Singapore's millionaire households on the rise

Singaporeans are getting wealthier, posting the biggest increase in millionaires last year, alongside China and India, according to Boston Consulting Group.

There are 17 millionaire households in every 100 in Singapore, reported Bloomberg on Friday.

This is an increase of 14 per cent to 188,000 households, the highest proportion of millionaire households in the firm's 12th annual wealth management report, which surveys 63 markets around the world.

Coming in second and third place are the Gulf states of Qatar and Kuwait, which were less affected by the Arab Spring than other Middle East oil-producing nations.

"It's the first significant interruption of growth since the financial crisis," said Mr Peter Damisch, a partner with Boston Consulting in Zurich.

"Emerging markets will play a bigger role in private wealth going forward," he added.

China's millionaire households also climbed 16 per cent to 1.43 million and India saw a 21 per cent increase to 162,000.

These Asian millionaires counter lost wealth in western Europe and the United States, said Bloomberg. Millionaire households in the US fell by 129,000 to 5.13 million.

While Singapore had the highest proportion of millionaire households, Hong Kong leads the rankings for the percentage of billionaires.

As for the proportion of households with more than US$100 million (S$128.6 million), Singapore has 10 households per 100,000, following Switzerland, which topped the ranking with 11 households.

The data also shows that global wealth surged at a compound annual rate of almost 11 per cent from 2002 to 2007 before the financial crisis and the indebtedness of developed-market economies slowed growth.

The firm predicts that wealth creation will be driven by emerging markets and will have a growth rate of 4 to 5 per cent over the next five years.

There has been an 11 per cent increase to US$23.7 trillion in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan. This growth rate will maintain to surpass private wealth in Europe over the next five years, predicts Boston Consulting. By 2016, the region may reach US$40 trillion.

Private wealth in China and India are expected to increase by 15 per cent and 19 per cent a year, respectively, by 2016. Affluent Chinese might be about US$10 trillion better off by the end of 2016.

Mr Damisch said that this shift in wealth growth to emerging economies in Asia poses a challenge for wealth-management firms based in the US and Europe.

The report also said that finding and keeping talent in these developing markets is a "key success factor" and businesses may need several years of investment before making a profit.

klim@sph.com.sg

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