Fast growth in 'emerging affluent' class in Singapore

Fast growth in 'emerging affluent' class in Singapore

SINGAPORE - The "emerging affluent" class, or those with $50,000 to $200,000 of investible assets, is one of the fastest-growing segments here and in the Asia Pacific, said Citibank Singapore.

About 500,000 are in this bracket here, and this segment is tipped to expand 10 per cent year-on-year in the next three years, according to market research agency Datamonitor.

Their liquid assets are also projected to grow 10 per cent annually in the next three years.

"They account for nearly 10 per cent of the total population here," said Mr Umang Moondra, Citibank Singapore's head of retail banking.

"This presents an opportunity and an area where we can cater products and services," he added.

The typical profile of someone in this category is a young professional with a few years of working experience who is about to get married, married or planning to start a family. He or she is also likely to be buying a first home or car.

"Through our experience, many customers with less than $200,000 investible assets tend to be overly focused on interest rates and quick ways to make their money grow," said Mr Shrikant Bhat, Citibank Singapore's head of wealth management.

"They do not take a holistic or long-term view of their overall finances," he added.

Citibank has seen steady growth in the last two years in this segment, with a 60 per cent rise in new customers with more than $50,000 of assets under management (AUM) since 2011.

Among these clients, nearly 30 per cent have upgraded to the Citigold segment - those with AUM of between $200,000 and $1 million - by their second year with the bank.

The bank has launched a new savings account aimed at the emerging affluent group which could yield an extra interest rate of up to 3.5 per cent a year on the first $50,000.

Customers can earn bonus interest rates of up to 2.5 per cent a year on top of base savings account interest rates, depending on how they invest or spend on unit trusts, insurance products and credit cards offered through the bank. They will also get an extra 1 per cent a year if they take up a home loan of at least $250,000 with the bank.

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