16.06.2017

Singapore, Hong Kong undermine Swiss leadership in attracting offshore wealth

400Global private wealth gained momentum in 2016, but wealth managers face a host of challenges if they hope to fight off competitors, deepen client loyalty, and put both revenue and profit growth on a sustainable positive trajectory, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Switzerland remains the world’s No. 1 offshore wealth management hub with $2.4 trillion in assets, twice as much as Singapore’s, the report showed. BCG expects this number to rise to $2.8 trillion by 2021.

Singapore and Hong Kong will attract wealth from abroad at more than twice the pace of Switzerland over the next four years because of their status as the “preferred booking centers for regional clients and the anticipation of strong growth in Asia-Pacific”, said BCG. 

Perceptions that Singapore is safe and stable will also help to bring money to the Southeast Asian nation, according to BCG, which sees offshore assets there rising at a compound annual average rate of 8 percent through 2021. Hong Kong’s will climb 7 percent, more than Switzerland’s 3 percent, the consulting firm’s global wealth report showed.


“Relative to Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore are growing faster because of the economic growth from China to India,” said Mariam Jaafar, a Singapore-based BCG partner and one of the authors of the report. “In clients’ minds, Singapore is more independent and secure. The government is also very supportive of the wealth management industry.”

BSG added that despite the expected merging of offshore and onshore margins, “offshore bookings will remain a key growth opportunity”, particularly in the upper high net worth and ultra high net worth market. 

According to the report, global private financial wealth grew by 5.3% in 2016, to $166.5 trillion, driven primarily by accelerating economic growth and the strong performance of equity markets in many parts of the world. The rise was greater than in the previous year, when global wealth rose by 4.4%. All regions experienced an increase in overall wealth, and Asia-Pacific once again was the fastest-developing region, with nearly double-digit growth of 9.5%. Western Europe posted modest growth (3.2%) as uncertainty over Brexit played a role. By the end of 2017, the level of private wealth in Asia-Pacific is projected to surpass that in Western Europe, and by 2019, the combined level of private wealth in Asia-Pacific and Japan is projected to surpass that in North America.


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