Conference 2018: Interview: Albert Cheng

CEO, Singapore Bullion Market Association


When SBMA was developed about20 years ago, it was just a loosely formed trade gathering. Last 5 years, we were trying to professionalise, and we followed the model of the LBMA. Our role in Southeast Asia is to try to bring the Asian participants to link up with the global players. And likewise, we link up global players who like to explore the Southeast Asian market. With these, we have to work very closely with global organisations like LBMA. LBMA a couple of years back has been working very closely with the SBMA. (inaudible) together with LBMA, or in conjunction with the LBMA annual conference in Singapore 3 years ago. And subsequently, we had the first and second Asia Pacific Precious Metals Conferences (APPMCs), both of them were sponsored by the LBMA, and we worked very closely together. And hopefully in the future, there are more collaborative events and initiatives that we can work together on.

I see the Singapore market, which is trying to be developed as the global hub for the Asian market. It is going to be beneficial when we also understand that the London market also wants to be more globalised, serving every corner of the bullion world. By working together, I am sure we can provide the linkage for the LBMA in Asia – and Southeast Asia in particular. Similarly, our Asian partners can also by working more closely through us and the LBMA, and we can bring the world more closely together.

We have been very blessed with support from members. We grew from a 25-member organisation to now having over 40 members. We are still recruiting people both inside and outside the region. Our role in Singapore is to create a platform for people who want to explore the Southeast Asian market, which, I believe, is the next frontier market to be opened up, other than India, which was historically one of the major markets in the world, and China in the past 15 years. I believe Southeast Asia collectively will be the third biggest bloc of markets which the global market needs to look into and explore, and to look at the opportunities that derive from these markets.

We have been trying to connect to our adjacent countries and marketing blocs. Naturally, China and India are the two major markets that we need to connect together. One exciting thing is that we are going to be more connected with Australia as well to truly bring the whole Asia-Pacific market into Singapore. Our next year gathering at in June, the third APPMC, we are going to add an Australian element into our conference, into our platform. And hopefully, through this kind of interaction, we are able to bring Pacific countries, through Singapore, to the rest of the world.

By bringing the conference into Shenzhen into China again, where Shenzhen is where all the major manufacturers are based, I think it is very significant. It will also provide an opportunity for the global market to actually visit where gold jewellery, gold bar and the downstream operations are located. I believe that the local government in Shenzhen is very supportive of this and that next year’s conference will be a success.