Morgan Stanley plans move to new Singapore office in growth boom

MORGAN Stanley plans to move to a new office in Singapore, seeking a bigger space in the city-state's financial district to accommodate its expansion.

The US firm is in advanced discussions for five floors at the upcoming IOI Central Boulevard Towers, which will give it certain signage rights, according to people familiar with the matter. The space, which will be able to house about 1,000 people, will cater to Morgan Stanley's growing number of Singapore staff, the people said, asking not to be named as the information is private.

Morgan Stanley's businesses across South-east Asia have grown steadily and it remains positive on the outlook for the region, a spokesperson for the firm said in response to queries from Bloomberg News. He confirmed the plan to lease five floors at the new development from late next year, with the location to serve as the bank's headquarters for South-east Asia.

Representatives for the developer, Malaysia's IOI Properties Group, didn't reply to requests for comment.

Morgan Stanley's expansion is being driven by growth in its fixed-income and wealth businesses, as well as an increase in technology and back-office employees, the people said. The move to the Marina Bay area, next to the well-known Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, will see it take up slightly more than 100,000 square feet (9,290 square metres) and move out of its current location where it has been for more than 25 years, they said.

Global firms are boosting their presence in Singapore to manage or expand their Asian operations. A boom in private banking, family offices and other financial services during the pandemic has bolstered demand for swanky offices in the city-state's central business district.

In April, the overall grade A vacancy rate in Singapore was 4.6 per cent, data from Colliers International Group show, much lower than both Manhattan and Hong Kong. Demand is likely to continue to come mainly from banking, insurance and financial services, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts wrote in a note last month.

Morgan Stanley will be sharing space at the new development with Amazon.com. The property comprises 1.26 million square feet of grade A office space, according to IOI Properties Group's website.

The state-of-the-art office will provide the New York-based bank with the latest technology infrastructure and flexible workplace design, according to the spokesman. BLOOMBERG

Source: The Business Times