Ultra-wealthy people from China, India, Indonesia and other places are coming to Singapore to find a refuge from the pandemic in their home countries. Bloomberg reports:
One top banker who declined to be identified said Chinese clients ranked first among new account openings, followed by those from India and Indonesia. Another said that client meetings-once a tortuous process of flying to Jakarta and fighting traffic-had become much easier because many of his Indonesian customers were staying in the same luxury condominium in Singapore.
Harish Bahl, founder of Smile Group, a family office that focuses on tech investment, said he’s never met this many super rich in the city. He’s been working in the tech space for more than two decades.
“Since the pandemic, billionaires from all over the world have been staying on longer in Singapore, including those from China, Indonesia, India and the U.S.,” he said, citing incentives for setting up family offices.
One Indonesian businessman who continues to live and work in his home country said his parents have spent more than a year sheltering from Covid-19 in the city-state. While they previously knew about five other Indonesian families living in Singapore before the pandemic, the number has since mushroomed to about 25.
Some of the elders spend their days in leisure, meeting with friends and exploring the city. The more restless have kept active by running their businesses remotely, and many have established family offices-in part to ease the process for gaining residency, he said.
Singapore makes it relatively easy for the super rich to settle. Through its Global Investors Program, the country grants a fast-track to permanent residency to qualified business owners or families if they invest S$2.5 million in a local business, certain funds or a family office with at least S$200 million in assets.
“This has enabled us to strengthen the quality of investors we attract, and is in line with our efforts to strengthen Singapore’s status as a key Asian node for high-growth tech companies and investment activities, grow existing and new industries, and create jobs for Singaporeans,” Matthew Lee, senior vice president of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, wrote in an email.
Perks related to permanent residency include ease of travel, long-term stay permits for parents, cheaper, easier business loans, reduced stamp duties on real estate and a path to full citizenship.
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