Ultra-rich prefer relocating to S'pore instead of HK: Report

Luxury boats and yachts moored at Keppel Bay. Singapore's burgeoning financial markets and superior quality of life are strong pull factors for the world's high-net-worth individuals, says a WealthInsight report.
Luxury boats and yachts moored at Keppel Bay. Singapore's burgeoning financial markets and superior quality of life are strong pull factors for the world's high-net-worth individuals, says a WealthInsight report.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The umbrella protest in Hong Kong may have prompted globe-trotting millionaires to relocate to Singapore instead of the Chinese territory, says a wealth-tracking report.

The report by WealthInsight also forecast that the percentage of millionaires, or high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), will grow at a faster rate in Singapore than in Hong Kong in the next five years - 18.3 per cent versus 15.6 per cent, respectively. Net wealth is defined as one's assets minus debts or liabilities.

"Though Hong Kong has a much higher millionaire population than Singapore (193,000 to 154,000), recent events such as the umbrella revolution may have turned migratory HNWIs away from the city," CNBC quoted WealthInsight head Oliver Williams as saying.

The WealthInsight report, released on Tuesday, said one in 35 Singaporeans is now a millionaire, with their number rising by 17 per cent from 130,000 in 2010 to 154,000. They collectively hold US$806.3 billion (S$1.15 trillion) in net wealth.

WealthInsight forecasts Singa- pore's millionaire population to reach 188,000 in 2020.

"Singapore's burgeoning financial markets, renowned private banking and superior quality of life are continuing to attract HNWIs from neighbouring countries," said Mr Williams.

"We're currently seeing a large influx of Indian and Chinese millionaires into the country."

But WealthInsight also noted that Singapore's HNWIs had the lowest average wealth in Asia of US$5.2 million per HNWI, compared with their counterparts in Indonesia, which had the region's highest average wealth - at US$6.5 million.

"Though seemingly small, the changes in average wealth are hugely reflective of the nation's equality," Mr Williams was quoted as saying by online publication CFO Innovation.

"The lower the average wealth of a country's HNWI population, the more evenly that wealth is distributed among others. Germany, for example, has an average wealth of US$3.2 million," he added.

Well-known HNWIs who have relocated to Singapore include US hedge fund billionaire Jim Rogers, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Australian former coal baron Nathan Tinkler.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2015, with the headline 'Ultra-rich prefer relocating to S'pore instead of HK: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe