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Thread: Number of high net worth individuals in S'pore grows 15% to 77,000

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    Default S'pore now has 77,000 millionaires

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2B...ry_251697.html

    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.

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    Default Number of high net worth individuals in S'pore grows 15% to 77,000

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...356341/1/.html

    Number of high net worth individuals in S'pore grows 15% to 77,000

    By Channel NewsAsia's Pamela Almeda | Posted: 25 June 2008 2004 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore saw a 15 per cent jump in the number of high net worth individuals last year.

    According to the annual World Wealth Report, prepared by US investment bank Merrill Lynch and information technology group Capgemini, there were 77,000 individuals here with at least US$1 million in investible assets.

    There were about 10,000 more millionaires in Singapore last year, compared to the number in 2006. As a group, their wealth averaged at US$4.9 million.

    All in, Merrill Lynch said, Asia Pacific's millionaires had a combined wealth of US$9.5 trillion, up by about 12 per cent on-year, and it is seen ticking higher.

    But overall, it was the emerging markets of Brazil, China, India and Russia which saw the sharpest jump in the number of millionaires last year.

    Kong Eng Huat, managing director for South Asia global wealth management at Merrill Lynch, said: "We are expecting continual growth, although on a slower pace, and we're expecting it to grow at 7.9 per cent on the average for the next few years. I think in Asia Pacific, the growth has been driven largely by China and India, and we'll continue to see that growth."

    India topped the chart for the fastest growing millionaire population - with a jump of 22.7 per cent on-year to 123,000. China was close behind, with a rise of 20.3 per cent to 415,000.

    Across the globe, there were more than 10.1 million high net worth individuals in 2007, holding at least US$1 million in net assets.

    But Merrill Lynch said these individuals took on a more conservative approach to their investments, given the financial turmoil. Assets were allocated mostly to cash and fixed assets, while allocation into real estate dropped by nine percentage points to 20 per cent, down from 29 per cent in 2006.

    According to Merrill Lynch, the smart money would be looking at commodities.

    Stephen Corry, an investment strategist at Merrill Lynch, said: "There must be an allocation away from cash and into those inflation hedges. If you look at where the source of global inflation is emerging, it's coming from higher oil, higher food, higher commodity prices."

    "We find that equities generate a negative return under a scenario of rising inflation. So look to invest in some of the commodities, alternative investments and also those energy and material stocks," he added.

    Apart from mainstream investments, experts said, high net worth individuals are spending their money on what they are most passionate about.

    For Asians, they are investing their money into jewellery, gems and luxury watches, while North Americans are putting some of their money into private jets, high-end cars as well as yachts. - CNA/ac

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