8% drop in number of ultra rich in S'pore: Survey

The number of wealthy individuals here dropped last year amid a global economic slowdown, a survey has found.

There were 2,360 ultra- high-net worth individuals - those with US$30 million (S$41.2 million) in assets or more - in Singapore last year, down 8 per cent from 2014, according to the survey, which polled about 400 private bankers, including 30 here.

Despite the drop, Singapore still came in sixth on a list of top 20 cities by wealth distribution. New York was first with 5,600 such individuals, followed by London's 4,905. Hong Kong came in third with 3,854. The drop here was part of the 3 per cent global decline in the number of ultra rich last year, with a 2 per cent fall in both North America and Europe and 3 per cent in Asia.

But long-term wealth growth is still very much on track in Asia, which will see 26,927 new ultra- high-net worth individuals emerging over the next 10 years - about 35 per cent of the expected global total increase of 76,015.

Singapore should feature prominently in this growth as it was named the third most important global city for these wealthy individuals in 2016, behind only London and New York while overtaking Hong Kong in fourth place, according to the survey from property consultancy Knight Frank.

PREFERRED LOCATION

The conducive business environment and clear regulatory framework here have augmented Singapore's status amongst the wealthy as a preferred location to live and do business.

MS ALICE TAN, Knight Frank Singapore research head

Factors including livability, ease of doing business and asset investment are the key draw for the ultra rich of the world, Knight Frank Singapore research head Alice Tan said yesterday.

Singapore is also the joint No. 1 destination, alongside Britain, for residential property investment this year, with 79 per cent of respondents telling Knight Frank that their clients will explore real estate investment here.

But property prices will continue to moderate this year, with the firm forecasting a 3 to 6 per cent year-on-year price drop in the overall private residential segment, as developers grapple with cooling measures amid bumper supply.

The downturn has hit premium offerings the most, with property prices on Sentosa dropping as much as 15 to 20 per cent from their peaks, Ms Tan noted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline '8% drop in number of ultra rich in S'pore: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe