Singapore To Be Asia’s Ultra-Wealthy City Of Choice

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SINGAPORE – Singapore is set to become the world’s second wealthiest city by 2023, behind London, according to property advisory company Knight Frank LLP’s 2014 Wealth Report. The report measures the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) living in each city, such individuals being defined as those with more than US$30 million in net assets.

Singapore is projected to see a 55 percent increase in UHNWIs over the next 10 years, up from 3,154 such individuals to 4,878 in 2023. It is expected to overtake Tokyo, which will have an estimated 3,818 UHNWIs, to become the Asian city with the highest number of such individuals.  

Other cities in the top five are London, with 4,940 UHNWIs, New York with 3,825, and Hong Kong, with 3,502.

Alice Tan, research head at Knight Frank commented, “Singapore is growing in prominence [in the] wealth management sector and as a key regional financial hub. Over the medium term when [the ultra wealthy] look at other factors to invest or base themselves, they look at quality of life, education system, [and] cultural similarity in other regions in Asia.  So they start to see Singapore as one key bright spot.”

Ms. Tan also suggested that a conducive business environment and tax regime, political stability and the rising status of Singapore as a regional financial hub were contributing to Singapore’s rising popularity as a home for the ultra-wealthy.

Asian cities generally are expected to see the fastest growth in numbers of UHNWIs, with nearly 60,000 UHNWIs living in the continent by 2023 (an increase of 43 percent), overtaking the total number in North America. The number of billionaires in Asia is also expected to surpass that of Europe.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates comments, “Foreign direct investment into Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand last year reached US$128.4 billion, and overtook that of China at US$117.6 billion, according to figures released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch this week. Singapore is the new de facto financial hub of Asia and, as a result, it is attracting strategic investment into the entire Asian region. Its superior business climate and standards are making it into the city of choice for many successful business entrepreneurs and multinational corporations, and this survey reflects that trend.”

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