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BCG invests in Singapore for first Centre for Business Excellence

Hans-Paul Burkner

Singapore: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has selected Singapore as the site for its first Center for Business Excellence.

BCG says it has invested heavily in the Centre, a BCG world first, and that this is a clear indication of its confidence in Singapore, as well as in Asian business generally.

The Center was opened formally at the end of last month by S Iswaran, Singapore's Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry.

The Center has three pillars: Knowledge, Strategy and Enablement.

BCG says the Knowledge Hub will house a team of topic specialists in industries (such as resources, transport and logistics, financial services and public sector) and business functions (such as corporate development, M&A, and people & organization). Its rich repository of Asia-based knowledge will complement the work of the Center's Strategy Institute, which will conduct breakthrough research to support the further success of ambitious Asian organizations.

BCG's first Leadership and Talent Enablement Center (LTEC) is the Center's crucial third pillar. BCG will help companies plan their leadership and talent pipelines and build leadership and talent capabilities. Jeffrey Chua, BCG Partner and Managing Director in Singapore said, "We bring the same rigor to leadership and talent development as to strategic and financial planning. More importantly, we work with clients to institutionalize lasting capabilities for developing talent."

Leadership and people practices more broadly, are critical issues for Asian companies. Hans-Paul Bürkner, BCG's President and Chief Executive Officer said, "Addressing the obvious correlation between good people practices and performance outcomes is especially complex in Asia, the world's largest and fastest-growing regional economy.

"In an intensely competitive environment for talent, the challenge for companies is to nurture potential leaders with the right 'glocal' (global and local) skills and experience, and support accelerated growth by ensuring a steady supply of competent leaders. The LTEC's central mission is to support our clients to assemble smart teams for tomorrow's workforce."

Leadership and talent issues

Issues around leadership and talent are at the top of CEOs' agendas around the world, and the empirical evidence confirms there is good reason for this. BCG and the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) recently collaborated in a major global research effort, including surveys of over 4,000 managers, which showed that the companies most serious about leadership development achieve over twice the revenue growth and almost twice the profit margins of their less capable peers. Overall, high-performing companies are much more likely than low-performing companies to make leadership planning an integral part of their people-planning activities.

More importantly, perhaps, BCG and the WFPMA analyzed the relationship between good people practices and shareholder value performance. They looked at the average growth in share price for Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" between 2001 and 2011. They found that the perennial "100 Best" (the companies that have made the list for three or more years) outperformed the S&P 500 in eight out of 10 years--and, over the course of the decade, they cumulatively beat the S&P 500 by 99 percentage points.

Singapore choice

Commenting on the Center's location in Singapore, Quek Swee Kuan, Assistant MD of the Economic Development Board said, "We are proud that BCG has chosen to establish its first Center for Business Excellence in Singapore. BCG's commitment validates Singapore's position as a thought and practice leader for Asia's management consulting sector. By centralizing in Singapore, consulting firms like BCG can better serve their clients in Asia through leveraging Singapore's strong talent pool, diverse ecosystem of think tanks and research institutes to develop new, pan-Asian consulting solutions."

"The choice of setting up the Center in Singapore is a logical one," said Chua "The country has a multi-talented workforce, sophisticated economy and infrastructure. It is also the 21st century business gateway to Asia and the rest of the high growth markets. Many international companies have established their headquarters here in recent years, underlining its position as a valuable base for business."

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