BNP Paribas plans banking 'campus' in Singapore

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BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, is planning to build a banking university in Singapore to raise the level of financial services skills in Asia Pacific as it sets it sights on rapid growth in the region.

A spokesman for the bank in Singapore said that no information has been released publicly about the proposed campus and declined to elaborate further. While it is not known when the campus will open for business, it is understood that planning is advanced and a site for the development has been selected. It is believed that the intention of the 'campus' is to help develop local skills as Asia tries to move away from its historical reliance on foreign hires.

BNP Paribas, which operates in 14 markets in Asia Pacific, told investors in February on releasing its 2012 fourth quarter results that it plans to hire 1,300 staff over the next three years for its investment solutions, and corporate and investment banking businesses. The aim is to bolster revenues substantially in Asia Pacific, one of its designated growth regions, by over €3 billion by 2016, representing growth of about 12% per year.

The French bank, which has maintained an uninterrupted presence in Asia Pacific since 1860, opened an office in Singapore in 1968. The Lion City is the home of BNP Paribas' regional hub for South East Asia and is responsible for branches or fully-owned subsidiaries in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Singapore campus will not be BNP Paribas's first foray into skills development in the region. Late last year it unveiled a joint venture with Malaysia's Global University of Islamic Finance. The BNP Paribas-INCEIF Centre for Islamic Wealth Management has been set up to research and develop Islamic wealth management, asset management and capital markets. Activities include applied research in specialised Islamic wealth management areas, workshops, conferences, roundtables and vocational training. Shariah-compliant financial products are a rapidly growing field in South-East Asia, with Malaysia one of the largest issuers of Islamic 'Sukuk' bonds.

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