Elizabeth Sam was a trailblazer in Singapore’s rise as a global financial center. In an illustrious career spanning four decades, Sam made a mark with her unique flair and poise in what was a male-dominated international financial industry. She began her journey in the public sector when she joined the Ministry of Finance in 1962 and the Monetary Authority of Singapore upon its establishment in 1971. During this time, she was responsible for the development of the city-state’s financial markets, advancing the Asian dollar market as well as the foreign exchange market.
Sam is perhaps best known for her contribution to the growth of the futures market in Singapore. As two-term chair of the Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX), she was part of the team that successfully pioneered the Mutual Offset System in 1984, which made the Eurodollar fungible with the contract traded on the then-Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The MOS today, through SGX Group and CME Group, continues to offer investors globally round-the-clock access to trade and clearing on leading derivatives marketplaces in Asia and the US.
During her career in the private sector, Sam was a director of UK-listed Mercantile House Holdings and became the first woman to be appointed to the main board of a major Singapore bank. In 1996, she was awarded the BBM (Public Service Star, Singapore) for her contributions to financial center developments.