On Monday, representatives for Switzerland and Singapore signed a bilateral deal to exchange data from 2019, pending approval from Swiss parliament for the deal. The two offshore centers, which have maintained extremely close ties in recent years, also signed a pact to cooperate even more closely on financial services. Under the agreement, Switzerland will automatically exchange with the Singapore financial account information of accounts in Switzerland held by Singapore tax residents while Singapore will automatically exchange with Switzerland financial account information of accounts in Singapore held by Swiss tax residents. The agreement would apply from January 1, 2018, with the first exchange of data in 2019.
Former BSI banker Yeo Jiawei was on Wednesday sentenced to four-and-a-half years jail for money laundering and cheating, in a case linked to an investigation involving Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Yeo, 34, had set up multiple suspicious transactions involving 1MDB, and admitted he secretly profited at least $3.5 million from the illicit transactions. He laundered a portion of the money by transferring at least $500,000 into his parents' bank account. Prosecutors identified Yeo as a central figure linked to Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who was characterised by US investigators as the controller of a plan to drain billions from 1MDB.
Global 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 said Tuesday it had fined Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank (UOB), a local lender, for breaches of the city-state's anti-money laundering laws relating to a corruption scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country's central bank, said it also imposed lifetime bans on two bankers and a 15-year prohibition order on a third following a two-year review of lenders involved in 1MDB-related transactions.
According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Singapore's stringent bank secrecy laws have attracted $1.1 trillion in foreign capital, and its growth rate is bypassing that of Switzerland. Singapore will become the world's largest multinational financial center by 2028, according the report. For foreign capital, Singapore's management is relatively lenient. Singapore immigration authorities only generally check "the first pot of gold" of the immigrant applicants.
Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is selling part of its stake in Swiss bank UBS at a loss, nearly a decade after it first invested in the bank at the height of the financial crisis. "Conditions have changed fundamentally since GIC invested in UBS in February 2008, as have UBS' strategy and business," GIC Chief Executive Officer Lim Chow Kiat said early Tuesday (May 16) in a statement. "It makes sense now for GIC to reduce its ownership of UBS and to redeploy these resources elsewhere," Mr Lim said.
Singapore banned former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Tim Leissner from the securities industry for 10 years and said it plans to issue similar orders against three others caught up in the scandal surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Leissner, who left Goldman Sachs in February 2016, was sanctioned because he issued an unauthorized letter to a financial institution and made false statements on behalf of the U.S. bank without its knowledge, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement Monday. The central bank had signaled its intention to ban Leissner last year.
Singapore has reportedly seized a $35 million private jet belonging to 1MDB mastermind Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, who is under investigation for his involvement in the scandal-hit Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) The Bombardier Global 5000 jet is part of some $1 billion in assets allegedly acquired with funds siphoned from 1MDB fund that the US government is moving to seize. The police declined to comment on whether the authorities had grounded the plane, stating that investigations are still in progress. The US alleges that the funds were laundered through the US banking system and is seeking to confiscate Low’s private jet, as well as other properties including a $100-million interest in EMI Music Publishing Group, and a $380-million stake in the Park Lane Hotel in New York.
Switzerland placed first overall in international university Insead’s 2017 Global Talent Competitive Index (GTCI); the annual study, released by international graduate university Insead on Monday, measures a nation's competitiveness based on the quality of talent that it can produce, attract and retain. This year's report explores the effects of technological change on talent competitiveness, arguing that while jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities.
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