Singapore Banking Community Mourns Loss of De Silva

Singapore Banking Community Mourns Loss of Lionel De Silva

Lionel De Silva, who accumulated more than 30 years of trade operations experience throughout his career working at several of Singapore’s top local and international trade banks, died on 1 February 2022. Lionel earned a master’s degree in international and commercial law and was a frequent panelist at IIBLP Annual Survey of LC Law & Practice conferences in Singapore.

“I came to know Lionel in person in January 2007, when we joined Standard Chartered’s global team in Singapore almost at the same time”, said longtime Singapore trade finance specialist Gabriel Sham. “Through working together as bank colleagues, and later as co-panelists in the Annual Survey events, I was able to appreciate Lionel’s rich knowledge, affability, and sense of humour from a close distance. I remember learning a lot from him, such as when we implemented UCP600 and then worked with Legal on the Global Client Documentation project. Lionel’s presence will be sorely missed.”

“I first met Lionel decades ago when I started attending the IIBLP Annual Surveys”, said Angelia Chia, Partner at Mayer Brown (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. who had previously been Head of Legal, Trade, at Standard Chartered Bank. “He used to regale me with stories of fraud and actual cases that have become seminal court decisions. I will miss bantering with him, his wisdom and his laughter. Rest in peace my friend and mentor.”

Soh Chee Seng, Technical Consultant for the Association of Banks in Singapore, said: “I have been working together with Lionel in many trade finance events organised by ABS and IIBLP. We have known each other for at least 30 years. His passing is a loss for the trade finance banking sector in Singapore. In his service to the LC community for many years, Lionel spoke softly but wisely. It is indeed difficult to find someone who can compare with his knowledge of LC law and practice.”

Michael Byrne, CEO of IIBLP and Publisher of DCW said: “I met Lionel in 2002 at my first Singapore Annual Survey, and Lionel was the first person to come and speak to me. He was the sweetest, most generous man I met at the events. My birthday always coincided with the Annual Survey, and each year, Lionel gathered the crowd together during a break to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. And that has nothing to do with his knowledge of LCs, which was second to none. He resisted serving as a panelist for discussions, but his interjections spurred lively conversations that are a hallmark of those events. He really was the embodiment of teacher, mentor and friend. His kind, generous heart was so big it filled the room, and we will miss him greatly. I was thrilled to learn he celebrated a wonderful Chinese New Year dinner with his family before retiring for the evening and passing in his sleep. Rest in peace, friend.”

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