By Glenn Choo
Singapore millionaires and high net worth individuals (HNIs) found their wealth surging in the past three years despite the global economic uncertainties, a survey by Royal Skandia found.
More than two-thirds of the respondents revealed that their wealth had risen between 2008 and 2011, with some 10 per cent reporting that their wealth had increased by 50 per cent or more.
The survey - conducted in the first quarter of this year - polled over 1,500 individuals globally. There were 150 respondents from Singapore.
A millionaire or HNI is defined as an individual with more than US$1 million in liquid assets, not including the value of a primary home.
Nine out of 10 of those surveyed reported accumulating their wealth through work as opposed to inheritance or personal stock trading.
Successful investment strategies and owning a business were cited as the other significant opportunities that could enable wealth generation, while a fifth of the respondents gained a wealthy status through inheritance or marriage.
This survey also showed that one's career choice matters when it comes to wealth accumulation. Some 27 per cent of the respondents made their money from a career in finance.
Other key sectors which were likely to enable wealth accumulation include the service industry, manufacturing and the public service.
When it comes to taking risk, the survey found that Singaporeans are generally not risk-averse. Almost half described their risk-taking habits as "high" or "very high", and just 16 per cent felt they had a "low" or "very low" tolerance for risk.
Going forward, some 62 per cent of the respondents said they plan to make a dash for cash, while 14 per cent were reviewing their investments in commercial property with a view of decreasing holdings.
That said, property still forms a major component in Singaporeans' investment portfolios, with cash and shares being the other two major components.
"The findings of this study are particularly interesting in Singapore where the proportion of wealth derived from employment is amongst the highest compared to other regions we have surveyed," said Michelle Andrews, commercial director of Royal Skandia.
"This may be indicative of the strength of the Singapore economy, where despite the turbulent economic landscape elsewhere around the world, employment levels rose for the second year running."
This article was first published in The Business Times.