Don't we all wish to become part of this elite club? June 26, 2008
S'pore now has 77,000 millionaires
Figure represents a rise of 15 per cent; each individual has over US$1m in net assets
By Nicholas Fang
SINGAPORE'S millionaires club last year swelled by about 10,000 people, or 15.3 per cent, to 77,000, or 1.7 per cent of the population here.
The Republic lags far behind more populous countries, such as the United States, which has over three million millionaires, but Singapore still boasts one of the world's top 10 fastest-growing millionaires clubs.
The latest surge in the number of millionaires here - defined as those with more than US$1 million (S$1.3 million) in net assets - puts Singapore joint seventh globally in terms of growth in numbers of such wealthy individuals, said a new report.
Assets counted exclude a person's main residence.
The annual World Wealth Report, released by Merrill Lynch and research firm Capgemini, found last year's growth was lower than the 21.2 per cent boom in 2006.
However, Singapore's growth was still higher than the global growth of 6 per cent to 10.1 million last year, the report said. The total wealth of these well-heeled Singapore residents grew by 17 per cent to US$379 billion.
'The average wealth of a Singapore high net-worth individual was US$4.9 million at the end of last year,' said Mr Kong Eng Huat, South Asia market managing director with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mr Kong said: 'This is a strong performance compared to the global average of US$4.04 million per individual last year, the first time the average has exceeded US$4 million.'
The Asia-Pacific region as a whole also beat the global performance, turning in millionaire population growth of 8.7 per cent to 2.8 million and a 12.5 per cent rise in combined wealth of the region's wealthy to US$9.5 trillion.
Asian countries also dominated the list of markets with the fastest- growing millionaire populations. India topped the list, with China in second spot and South Korea and Indonesia in fourth and fifth.
In absolute numbers, the US is top of the league with an estimated 3.03 million millionaires. But growth was a mere 3.7 per cent over 2006.
Mr Kong said: 'In the Asia-Pacific region, wealth is being created at an unprecedented rate. We are in the midst of a multi-year growth trajectory in terms of the number of high net-worth individuals in this part of the world, and also their combined wealth.'
Mr Raj Sriram, head of private banking at RBS Coutts Singapore, said it had seen continued growth among its clients' funds. 'At the macro level, wealth creation in Asia shows no signs of slowing.'
He added that the growing number of wealthy individuals in Asia, and Singapore in particular, was one of the reasons why the private bank had moved its international headquarters from Switzerland to Singapore two years ago. 'Last year, we grew our business by more than 50 per cent and, going forward, we expect a healthy growth in the medium term.'
Dr Jannie Tay, executive vice-chairman of The Hour Glass watch chain, said her clientele largely comprised wealthy individuals. The chain's business has grown in tandem with the growth in number of such individuals. Dr Tay said annual growth had been 15 to 20 per cent in the last five years.
Labels: Singapore, wealth