I am particularly interested in advising Masters/PhD candidates in the areas of geographies of finance and global cities development, although research related to advanced business services, market formation, urban processes and economic development in Asia would also be relevant. If you are interested in pursuing Master or PhD research in my areas of interest, you can write to me with a recent CV and a brief description of your proposed research topic. For more information on graduate studies at NUS Geography and funding opportunities, visit: Some potential topics are indicated below:

Singapore as international financial centre
Research on this topic will contribute to understanding Singapore’s role and trajectory as an international financial centre, from colonial times to the present day, and examine its contemporary social and economic geography — both as an area within Singapore and as a node in regional and global financial networks. Specific foci could include the late 1960s and early 1970s development of an Asian Dollar market, contemporary Renminbi (RMB) offshore market, the physical expansion of the financial district and its relationship to spatial planning and real estate markets in Singapore.

Production networks of FinTech
FinTech encompasses a new wave of companies developing new products and platforms to change the way businesses and consumers to make payments, lend, borrow and invest. These developments are disrupting traditional value chains and production networks. Given the potential of FinTech to redraw existing maps of global financial flows and innovative activities, there are urgent questions regarding locational decisions of FinTech entities, how they intersect with knowledge networks in financial centres and innovative clusters, and the types of capital and regulatory structures that would support FinTech development. Specific topics could focus on analysing the emergence and development of FinTech as an ecosystem of related firms, actors and institutions operating at the intersections of finance and technology innovations, how FinTech might be reshaping the roles of international financial centres and innovative clusters, changing production networks and inter-firm relations due to FinTech innovations, and the opportunities and challenges faced by Singapore and Hong Kong in their ambitions to become the leading FinTech hub in Asia.

Private wealth management and the high net worth (HNW) market in Singapore and Asia
Singapore is now the world’s fastest growing wealth management hub with $1.3 trillion assets under management, and is slated to overtake Switzerland as the world’s largest offshore wealth centre by 2020. Its rise into the realm of ultra-wealthy global cities also reflects a broader economic shift as Asia becomes an increasingly important centre for growth and consumption. Capitalising on these trends, government policies over the past decade have focused on the development of financial services, retail sectors and lifestyle amenities aimed at attracting high net worth individuals (HNWIs). Potential thesis projects could include: examining the private wealth management sector in Singapore (and the roles of different service providers e.g. private banks, fund management companies, legal and accounting firms, insurance and financial advisory business), comparing characteristics and impacts of regional wealth (e.g. from China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines) and local HNWIs, competition with Hong Kong to become the leading wealth management centre of Asia, the economic and urban impact of HNW consumption and lifestyle sectors, and HNW market and philanthropy.

Finance and everyday life
Rather than examining the firms, actors and processes involved in ‘high finance’ at the industry level, this approach focuses on the socio-economic practices of everyday subjects by exploring the vital role played by the financial services industry in shaping financial behaviour and consumption practices. Potential thesis topics include money cultures, finance and religion, consumer credit and debt, and  biofinancialisation.


  • Diane Floreal Bouleau, PhD candidate,Department of Geography, NUS, “Entrepreneurs without borders? Embeddedness and relationality in international entrepreneurial migration” (2017-present)
  • Felicia LIU, PhD candidate, Department of Geography, King’s College London and NUS Joint Degree Programme, “Climate sustainability, capital markets and the economic geography of non-financial reporting in Asia” (2017-present)
  • TAN Xuan Kai, PhD candidate, Department of Geography, NUS, “From national cable lines to global production networks: State, finance and the internationalisation of Singapore’s telecommunications industry ” (2016-present)
  • Dennis STOLZ, PhD candidate, Department of Geography, NUS, “Philanthro-capitalism and the production of space: Impact investing and global development in the era of financialisation” (2015-present)
  • Yvonne GUO, PhD candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS, “Midshore financial centres and the emerging transparency regime” (2014-2017)
    Currently pursuing Juris Doctor Law Degree, Singapore Management University.  

Thesis Committee Member

  • Jack HARRIS, PhD candidate, Department of Geography, NUS, “Institutional configurations and the evolution of the London and Singapore DigiTech clusters” (2015-present)
  • LIM Cia Lit Guanie, PhD candidate, Department of Geography, NUS, “Chains, Values, and Security: The Political Economy of Aquaculture in Singapore” (2013-2016)
    Currently Postdoctoral Fellow at Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA), Nanyang Technological University. 


  • CHEN Mengyao, PhD, 2017, Department of Geography, King’s College London. Thesis title: “The location patterns of Transnational Corporations’ Host-country Headquarters in Chinese mainland global cities”
  • CHUANG May Tiffany Jordan, M.Soc.Sci, 2014, Department of Sociology, NUS. Thesis title: “Contextualising ‘Financial Literacy’ — Singapore as an Exploratory Case Study”
  • WOO Jun Jue, PhD, 2014, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS. Thesis title: “Converging Interests, Emerging Diversity: A Nested Instrumental Approach to Financial Policy in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai”
  • LIU Yi, PhD, 2012, Department of Geography, NUS. Thesis title: “Global production networks, strategic coupling and dynamics of industrial upgrading in the Pearl River Delta, China”
  • NG Li Na, M.Soc.Sci, 2010, Department of Geography, NUS. Thesis title: “Financialisation of oil: a geographical perspective on oil trading and production”

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