S'pore remains a haven for ultra-rich

S'pore remains a haven for ultra-rich
View of the Singapore skyline at night.

The ranks of Singapore's ultra-wealthy are set to grow by more than 1,700 by 2024 - the strongest growth among 108 cities in a new global survey.

In the survey, an ultra-wealthy person is defined as having a net worth of US$30 million (S$41 million), not counting their main home.

The Wealth Report 2015 by Knight Frank predicts a 54.3 per cent jump in the number of these ultra cashed-up types from 3,227 last year to 4,979 in 2024.

The report uses the term "ultra high net worth individual".

Singapore is ranked third among cities where the ultra-wealthy live, behind Tokyo with 3,575 and London with 4,364.

The next biggest projected jump by 2024 after Singapore was Hong Kong with 1,251 more such individuals.

The Republic's population of "centa-millionaires" - those with net worth of US$100 million or more - is set to rise 53 per cent in the next 10 years to 1,177 in 2024.

The population of United States dollar billionaires here - currently 24, the ninth most among the cities surveyed - is also set to rise 50 per cent to 36 billionaires in 2024.

Comparing last year with 2013, Singapore saw a 2 per cent rise in both the ultra-wealth and centa-millionaires, and 4 per cent more billionaires, the report said.

"Singapore's strengthening position as a regional financial and transportation hub, coupled with stable and pro-business Government, have attracted multinational corporations (MNCs) to relocate their operations here," said Alice Tan, Knight Frank Singapore head of consultancy and research.

"These strong attributes have also attracted many (ultra-wealthy) to relocate and invest in Singapore, especially in the real estate sector."

Across countries, Singapore has seen the second highest inflow of the wealthy - someone with net worth of at least US$1 million - over the past 10 years.

About 45,000 wealthy people were added here from 2003 to 2013, or a 20 per cent increase to 225,000 in 2013.

Many of the wealthy here are from China, India and Indonesia, while restrictions on confidentiality rules in Switzerland have caused some wealthy people previously there for tax purposes to relocate here, or to Britain or the United Arab Emirates, the report said.

Ms Tan noted that demand for commercial and especially office space has been on the rise, as more MNCs relocate here.

"Of late, both family and institutional funds have shown greater interest to invest in commercial property as rental yields are higher compared to residential property and the outlook for rental growth is broadly positive for this year."

The report found that investments by Singapore's ultra-wealthy into commercial property has increased over the past five years, with 80 per cent of their portfolios typically dedicated to investing in properties here.

The preferred location for outbound investments by Singapore's ultra-wealthy is Britain and in the residential sector.

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