Wealth Management in Singapore is expected to feature strongly in the next few years. If Singapore continues to be perceived as a stable and well-regulated financial centre, it should be an attractive jurisdiction for wealth management. Along with it, financial services including trusts and other fiduciary services will grow in tandem.
Finally, what may be in store for Singapore, is aptly put by Francis Koh in the concluding paragraph of his article “Wealth management in Singapore” as follows:
“Asia’s growth story is still very much intact and it will continue to raise income levels in the region. Amongst the Asian countries, Japan, China, India and Indonesia will continue to grow and be ranked amongst the world’s largest economies, and their wealth will grow in tandem. Both Singapore and Hong Kong are well placed to serve the increasing wealth of HNWIs due to their developed financial markets, including infrastructure, human resources, IT and a conducive business environment. Singapore thus stands to play an even bigger role in the region. Hong Kong is near China and will benefit from that proximity, notwithstanding that Shanghai too is a fast-growing centre, and is now poised on the starting blocks in the sprint for the asset- rich or cashed-up. The close collaboration between industry and regulatory authorities is a key strength of Singapore’s wealth management industry and augurs well for its future as a competent and clean wealth management centre for both onshore and offshore banking. Hand in hand with the positive economic growth recorded in the region, and a greater level of sophistication on the part of the HNWI, the future for Singapore’s wealth management industry is thus “optimistically vibrant”. At the same time, the relative positioning of international financial centres is also clearly shifting as we move forward into an era of greater transparency and shifting wealth creation patterns, centres located in emerging markets stand to gain increased stature. Singapore is well positioned to take advantage of that shift, whether in 2015 or 2020.”
(Source: Francis Koh Cher Chiew, professor of Finance (Practice) & director, MSc in Wealth Management Programme, Singapore Management University Wealth management in Singapore. (2014). Asian Management Insights. 1, (1), 76-82. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business)
Planning Considerations in Wealth Management
- Selection of a choice jurisdiction for wealth management involves identifying one that has a reputable regulatory and legal framework, a wide selection of financial services professionals, lawyers and accountants, corporate, trustee and fiduciary providers involved in the wealth management and financial and estate planning process.
- Plan structures that are transparent and measure up to the scrutiny of the authorities when disclosures are necessary for purposes of tax or other reasons. Concealment of assets or avoiding payment of taxes when due may be a time bomb for the client and his family members in the future.
- There are a wide variety of vehicles available offshore that may provide alternative means for holding of wealth and investments e.g. offshore companies, trusts, foundations, protected cell companies, private equity and offshore funds and other special purpose vehicles. Before such vehicles are selected, it is paramount to consider all legal aspects and the governing law, the tax implications on ownership, on income and capital gains and the enforceability of rights and ownership.
- Minimize taxes relating to the proposed investments or seek tax advantages, tax incentives, and holidays that may be available or the use of double tax treaties.
- Although estate duty is now removed in Singapore, many jurisdictions continue to tax their citizens and non-domiciled persons leaving assets there upon their deaths. Hence where individuals are concerned, consider estate duty or inheritance taxes and probate that may result from the individual’s death; such aspects involve understanding implications flowing from the individual’s country of residence and domicile.
Singapore is at a strong end for Wealth Management. It provides a stable and well-regulated environment that fosters growth for many companies willing to invest in the financial management arena.