Today sees the launch of Splash’s annual Singapore magazine, which seems like an appropriate moment to catch up with Bill Ricquier, managing director at Incisive Law, the Singapore arm of the Ince Law Alliance. Having practised as a lawyer in Singapore since 1994, Ricquier has had a front row seat of the emergence of the equatorial city-state as a premier international maritime centre – and he remains optimistic the republic still has room to grow shipping-wise.
“The multi-faceted and inter-connected array of industries and services in many ways sets Singapore apart, and differentiates it from the likes of London, for example, which is overwhelmingly focused on professional services,” Ricquier says.
A government that has identified the maritime and offshore industries as key components of the Singaporean economy, Ricquier points out, has supported this diversity.
“When it comes to Singapore’s maritime sector, the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts, which is what you look for in any true hub and why it remains pre-eminent,” he explains.
He touches upon one of the year’s big shipping stories – the takeover of the Baltic Exchange by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), a Splash exclusive from May. Ricquier reckons more shipping interests may seek to include Singapore as a venue for arbitration following the takeover of the Baltic Exchange.
“The deal also counters the argument that Singapore has somewhat plateaued,” he argues. “Rather it illustrates that there needn’t be a glass ceiling to Singapore’s role in the maritime world, regardless of the global economic backdrop for the shipping and offshore industries.”
Concluding, Ricquier champions the former British colony, saying: “Singapore continues to be a hugely attractive location for the international shipping and offshore industries. Its pro-business tax regime, as part of a supportive, top down approach for the maritime and offshore industries from the Singaporean government, sets it apart. These advantages, married with its diversity of maritime interests, make it a unique place to do business.”