinsurers, takaful operators and captives in Singapore and across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)/Australasia regions.
The new office is located at 6 Battery Road in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, and will be led by Dr. Roger Sellek, CEO of Best’s operations outside of the Americas. Dr. Sellek is relocating from Best’s London office, which was established in 1998 as the group’s first office outside of the U.S.
Singapore is Best’s second office in Asia Pacific after Hong Kong, where the group opened an office 16 years ago. Best said that office would continue to support its client base in Greater China, Japan and Korea.
Dr. Sellek said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of our new Singapore office, which we believe will ensure we are even closer to our expanding client base of insurers and reinsurers in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Singapore is the obvious choice for a credit rating agency serving the insurance sector as it is home to almost 250 insurers, reinsurers, captives and broking companies. It can truly lay claim to be the international insurance and reinsurance hub of Southeast Asia. Singapore also has a first class regulatory system and a forward-looking regulator in the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as well as an excellent legal system and a highly trained workforce.”
Best said it “currently has ‘live’ credit ratings for 13 Singapore-based companies and it has close to 40 live ratings across the ASEAN region.
Dr. Sellek said the scope for expansion in Southeast Asia was significant given the continuing rapid growth of many insurance markets in countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The announcement also noted that a specific driver for opening a branch office in Singapore “was the impending arrival of the ASEAN Single Market, which is due to come into being at the end of 2015.” Best said it “believes that a rating from an international rating agency will be a prerequisite for insurers that wish to conduct cross-border business within the Single Market in the future.”
Best’s staff in Singapore comprises a team of specialist credit rating analysts led by MM Lee, head of analytics for Asia Pacific who has transferred from the Hong Kong office, together with business development staff.
Source: A.M. Best
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