Mr Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been Senior Minister in Singapore since May 2019, after serving for several years as Deputy Prime Minister and as Minister for Finance. He is currently also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, and advises the Prime Minister on economic policies.

Tharman is concurrently the Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator, where he started his career. In addition to his responsibilities in the Government, he is Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and chairs its Investment Strategies Committee.

Internationally, Tharman co-chairs the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, whose recommendations will be considered in the UN Water Conference in 2023 (the first since 1977). He is also on the High-Level Advisory Board established by the UN Secretary-General that will make recommendations on Effective Multilateralism for the UN’s 2024 Summit of the Future. In addition, he chairs the board of the Group of Thirty, an independent global council of economic and financial leaders from the public and private sectors and academia.

Tharman co-chaired the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Global Financing for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, together with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lawrence Summers, in 2021. He also chaired the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, which in Oct 2018 proposed reforms for a more effective system of finance for development, sustainability, and financial stability. He earlier chaired the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) for four years; he was its first Asian chair.

He has also been chairing the Advisory Board for the last three UN Human Development Reports - in 2019, 2020 and 2021/2022. In addition, he co-chairs the Global Education Forum, and is on the External Advisory Group to the IMF Managing Director, and the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees.

Tharman has spent his working life in public service, in roles principally related to economic and social policies. Besides serving as Deputy Prime Minister (2011-2019), he was Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies (2011-2015). He was Minister for Finance for nine years (2007-2015) and Minister for Education for five years (2003-2008). He has been Chairman, MAS since 2011.

Tharman led the ‘SkillsFuture’ programme, launched in 2014 with the aim of developing widespread opportunities for life-long learning and job upskilling among Singaporeans. He also chaired the tripartite Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity (CSIP) which was set up to drive and integrate national efforts to transform industry and skills. More recently, he chaired the National Jobs Council, which oversaw efforts to rebuild skills and jobs in the wake of COVID-19.

Tharman currently also chairs the Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, and the International Academic Advisory Panel that advises the Government on strategies for the university sector.

Among his other roles, he chairs the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute. In 2017, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) conferred on him the Medal of Honour. He also chairs the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), which seeks to uplift educational performance and social resilience in the Indian Singaporean community.

Tharman was first elected Member of Parliament in Nov 2001 in Jurong GRC, and has been re-elected four times since.

Following his schooling in Singapore, he did a B.Sc. in Economics at the London School of Economics and an M.Phil. in Economics at the University of Cambridge. He later obtained a Master’s in Public Administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he awarded the Lucius N Littauer Fellow citation for outstanding performance and leadership potential.

Tharman is married to Jane Yumiko Ittogi, a lawyer by background and now actively engaged in social development initiatives. They have a daughter and three sons.


View all speeches, interviews and statements from Mr Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM