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Shortage of wealth managers for Asia's rich in S'pore, HK

Singapore offers the region's wealthy a stable political environment, favourable tax policies and well-developed capital markets. Alphonsus Chern/The Straits Times

Publication Date : 20-09-2012


Cash-rich clients flock to 2 cities, but industry faces talent crunch
Rich people from across the region are flocking to Singapore and Hong Kong to have their cash managed, but experienced wealth managers are in short supply.

The talent squeeze is so serious that financial firms are having trouble dealing with the clients who come through the door.

The problem reflects the trend of Asia's emergence as a destination in itself for the wealthy.

While Switzerland is still the world's largest offshore wealth centre, Singapore and Hong Kong are gaining ground.

"The centres offer relatively stable currencies and political environments, favourable tax policies, transparent regulatory and legal systems, and well-developed capital markets," said a report by RBC Wealth Management and consultancy Capgemini.

Mr Barend Janssens, the emerging markets head at RBC, said that much of the wealth pouring into Singapore and Hong Kong is coming from Asians themselves.

"Many people think that the growth of the wealth management business here is mainly due to a migration of wealth from Europe to Asia but in fact, wealth management is growing because Asian clients are increasing their wealth."

The Asia-Pacific is now home to the highest number of wealthy individuals in the world - 3.37 million people in the region hold investable assets of at least US$1 million (S$1.23 million), excluding their homes, the report said. However, the scarcity of skilled talent is the most critical challenge for wealth management firms in the region, it said.


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