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Singapore's GCs are more ambitious and influential than ever but the profession still has a long way to go before all its aspirations can be realised

18 April 2018

CMS and the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA) are pleased to launch their first joint Singapore General Counsel (GC) Report. Based on a survey and interviews with a number of prominent Singaporean GCs, 'General Counsel in Singapore: Setting the pace' shows that GCs in Singapore are more ambitious than ever to take on senior leadership roles in their organisations, with nearly one in five aspiring ultimately to become a CEO or COO themselves.

Jonathan Warne, CMS’ Head of Litigation and Arbitration and lead partner on the firm’s GC programme, comments:

“Our Report offers valuable insight into the views of the Singaporean GC market, which undoubtedly reflect the way the in-house arm of the profession has grown and matured in the past few years. As a class, GCs are much more numerous, more influential and better respected than ever. The Report clearly reflects the ambition and opportunities for GCs operating across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Taur-Jiun Wong, President of the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association adds: “The Report is a timely addition to what SCCA has been doing with the Competency Framework for In-house Counsel. It provides valuable insight as to where things are and where things should be. One of the tasks of SCCA is to help our most senior members go beyond the general counsel role in their organisations. We are curating learning opportunities to help them do ‘work that is of the greatest strategic value to the organisation’. These initiatives will be announced later this year.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Only 18% of Singapore-based GCs say they are currently doing work that has the greatest strategic value to their business – but 52% expect to be doing work of the highest strategic influence within five years.
  • The vast majority of GCs felt that their influence in the boardroom was strong (60%), or very strong (18%). Only 5% considered it weak.
  • Over 26% of GCs believe they are ready to embrace innovation, while 23% do not regard themselves as innovative or forward thinking.
  • Over three-quarters of GCs expect to be affected by the general increase in regulatory investigations in Singapore.
General Counsel in Singapore
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Portrait of Jonathan Warne
Jonathan Warne