Singapore still business friendly: FM Global CEO

Mr Subramaniam: "We recognise what is and isn't a great country to do business in."

SINGAPORE - At a time when firms are no longer seeing withdrawal from Singapore as untenable, FM Global and its CEO, Shivan S Subramaniam, remain steadfast in their belief that Singapore remains a great place to do business, recent regulations notwithstanding. The commercial property insurer, which has been here for over 30 years, is making its Singapore office the Asia-Pacific HQ.

"We recognise what is and isn't a great country to do business in and clearly Singapore has all of the great characteristics," said Mr Subramaniam in an interview with The Business Times.

"We operate in 120 different countries so we know how different countries are."

Rather, FM Global is looking to commit further to their base in Singapore. They recently announced the formation of a new headquarters in charge of all Asia-Pacific operations, to be sited in Singapore. The move, Mr Subramaniam explained, was unprecedented.

"We took one of our most senior executive (Chris Johnson, former senior VP of marketing) from the US and made him the executive officer here, which is very unlike us."

The Singapore office, formerly just a sales team, will become a full-fledged headquarters with a full suite of operations, including management, engineering research, claims activities, underwriting activities and a back-office.

The move for FM Global, was a natural extension of its Asia-Pacific operations. The business opportunity in Asia is huge, Mr Subramaniam said.

"If you look at us, the central gravity of our services is moving towards Asia. We're a company that really works with companies in the high hazard business. The growth of all those companies is in this part of the world."

"So when you think about opportunities, this is where the major long-term growth opportunity is. Far greater than any other parts of the world."

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