SINGAPORE (July 9): When Singapore was unceremoniously kicked out of Malaysia in 1965, the tiny island nation was forced to find a way to survive and thrive. Former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew took inspiration from another small nation: the landlocked Switzerland, which has a population of about eight million today. The country is famous for its chocolates, luxury watches, skiing and, of course, banking industry.
Today, Singapore is often called the Switzerland of the East. Many major foreign banks have set up shop here and offer a multitude of services, including private banking and wealth management. All three local banks — DBS Group Holdings, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank — have also become sizeable players in the private banking and wealth management industry, thanks to several mergers and acquisitions in recent years.
At a July 4 media conference held in conjunction with the release of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s FY2018 annual report, MAS managing director Ravi Menon says Singapore “continued to do well in asset management”, with assets under management increasing by an average of 12.7% a year over 2016 and 2017. “We are also doing well in wealth management, with private banking AUM expanding an average of 6.6% a year over 2016 and 2017.”