China's rich pick S'pore in push to diversify overseas

China's rich pick S'pore in push to diversify overseas

CHINA's wealthy have picked up the pace of diversifying overseas and Singapore is one of their preferred destinations, said Carol Chen, managing director, Barclays Bank plc.

Even the scrapping of the fast-tracked residency scheme earlier this year has not dented the flow of Chinese money into Singapore, which is seen as a safe haven, she said.

Ms Chen was hired last December from UBS to head the Greater China team for Barclays Wealth Singapore, the private banking arm of the UK bank.

"Why Singapore? (Because) they want to diversify," she told BT in a recent interview.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Chinese clients saw that Singapore offered diversification not just for its location but also in terms of currency and access to different banks.

Ms Chen started the Greater China desk for the Singapore office from scratch, while the group's Greater China Hong Kong team has been around for more than 20 years. As with most other private banks in the region, Hong Kong is where they would base their Greater China teams, and some might have a small presence in Singapore.

"We have very aggressive plans for Greater China, for both teams," she said.

Her boss, Pakorn Boonya-kurkul, who is head of North Asia, said there are "no limitations in hiring".

After 11 months on the job, the number of relationship managers here has reached double digits, and Singapore is responsible for 50 per cent of the Greater China growth of assets under management (AUM), said Ms Chen.

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