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Wealth in Singapore: HNW Investors; Understanding HNW individuals and wealth management strategies in the Lion City

Wealth in Singapore: HNW Investors; Understanding HNW individuals and wealth management strategies in the Lion City


The wealthy of Singapore remain dominated by business owners, particularly family businesses. However, investment preferences are shifting, with discretionary mandate demand now almost equal to that for traditional advisory asset management. At the same time, investors are expected to increasingly demand related services such as inheritance, tax, and pension planning along with credit and property advice.

Key Findings

  •  Business owners remain the core of the Singapore market, although inheritors have grown.
  •  The expat space remains large and lucrative, far exceeding other markets in the region.
  •  Advisory mandates are the mainstay of the market, but demand for discretionary asset management continues to rise, reflecting its greater familiarity among clients.
  •  Singaporean investors are increasingly open to more sophisticated alternative investments – considerably more so than the regional norm.
  •  Investment property is currently out of favor, but will rise across the market as the local property space recovers.

Verdict Financial’s “Wealth in Singapore: HNW Investors” analyzes the Singaporean wealth management market, with a focus on the HNW segment’s demographics, investment preferences, and service demand. The report is based on our proprietary Global Wealth Managers Survey.

Specifically the report:
  •  Profiles the average Singaporean HNW investor in terms of their demographics and analyzes the expat opportunity in Singapore.
  •  Analyzes which wealth management mandates are preferred among Singaporean HNW investors and how demand will develop going forward.
  •  Examines the allocation of Singaporean HNW investors’ portfolios into different asset classes and how the allocation is expected to develop in the future.
  •  Analyzes product and service demand among Singaporean HNW investors.
Reasons To Buy
  •  Develop and enhance your client targeting strategies using our data on HNW profiles and sources of wealth.
  •  Give your marketing strategies the edge required and capture new clients using insights from our data on HNW investors’ drivers for seeking investment advice vs. self-directing.
  •  Tailor your investment product portfolio to match the current and future demand for different asset classes among HNW individuals.
  •  Develop your service proposition to match product and service demand expressed by Singaporean HNW investors and react proactively to the forecasted change in demand.

Singapore's growing HNW investor base is demanding more services from advisors
Key findings
Critical success factors
Singaporean wealth comes from a diversified client base
Business owners remain the most important segment, with family business particularly strong
Many HNW individuals have built their fortunes through financial services
The executive market is the most lucrative segment for private banks in Singapore
Expats account for over two fifths of the resident HNW population
Dedicated expat services are a necessity in the Singaporean market
Wealth managers need to ensure their expat services are geared towards long-term residents
Various government incentives are in place to attract wealthy investors
Asian countries dominate the large yet diverse HNW expat population
Singaporean HNW investors expect their wealth managers to outperform, making periods of volatility a challenge
Wealth managers need to be able to demonstrate superior returns to attract Singaporean investors
The majority of HNW wealth is kept in advisory mandates, well above regional norms
Demand is strong for all asset management in Singapore
All investment services will see strong growth in demand
Wealth managers should invest in developing the full range of investment services
While not currently widespread, execution-only mandates appeal to sophisticated investors looking for something extra
Broad asset allocation is dominated by property
Equities and bonds account for the bulk of the Singaporean HNW portfolio
Equities dominate HNW investors' managed wealth, making the portfolio vulnerable to market swings
Bond holdings remain above the regional average
Cash and near-cash investments are well below the regional average
Property is a small element of Singaporean HNW investment portfolios
Commodity investments are of little interest to Singaporean HNW clients
Conservative Singapore has taken to alternative investments
Hedge funds lead among alternatives, appealing to risk-averse Singaporeans
Alternative investments will surge on the back of strong demand and greater supply
Demand for planning services is mixed in Singapore
Inheritance planning has a strong lead among planning services, as many HNW individuals are family business owners
All planning services will rise in importance among Singaporean HNW individuals
Tightening policy conditions have depressed property investing as a strategy
Abbreviations and acronyms
Liquid assets
Mass affluent
Verdict Financial's 2015 Global Wealth Managers Survey
Verdict Financial's 2014 Global Wealth Managers Survey
Further reading
About Verdict Financial
List of Tables
Table 1: Singapore annual wage income statistics, top occupations by surplus income, June 2014
Table 2: Singapore population statistics by status (000s), 2007-15
List of Figures
Figure 1: Business owners account for just over half of the Singaporean HNW market
Figure 2: Property and real estate is by far the most important generator of HNW wealth
Figure 3: The expat population is a crucial part of the local wealth market
Figure 4: Asia's giants dominate a diverse expat population
Figure 5: Control issues dominate the expatriation of wealth in Singapore
Figure 6: Segmentation of its expat offering keeps Standard Chartered strong in this space
Figure 7: Singaporean HNW investors are seeking superior yields from more sophisticated investing
Figure 8: Advisory mandates retain their dominance of the market
Figure 9: All asset classes exhibit strong demand in Singapore
Figure 10: UBS Advice provides clarity on charges and fees, giving clients piece of mind
Figure 11: A growing wealth market will see surging demand for all types of asset management
Figure 12: Low-cost investment options are the main draw for DIY investors
Figure 13: Singaporean HNW portfolios are well diversified
Figure 14: Low-cost ETPs appear to be swinging the equity market towards funds
Figure 15: Funds provide much-needed diversity to local equity portfolios
Figure 16: Singapore's greater development as a financial center allows for more bond holding than is common in the region
Figure 17: Bond holdings will drop off in Singapore despite strong risk aversion
Figure 18: Cash holdings in Singapore are primarily deposits
Figure 19: Singaporeans will largely be sitting on the same cash pile this time next year
Figure 20: A lackluster property market has kept a lid on these investments
Figure 21: There will be no rush back into property by Singaporean HNW investors
Figure 22: The poor performance of commodities has seen their share of the HNW portfolio collapse
Figure 23: Commodities show no sign of increasing their share of Singaporean investment portfolios
Figure 24: Alternatives help investors diversify away from unsatisfactory financial markets
Figure 25: Alternatives will rise in Singapore as investors seek out investments uncorrelated with financial markets
Figure 26: Strong demand for inheritance planning intersects with the large proportion of family business owners
Figure 27: All planning services will experience an increase in demand over the coming years
Figure 28: Demand for investment property advice has waned due to the ailing local property market
Figure 29: The market unanimously expects credit demand to rise

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