Despite a more complex geopolitical and economic landscape, economies in the Asia Pacific (ASPAC) have continued to forge ahead, fuelling the rise of the middle class, driving infrastructure development and supporting robust domestic activity.
We expect M&A activities in Financial Services to increase next year, fuelled by a revival of investor interest from East Asia, and other foreign investors. This is in part, due to strong economic growth, financial infrastructure development and the opportunity to service a significant underpenetrated financial services market across ASPAC.
Given Singapore’s pro-business policies and relatively low tax rate, multinational financial instituitions may have the perception that transfer pricing should not be an area of concern. The reality is quite different.
Tax authorities around the world have responded to the release of the OECD’s final reports on BEPs by tightening regulations, imposing stricter documentation and reporting requirements, and applying penalties for non-compliance.
Cybersecurity continues to be a source of concern for financial institutions. Financial institutions are attractive targets for hackers who are systematically looking for vulnerabilities and the most lucrative payoffs. Events of the past year underscore the need for organisations to improve their cyber-defence capabilities. The costs of cyber-attacks are substantial. Affected organisations suffer loss of reputation, and more tangibly, share prices could suffer as worried customers move their business elsewhere.
In response, financial institutions have been beefing up their cybersecurity defences. Many understand the need to set aside a budget for this purpose. The challenge for organisations is to determine the appropriate level of cybersecurity needed and the amount of resources to be dedicated. The return of investment on cybersecurity is in the form of loss avoided and not profit gained. These and other considerations on developing a cybersecurity framework are discussed in this issue.