Appreciation and Citation Speech by Ms Foo Mee Har at WMI 20th Anniversary Celebrations on 8 November 2023 at 2025hrs


Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of the Republic of Singapore,

Mr Lim Chow Kiat, WMI Chairman & CEO GIC,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen


  1. Tonight is a night of Thank You’s, as I count our blessings and express my gratitude to many in the room who have made WMI possible and made it what it is today. To begin with, thank you for being here tonight and for giving us the privilege of celebrating WMI’s 20th anniversary in such august company.  I am especially touched that a number of you have travelled from overseas to join us for this happy occasion.


  1. Our achievements over the years are only possible with the support of many parties. WMI was born out of the great vision of two founding leaders – Mr Ng Kok Song and Madam Ho Ching.  Through the years, they have been behind many significant milestones in WMI’s history, lending unstinting support and guidance.  WMI’s journey of growth continues to benefit greatly from the stewardship of successive generations of leaders from GIC and Temasek.  We could not have asked for more supportive parents.


  1. WMI is led by a distinguished Board of Trustees who care deeply about our programmes and initiatives and give their time generously to serve our mission. I am immensely grateful to our Chairman, Mr Lim Chow Kiat.  Chow Kiat is everyone’s dream Chairman.  Beyond heavy involvement in board matters, he acts as our Teacher (Chow Kiat taught the first class when we launched our distinguished lecture series); Facilitator (Chow Kiat facilitated many sessions including dialogues with Ray Dalio and Forrest Li); our prominent ambassador; and our most supportive coach and mentor.  Thank you Chow Kiat!


  1. Because our pedagogy is strongly practice-based, we depend heavily on the commitment of practicing industry leaders to carve out time to teach, guide the development of programmes and also develop research with us. We know how challenging this can be on time commitments.  To all our faculty members, thank you for making our training impactful at WMI, and for joining our efforts to advance capabilities and groom new talent for our industry.


  1. Beyond education, we have built a vibrant family office community through the Global-Asia Family Office Circle. We are heartened by how the entire family office ecosystem comes together to learn, collaborate and galvanise purposeful wealth-building.  Many leading family offices have also generously given their time to share their learnings and experiences, so that other families can benefit, and the sector as a whole becomes stronger.


  1. Our community has now expanded to over 1,500 in size, including GFO Circle members, alumni and participants across our various family office initiatives. This momentum owes much to the active sharing by members in their respective networks. We thank you for trusting us with your most valuable relationships and for being so open to sharing and connecting.


  1. With over 20,000 enrolments on an annual basis, WMI has built a strong alumni base. Many of our students have gone on to do great things in their careers and distinguished themselves in their respective fields.  Some have returned to WMI to become teachers, facilitators and contribute case studies.  Most of all, our alumni are WMI’s greatest advocates for our programmes and our classes are often filled by referrals from our alumni network.


  1. The WMI story has truly been an amazing journey so far, yet I know we have so much more ahead of us. It has been my privilege to lead WMI in the last 8 years, to work with each and every member of the WMI family to curate new programmes, to develop new initiatives and to build new communities.  I can only hope it has been as exhilarating and fulfilling for all of you, for our dedicated and hardworking staff, for each and every one who has been associated with the institute, as it has been for me.


  1. Wealth, in and of itself, is important because it offers us the capability and capacity to invest in and create value for ourselves and others. But in many ways, how people manage wealth is arguably more important than how much they have. It is only through prudent, astute and purposeful management that wealth can transform – it can help businesses grow, spur new enterprises, create meaningful jobs and support critical causes.


  1. Building on the impact of wealth management, we are thrilled with the opportunity to host Asia Centre for Changemakers. Thank you Temasek Trust and Philanthropy Asia Alliance for your trust and partnership.  We look forward to equipping funders, impact investors, entrepreneurs and changemakers with the knowledge, skills and ecosystem to scale and create sustained, positive social impact in critical areas such as climate, education and healthcare.


  1. Reflecting on the path ahead for WMI, please allow me to paraphrase a Chinese saying: “If you want to eat for a year, grow rice. If you want to eat for 10 years, grow trees.  But if you want to eat for a 100 years, grow people.”  Thank you for your partnership, your friendship and for continuing to inspire all of us at WMI, as we live out our mission and purpose every day.  (Applause)


Appreciation & Awards

  1. Ladies & Gentlemen, as part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we would like to take this special occasion to thank a special group of partners who have been instrumental in supporting our mission and growth.


Partners Appreciation

  1. To present our token of appreciation to our partners, I would like to invite WMI Chairman, Mr Lim Chow Kiat, to join me on stage.


  1. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has played an instrumental role in the founding of WMI, together with GIC and Temasek. We owe much to their vision.  Over the years, we have worked together in a wide variety of areas from research efforts on the use of AI and Machine Learning to combat money laundering to supporting industry wide talent development programs for wealth management, asset management, compliance and family office sectors.  MAS has been instrumental in supporting the Global-Asia Family Office Circle, as well as the more recent Impact Philanthropy Partnership.  May I invite Gillian Tan, Chief Sustainability Officer and Assistant Managing Director, MAS to the stage to receive our token of thanks.


  1. The Institute of Banking and Finance, IBF, is the standard bearer in our industry, upholding rigorous standards. We thank IBF for working closely with us on the accreditation and certification of WMI’s vast number of over 100 programmes across diverse disciplines.  With the appointment of WMI has the Lead Training Provider for Private Banking, we jointly worked on one of the most ambitious development programmes with the private banking industry, defining the Client Advisor Competency Standards and framework, certification pathways as well as reaching over 17,000 enrolments in the last 4 years. May I invite Ng Nam Sin, CEO, IBF to the stage to receive our token of thanks.


  1. Next, we would like to thank the Singapore Economic Development Board, EDB, for their partnership in our joint initiatives to strengthen the family office and philanthropy sector. Together, we have worked to showcase the full range of what Singapore can offer families, including different opportunities for investments, entrepreneurship, innovation, sustainability and more. We are grateful to EDB for their trust and support in developing and expanding the Global-Asia Family Office Circle with WMI.   Thank you for supporting our initiatives and most of all, thank you for being instrumental in connecting leading families from Asia, US, Europe and around the world to GFO Circle.  May I invite Dino Tan, Senior Vice President, EDB to the stage to receive our token of appreciation.


  1. WMI’s impact also extends overseas, and nowhere is the impact greater than through our partnership with Temasek Foundation. Temasek Foundation has worked with us since the very beginning, supporting WMI’s flagship programmes for Asian financial regulators and central bankers. Starting 2004, we have now trained nearly 450 regulators from 13 countries and 29 financial agencies and central banks, giving them the skills needed to make better and more effective policies. May I invite Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Head, Programmes at Temasek Foundation,  to the stage to receive our token of appreciation.


  1. Finally, we would like thank Dalio Philanthropies, for the generous support of the Dalio Market Principles Program. Our vision for WMI is to be the venue where the world’s best thought leaders in finance come to share their knowledge and insights, and what better thought leader is there than Ray Dalio. We are so privileged to be the school that Ray Dalio chose to teach about his economic and investment principles, and the pioneering investment approaches that he has spent decades developing and refining. Ray and his team have been so generous, not just in the grant, but in the time and commitment to work with us. May I invite Tan Mae Shen, MD Singapore, Dalio Family Office to the stage to receive our token of appreciation.


  1. Thank you Chow Kiat for joining us to thank our esteemed partners.


Faculty Awards

  1. Next, we have the Faculty and Expert Panel Awards. At WMI, we have over 170 Faculty and Expert Panel Members. They are the driving force behind the impact we create together.   Every year, we have a tradition to celebrate their contributions and present awards to a few exceptional contributors.   This exercise has always been the most difficult as we are endowed with a large group of dedicated and talented teachers.     Nevertheless, we have arrived at the decision to honor four faculty members and a leading Expert Panel for their outstanding contributions.


  1. I am honoured to invite Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of the Republic of Singapore, to present the awards. Mr President, please.


  1. Let me start with the Distinguished Teaching Award. We have a total of three individuals we want to recognize tonight. This award recognises faculty members who (1) taught extensively for WMI for the last 3 years, with a minimum of 130 hours and (2) also received consistently top ratings from students of 4.8 out of 5 for their engagement in class, mastery of their domains as well as relevance of their teachings to real life practice.


  1. Our first recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award is Raymond Gwee. Raymond is a highly respected veteran in the wealth planning and trust industry.  Raymond is one of the pioneers of WMI’s Trust and Wealth Planning programmes.  He is a strong advocate for continuous professional development and has been relentless in his efforts to uplift practice standards in wealth planning.    May we invite Raymond to the stage.


  1. Next, we have Prof Gao Hao from the prestigious Tsinghua University in China, and a Visiting Professor at WMI. He is the lead faculty for the Family Office Advisor programme for Greater China Markets, taught entirely in Mandarin. He enjoys a huge following of students, and his classes often feature prominent families as visiting speakers to speak to students directly on their needs.  It is not uncommon that participants fly in from overseas just to attend his programme.  May we invite Prof Gao to the stage.


  1. Our next awardee is Kelvin Tay, Regional CIO for UBS. Kelvin is known to be a highly versatile faculty member.  He teaches in a range of programmes at WMI – from Certified Private Banker programmes, Masters in Asset and Wealth Management, Asset Management Accelerator Programme to Economic and Investment Principles for policymakers.  He clocked over 310 hours of teaching in the last 3 years! May we invite Kelvin to the stage.


  1. Next, we have the WMI Ambassador Award. This award celebrates the individual who has gone the extra mile in their partnership with WMI. He has been a strong advocate for WMI and has made significant contribution to the work and vision of WMI to lift standards in the industry and build communities.


  1. We are delighted to present this award to Lee Woon Shiu, MD and Regional Head at DBS. Woon Shiu’s has been contributing to WMI’s mission for close to 15 years. He has been twice recognised for his innovative approach in teaching and is involved in many programmes and initiatives at WMI including serving as the Vice Chair of the membership committee for the GFO Partners’ Circle.  Woon Shiu has been WMI’s strongest flag bearer and played a key role in helping to make our flagship GFO Summit a success.


  1. The final award tonight is the Distinguished Expert Panel Award. Expert Panels play an instrumental role in guiding the curation of programmes at WMI, including curriculum framework and contents development.


  1. We are glad to present the Expert Panel Award to the Client Advisory Competency Standards (CACS) Expert Panels. The CACS examinations are a rigorous, mandatory competency assessment which private banking professionals are required to pass before they provide any financial advice to clients.  WMI is leading the exercise with the Expert Panels to update contents of the CACS, a role we have played since the last revisions in 2019.


  1. We have the full list of the Expert Panel members on screen. The CACS 1 Expert Panel are represented today by Mr Conrad Lim & Ms Yvonne Lim. The CACS 2 Expert Panel members are represented by Mr Wee Yan Hann and Mr Marc van der Walle. May I invite them to the stage to receive the award.


  1. This brings us to the end of the awards section for this evening. Once again, congratulations to the awardees and thank you everyone for your invaluable support. We look forward to rising to greater heights together. Thank you.