Professor Bertil Andersson
President, Nanyang Technological University
OFFICIAL OPENING OF NTU SINGAPORE’S WEALTH MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE OFFICE
11 Slim Barracks Rise, NTU@one-north Executive Centre,
Thursday, 7 December 2017, 10.30a.m.
Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance,
Pro-Chancellors and members of NTU’s Board of Trustees
Mr Lim Chow Kiat, Chairman of WMI Board of Governors,
Members, WMI Board of Governors,
Members of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Institute of Banking & Finance,
Distinguished guests, alumni and friends of NTU,
Ladies and gentlemen,
A very good morning to everyone!
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the opening of the new premises for the Wealth Management Institute at NTU here at one-north. And as we have heard, WMI is now the newest member of our family.
In a few weeks, we will welcome the new year of 2018. While I believe in looking forward, these days, I have also started to look in the back mirror and reflect a little bit, with some sentiment and nostalgia. I have been at NTU and in Singapore for almost 11 years – 11 very rewarding years. So it is natural for me to reflect where NTU came from and where we are today.
The past year has been an important one for NTU. We announced some months ago that Professor Subra Suresh, a top scientist, engineer, entrepreneur and administrator, will be the next president of NTU from 1st January 2018. I am stepping down on the same day, and you will see at the Marina Bay area a lot of fireworks celebrating my stepping down! I cannot think of a better person for me to hand the baton of leading this young, vibrant and passionate university forward to. He was the president at Carnegie Mellon University, the Dean of Engineering at MIT, led the US National Science Foundation, and was a personal adviser to the former US president (Barack Obama). Professor Subra also spent a year in Sweden, so he is a little Swedish! And we share the same birthday as well – 30 May – so the stars are aligned at NTU!
We also had several milestones this year, including the official opening of NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine held at the new Clinical Sciences Building in Novena. Singapore’s newest medical school is now fully operational, with a dual campus and students enrolled in all five years of its medical course. NTU’s international stature also continues to rise. We were ranked as the 11th best university in the world, and the world’s top young university for a fourth consecutive year. There is always talk of who is the best university in Singapore, but that is futile. For a small country like Singapore to have two top universities – not many small countries can say that, apart from Switzerland maybe – and we should be proud of that.
For a relatively young university to have achieved so much, I often get asked how did we do it?
Well, the answer is that it boils down to its people. The most important thing is its people, and the second most important factor is also its people. NTU also took an approach to learning and research that is multi-disciplinary as well as inter-disciplinary. Wealth management is not only about business, but so many other things coming in – fintech, computer science, cybersecurity. So I feel very enthusiastic about the Wealth Management Institute in the overall NTU perspective.
NTU has also always believed that the research and learning it does must benefit society and Singapore’s future, and we have sought to do so in many ways, such as in the testing and development of driverless vehicles and clean energy. I also believe education and research goes hand-in-hand. Every teacher should be a researcher, and every researcher should also be a teacher. That is to get the students the latest information.
There is no Berlin Wall between basic top level research and applied research. A Nobel prize winner once said, “there are two kinds of research – there is applied research, and not yet applied research”. There is a lot of wisdom in that statement. And how do we know if we have succeeded? It is when industry partners ask if we can expand the collaboration and move into new areas. This is what I hope will happen with WMI, and have the same positive experience of combining education, high-level research and applications of industrial relevance.
Along with the generous support of Temasek, our students will benefit from the institute’s network of industry players and industry-focused research, enriching our curriculum and opening up opportunities for industry collaborations and student career placements. We worked with the Bank of Singapore to launch an Advanced Diploma in Private Banking last year, and very soon, we will see other exciting innovations that will benefit our undergraduates, graduates and faculty.
WMI will also be able to leverage on NTU’s deep expertise in highly specialised fields and research capabilities which no doubt will add to the rigour and depth of its programmes. The wealth and asset management industry will continue to be crucial to Singapore’s growth, and WMI@NTU will provide training that will help ensure that industry professionals here are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to adapt to and meet the challenges of an unpredictable global economy. One has to always think of the unthinkable.
Gift from Temasek to set up Endowment Fund
On behalf of NTU, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to Temasek for their strong support, generosity and confidence in NTU and WMI. Philanthropic support is critical to any university in the world. It helps to back new ideas, to fund the research and academic programmes – and in NTU it is especially critical given our research intensive culture.
Through the generous gift of Temasek, a new Endowment Fund will be set up with the aim of advancing knowledge creation, discovery, mutual partnerships and best practices in the wealth and asset management industry. This new fund, called Temasek Wealth Management Endowment, will tap into WMI’s practice-based education and research expertise. With this fund we will develop programmes that are deeply integrated and aligned to serve the needs of the industry, thereby fostering a multidisciplinary environment. Such initiatives will help NTU achieve our goal to be a leading centre of excellence for wealth management education in Singapore and beyond.
Initiatives to be rolled out by WMI
To stay ahead of changes in the wealth and asset management industry, a new Temasek Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series will be set up to imbue the industry with insights from global thought leaders. The Lecture Series is a unique platform for invited guest speakers who are prominent industry leaders, renowned c-suite executives and thought leaders to deliver insights and interact with faculty and students.
We will also establish new professorships, such as the Temasek Professorship which aims to provide direct intellectual leadership in the domain knowledge of wealth and asset management. There will also be the Temasek Visiting Professorship which will bring distinguished scholars or experts from renowned overseas institution who can contribute and add vibrancy to NTU’s intellectual and research endeavours.
We will also establish the Temasek-WMI Fellowship for established and emerging leaders in their respective fields who offer a significant voice on global wealth management landscape. The ultimate aim is to have our fellows forge viable partnerships to spearhead leading wealth management practices, thus allowing them to have a real impact on global financial scene.
I have every confidence that NTU, through WMI, will be able to play an important role in meeting the ever evolving demands and challenges of the wealth and asset management industry which is set to be crucial to the future of Singapore.
To end on a personal note, this is my last official duty as President of NTU. It has been a very exciting 11 years, and I end by saying, thank you NTU, and thank you Singapore!