Channel NewsAsia

Fall in number of Singapore's ultra-high net worth individuals: Survey

SINGAPORE:  There has been a fall in the number of people in Singapore with a net worth of more than US$30 million (S$42 million), according to a study by UK-based property consultancy Knight Frank.

The study, released on Wednesday (Mar 2), showed that there were 2,360  "ultra-high net worth individuals" (UHNWIs) in Singapore last year, down from 2,565 in 2014.

That put Singapore in sixth place in the global league table, behind New York (5,600), London (4,905), Hong Kong (3,854), Moscow (3,457) and Los Angeles (2,820). 

Knight Frank said the study tracks the growing "super-rich population" in 98 cities across 91 countries. The survey was based on the views of about 400 leading private bankers and wealth advisors globally who, between them, manage assets for about 45,000 UHNWIs with a combined wealth of over half a trillion US dollars, it added.

The decline in the number of such individuals in Singapore follows a global 3 per cent slide in the total number of UHNWIs. Almost 6,000 people fell out of the wealth bracket in 2015, the first annual dip in ultra-wealthy populations since 2008, the consultancy said. 

Over the next 10 years, Knight Frank projects that the UHNWI population in Singapore will increase a further 48 per cent.

Head of Consultancy & Research of Knight Frank Singapore Alice Tan said the attributes that Singapore had built over the decades — a conducive business environment, clear regulatory framework and a progressive ecosystem of financial and business services — had "augmented its status amongst the wealthy as a preferred location to live and do business in Asia". 

“Singapore’s excellent infrastructure, education and healthcare systems further anchors its global city accolade by promoting a vibrant economy, which will in turn boost the country’s real estate landscape within the next decade."

THIRD MOST IMPORTANT CITY TO UHNWIS GLOBALLY

The study also ranked the cities that mattered most to the world’s wealthy, based on where they live, invest, educate their children, grow their businesses, network and spend their leisure time. 

Singapore was ranked third in the world for its importance to UHNWIs based on these factors in 2016 according to the study, overtaking Hong Kong from fourth place in 2015. London and New York retained the first and second positions as the most important cities to UHNWIs worldwide.  

Although more than half of survey respondents did not believe that the two top cities could be overtaken in importance in the coming decade, the 34 per cent of respondents who did believe that this was possible placed Singapore as the top contender for the next most important city in the next 10 years. This included respondents from Singapore, India, Australia, the US, Hong Kong, UAE, the UK, Malaysia and China. 

Ms Tan suggested that if the Republic strengthened its trade relations with East and Southeast Asian markets and positioning as a strategic location it could further grow the size of its external market. 

"Advancing the growth of wealth management and professional services in key business industries could foster a greater impetus for UHNWIs to make Singapore a city of choice," she added.