Morgan Stanley plans move to bigger Singapore office at IOI Central Boulevard Towers in growth boom

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SINGAPORE – Morgan Stanley plans to move to a new office in Singapore, seeking a bigger space in the Central Business District (CBD) to accommodate its expansion.

The US company 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 sources 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 spokesman for the company said in response to queries from Bloomberg News.

He confirmed the plan to lease five floors at the new development from late 2024, with the location to serve as the bank’s headquarters for South-east Asia.

Representatives for the developer, Malaysia’s IOI Properties Group, did not 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 sources said.

The move to the Marina Bay area, next to Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, will see it take up slightly more than 100,000 sq ft, they said. The company has been at its current location in Capital Square for more than 25 years.

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 Covid-19 pandemic has bolstered demand for swanky offices in the CBD.

In April, the overall Grade A vacancy rate in Singapore was 4.6 per cent, data from Colliers International Group shows, much lower than in 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 in May.

Morgan Stanley will be sharing space at the new development with Amazon.com. The property comprises 1.26 million sq ft 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.

Image by: The Straits Times (OI PROPERTIES GROUP)

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