Alexis Lamb here, fresh off a trip to the Lion City where I enjoyed daily jogs in the Botanic Gardens, lip-smacking good pepper crab at Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, a stunning sunset view with craft beer in hand at Level 33, and some unexpectedly tasty tapas at Sabio in Duxton Hill, a newly-gentrified neighborhood which was recently the topic of a NYT photo essay. Yep, Singapore is growing up. She’s shedding her dowdy image as the girl in the horn-rimmed glasses and grey cardigan who nurses one pinot noir before retiring to bed at 11:17 PM. She’s learned a few party tricks from big sister Hong Kong, yet maintains an air of sleek maturity–without the pollution. Now on to business.
A “PROLIFERATION OF WORK, UNLIKELY TO FALL AWAY”
Indonesia. India. Thailand. Vietnam. Malaysia. Philippines. Singapore is the regional financial hub for all of these markets. So, at any given time, dealflow from these countries – plus dealflow originating from within Singapore – is in the pipeline. Contrast this with Hong Kong, who sources most of its work from the PRC, either in the form of PRC IPOs or PRC-driven M&A activity, and you will see its unique advantage. While Singapore will never be the global financial hub that is Hong Kong, it covers a variety of markets and is diversified enough so that it is not dependent on one particular country for the bulk of its activity.
When one country’s business is down – India, for example – lawyers still stay busy as a result of work flowing out of other robustly performing markets, such as Indonesia. One partner described his firm as being inundated with a “proliferation of work” that is “unlikely to fall away”. And this is even with India being relatively moribund. Imagine how busy Singapore-based lawyers would be if both India and Indonesia were booming at the same time!