AsianInvestor’s second annual Institutional Excellence Awards were introduced to highlight best practice, with awards handed out in 16 institutions collectively managing $3.5 trillion.

The only institution to receive two awards this year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore impressed judges not only for its approach to investment as a central bank, but also as a regulator for its contribution to domestic and regional capital market development.

The winners were announced on October 30 and received their awards at an exclusive ceremony and dinner on December 2 at The South Beach hotel in Singapore. 

We thank all those who contributed their thoughts to these awards. The full list of write-ups appears in the December issue of AsianInvestor magazine, and more details of our decision-making process can be found here.

Contribution to capital market development:
Monetary Authority of Singapore
There is no more important task in this region than cultivating the growth of its capital markets; as such, much responsibility falls on the shoulders of Asia’s most advanced economies. For breadth of activity and tangible leadership in fostering domestic and regional cooperation and expansion, the Monetary Authority of Singapore stands out.

The supervisory work that MAS has undertaken as a regulator in consultation with the industry has created a safe and progressive environment to stimulate engagement and broaden participation. Together with the government, MAS introduced Singapore Savings Bonds to provide retail investors with a safe, long-term savings option. These are principal-guaranteed and easy to understand for those new to investing.

More broadly, MAS has encouraged growth in the corporate debt market, and as a trading hub for foreign exchange and financial and commodity derivatives, making progress in over-the-counter derivatives reforms and enabling local central counterparties to provide clearing services to European parties.

At the same time it has invested in developing skills in the financial sector to strengthen the pipeline of Singaporean talent, and sought to spur innovation and increase productivity through its fintech agenda.

MAS introduced an overnight RMB liquidity facility in 2014 to provide institutions with a backstop for short-term RMB funding needs, and in February this year set out proposals to help start-ups and SMEs access alternative funding.

Internationally MAS has committed to Asean financial integration and capital market development, notably in sovereign and corporate bonds. It helped to develop a blueprint to build linkages between Asean exchanges to reduce post-trade costs and counterparty risks. It also signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore Exchange and securities regulators in Malaysia and Thailand to facilitate shorter time-to-market and faster access to capital.

Moreover, with counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand, MAS launched the Asean collective investment scheme for cross-border funds. And, while welcoming the proposed Asia Region Funds Passport, it was quick to highlight the initiative's unequal tax treatment – a public position that is expected to force change.

An active member of global committees, MAS’s leadership is fundamental to the successful advancement of capital markets both domestically and regionally. 

2015 winners already unveiled:

Institutional category

Reserves manager: Monetary Authority of Singapore

Sovereign wealth fund: GIC

Insurance company (general account): Ping An Life  

Public pension fund: Bureau of Labor Funds

Private pension fund 2015: Jardine Matheson

Endowment: National University of Singapore

Markets category

Australia/New Zealand: the Future Fund

Mainland China: China Life Insurance

Hong Kong/Taiwan: Cathay Life Insurance

Japan: Government Pension Investment Fund

Korea: Hanwha Life Insurance

Southeast Asia: Government Pension Fund (Thailand)

Expertise category

Governance: New Zealand Superannuation Fund

Investment capabilities: Safe

Innovation: Hong Kong Jockey Club

Socially responsible investing: Hesta Industry Super Fund