Oral History Collection

Publication Type


Date of Interview



Patricia Meyer


Singapore Management University, SMU, university founding, beginnings, Singapore higher education, education policy, government funding, Singapore Ministry of Education, university administration, start-up, Chief Financial Officer, SAP, tuition fee, fixed-fee model


The interview covered: first involvement with SMU, finance administration, CFO, government funding, stakeholders, tuition fees, financial crisis, donors, campus development, facilities management, student hostels, parent, risk management, reputation.

Biography: Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration, SMU, 1999–2016

Sim Teow Hong graduated with a Bachelor of Accountancy from the former University of Singapore and worked as an auditor with the Ernst & Young public accounting firm for a few years. He then embarked on a banking career by joining the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), Singapore. He worked with the Bank for 18 years, fulfilling different roles from regional auditor, to Head of Internal Audit and ultimately as the Chief Financial Officer of the Singapore Branch.

He then worked as the Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of a family-owned real estate developer, which owns hotels, office buildings, residential developments and retail malls for three years.

The opportunity to be involved in the start-up of a new university, the Singapore Management University, came in 1999. He joined the university as the Chief Financial Officer looking after the funding and financial aspects of the university. Subsequently, other administrative responsibilities were added to him for Facilities Management, Campus Development and the Leasing Business. He was also instrumental in starting up the Office of Internal Audit, Office of Investment, Office of Strategic Planning and the Office of Business Improvement. He was promoted to Vice President, Finance and Administration in 2008 and then to Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration in 2012. One of his major accomplishments is positioning SMU with adequate financial resources to ensure its long term financial sustainability. This outcome has enabled SMU to attain a triple A credit rating for its inaugural bond issuance in 2014. The end of his service in SMU is capped by the successful completion of the new School of Law Building and Law Library together with the transformation of the campus green and underground concourse into new classrooms, student study areas and spaces for student activities.


Asian Studies | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration

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This is an abridged version of the original interview. Please contact Li Ka Shing Library at libIR@smu.edu.sg for access to the full version of the transcript and/or audio recording.

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