1971: Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) branch opened in Singapore.
1972: Banco Ambrosiano (BA) representative office opened in Singapore through the Inter-Alpha Group.
1985: Istituto Bancario San Paolo (IBSP) branch opened in Singapore.
1997: Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde (CARIPLO) branch opened in Singapore.
2002: BCI branch in Singapore closed.
2002: Banca Intesa representative office opened in Singapore.
In the 1970s, Singapore became an international financial hub as a result of a carefully-planned policy by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
MAS actively encouraged the most important international banks to open branches in the country, to take part in financing projects and to develop a Singapore-based foreign exchange market.
This created job opportunities, spurred the housing market and revitalized the local economy, transforming the country into an international hub in the South-East Asian region.
In the early 1970s the Singapore financial market - which was politically stable and well-legislated, with advanced industrial (particularly the oil and naval sectors) and tourism industries - drew the attention of Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI), which set up its first Asian branch there in 1971. Among the factors driving the decision was the presence in the country of major Italian industrial groups such as Eni, Fiat and Olivetti, as well as of the largest international banks.
In 1972 Banco Ambrosiano also opened a representative office in the country through the Inter-Alpha Group.
Istituto Bancario San Paolo came to the Singapore market later, opening a branch there only in 1985. Eager to establish a presence in the Far East in view of the magnitude of the region's commercial trade flows with Italy and the growing role of local financial institutions, IBSP chose Singapore because of the vast area covered by the banks operating there.
The bank's objective at the time, in fact, was to be able to function around the clock on the world's currency and financial markets by setting up a range of offices stationed in time zones that were 6 to 8 hours apart.
In 1997 CARIPLO also opened a branch in Singapore.
After BCI was merged into Banca Intesa its branch office was transferred to the latter - and later to Intesa Sanpaolo, which continued to maintain a presence in Singapore. In 2010 the office became a hub.