By Romesh Navaratnarajah: Singapore is now home to more wealthy people than Hong Kong, according to a report by RBC Wealth Management and Capgemini.
But despite the rise in the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), the amount of investable wealth they owned declined last year, pulled down by pressure in global markets. The report noted that the drop in overall wealth compounded problems for wealth managers still experiencing soaring costs.
In Singapore, the number of HNWIs – those with at least US$1 million (S$1.27 million) of investable wealth — declined 7.8 percent to 91,200 last year from 98,900 in 2010. The decline was attributed to a slowdown in exports and a jittery stock market.
In comparison, Hong Kong's HNWI group fell by 17.4 percent to 83,600 due to the city's stock market pain.
This is the first time since 2008 that Singapore has led Hong Kong in terms of HNWIs.
"In Hong Kong, stock market capitalisation also dropped - by 16.7 percent in 2011 after a gain of 17.6 percent in 2010 - as Eurozone concerns weighed on the outlook for growth," noted the report.
The report also highlighted that Asia Pacific recorded the highest number of affluent people in the world, surpassing North America with a 1.6 percent growth in HNWIs to 3.37 million, supported by strong domestic economies.
"We don't think that the economies in Asia will suffer as much as the Western economies, so that's already underpinning an opportunity for better growth," said Barend Janssens, Emerging Markets Head of Wealth Management at RBC. Related Stories: Singapore economy resolute amid global shocks
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