Singapore tops the world rich list again

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Singapore has more millionaires as a percentage of population than any other country for the second year running.

The country has 188,000 millionaire households with disposable wealth of at least US$1 million – making up 17% or 1 in 6 of the population.

Property, businesses and luxury goods are excluded from the tally – but even if they were added in, Singapore would probably still head the exclusive league as prices are among the most expensive in the world.

The Singapore millionaire club has grown by 14% since the last poll in 2010 – which the country also won – according to the research by the US Boston Consulting Group.

‘High net worth’ is no longer an adequate term to describe many of the country’s most wealthy citizens as 10 in every 100,000 households have amassed fortunes of US$100 million or more, although Switzerland is slightly ahead with 11 in every 100,000 homes attaining this pinnacle of prosperity.

Hong Kong has the highest concentration of billionaires, but only comes third in the super rich stakes behind Singapore and Switzerland.

In the battle of emerging v developed economies, the report calculates private wealth in Asia, excluding Japan, surged by 10.7% to nearly US$24 trillion, while falling in the US and canada (-0.9%), Europe (-0.4%) and Japan (-0.2%).

North America has still garnered the largest share of global wealth, holding US$38 trillion.

However, the economic tide is turning as the number of millionaires in China is fast catching up with those in the US – an increase of 16% up to 1.43 million in just 12 months.

The report also places Switzerland as the number one destination for offshore wealth, with holdings of US$2.1 trillion lodged for safekeeping, but this is under erosion by Singapore and Hong Kong, with US$1 billion together.

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