CENTURION CLUB: BANKING & INVESTMENT SERVICES + COLLECTIVE INVESTMENTS + FINTECH & INFRASTRUCTURE + INSURANCE
Flashy upstarts in the financial services sector may gain instant fame. However, it is the established ones trusted by generations of customers that make a lasting name for themselves.
One example is Sing Investments & Finance. Founded in 1964, which is a year before Singapore’s independence, the company has dominated the banking & investment services sector, winning growth in profit after tax (PAT) and returns to shareholders, plus the overall sector winner title. Only Silverlake Axis , with its weighted return on equity (ROE) win, prevented it from making a clean sweep.
Sing Investments was listed in 1983 and provides a wide range of financial services to both retail and enterprise customers via its network of four branches at 96 Robinson Road, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6, Bedok North Street 1 and Jurong Gateway Road.
Services offered to individuals range from fixed deposits and current accounts to personal financing and car loans while services including financing, property loan and invoice factoring are available for its enterprise customers, most of which are SMEs. Not to be outdone in fintech, Sing Investments also offers its customers the ease of transacting via its own digital apps and platforms.
In FY2022 ended December 2022, the company achieved record earnings of $37.2 million for the second straight year, up 18% y-o-y. “The group has once again demonstrated great resilience in responding to challenges and continues to scale new heights on multiple fronts amid uncertainties,” says chairman Chee Jin Kiong. “Our performance was driven by writeback of loan recovery, net interest margin expansion and record lending volume,” he adds.
“By staying focused on cultivating meaningful relationships with customers, we continue to grow our franchise against the backdrop of weaker business sentiment this year. Our loan book grew by 12% to cross $2.4 billion for the first time in our history,” says Chee.
Despite a higher debt servicing burden because of the higher global interest rates, the company’s asset quality remained resilient, with non-performing loan ratio improving to 1.1% from 1.7% a year ago. The writeback of $6.5 million in net loan recovery came from a single business customer.
In line with the better earnings, it has declared a first and final dividend of 10 cents, equivalent to a payout ratio of 43% and up from 8 cents in FY2021. In addition, Sing Investments announced a bonus issue of one share for every two existing shares held.
The other winner in this category is Silverlake Axis, a leading provider of software and tech services to the financial services industry across the region. The Malaysia-based firm was founded in 1989 by group executive chairman Goh Peng Ooi, who has a passion for mathematical concepts and theorems. In just seven years, Silverlake Axis has won over 16 banking clients. Listed in 2003, the group has grown its presence from Asean to the Middle East and even Africa in about 70 countries and serves more than 400 customers in total.
“Over 34 years of evolution, we have grown from a single-product core banking company to a multi-product solution software company and we have accomplished that deliberately and methodically without the need to acquire or leverage our balance sheet to develop these solutions,” says Ooi in the company’s annual report for FY2023 ended June.