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Singapore’s PM-in-Waiting Embodies Broader Shift in Finance Hub

Lawrence Wong set to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and he will have to win over the younger voters. 

Pedestrians in the central business district in Singapore.

Pedestrians in the central business district in Singapore.

Photographer: Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg

In Asia’s wealthiest nation, where the education system is among the world’s best, Singapore’s prime minister-in-waiting has appeared surprisingly unassuming.

Born to a roofing sales executive, Lawrence Wong -- named a deputy prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday -- chose to attend a public university in the U.S. for undergraduate studies under a government scholarship. The 49-year-old didn’t immediately make it into the elite administrative service -- known as a breeding ground for future leaders -- though he was accepted later after working as a civil servant, according to people familiar with the matter.