Why the World’s Elite Choose to Store Wealth in Singapore

12 February 2024

Singapore marina bay

In the span of just a few decades, Singapore has orchestrated what many economists and historians deem an "economic miracle." From a modest trading post to an international metropolis, this city-state has transcended its geographical limitations to emerge as an economic powerhouse on the global stage.

Today, dubbed “the Switzerland of Asia,” Singapore stands as a premier international wealth hub, attracting the globe's elite with its political stability, efficient regulatory environment, and outstanding quality of life. In this article, we collate and share a list of accolades and global rankings that made Singapore the choice for the world’s elite to store wealth.

The Singapore Miracle

The transformation of Singapore since its independence in 1965 is nothing short of miraculous, a testament to the indomitable spirit of a nation that refused to let limitations define its destiny.

In the early days, Singapore faced daunting challenges: a lack of natural resources, a burgeoning unemployment rate, and the urgent need for housing and infrastructure development. Yet, under visionary leadership, Singapore embarked on a rigorous path of industrialization, inviting foreign investment and expertise while nurturing a skilled workforce.

The government's strategic focus on creating a robust manufacturing sector, developing world-class infrastructure, and establishing a transparent legal system laid the groundwork for what was to become an economic renaissance.

Between Singapore’s independence in 1965 and 2022, World Bank data shows that the country’s GDP grew from US$974 million to US$466 billion. Over the same period, per capita income in the city-state rose by a factor of 160, skyrocketing from US$516 to over US$82,800.

In comparison, Malaysia, Singapore’s larger and nearest neighbor, has a lower GDP of US$407 billion as of 2022 despite having a larger GDP of US$3 billion in 1965. As for Malaysia’s per capita income, it only managed a thirty-seven-fold increase, from US$325 to US$12,000, during the same period.

This economic surge was complemented by a comprehensive approach to social development, significantly raising the standard of living for its citizens.

The city-state's skyline, punctuated by avant-garde architecture, stands as a symbol of its remarkable progress, while its ports, consistently ranked among the busiest in the world, point to Singapore's pivotal role in global trade.

The Singapore miracle, as it is aptly called, encapsulates the extraordinary journey of a nation that transformed its vulnerabilities into strengths, charting a course from survival to success.

Singapore’s Global Rankings for Finance

Third Richest Country

According to the Global Finance Magazine’s Richest Countries in the World 2024, Singapore is the third wealthiest country with a GDP per capita of US$133,108, after accounting for purchasing power parity (PPP). Luxembourg was ranked first, while Ireland was second.

A Top International Financial Center

Singapore is Asia’s top financial center and the third top financial center in the world, behind New York and London, based on Global Financial Centres Index 34 (GFCI 34) rankings.

Home to Asia’s Safest Banks

Singapore’s three banks, DBS, OCBC, and UOB, are Asia’s safest banks in Global Finance Magazine’s World’s Safest Banks 2023 rankings.

Singapore's financial center

Singapore’s Global Rankings for the Economy

Best Business Environment

Based on the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 2023 rankings, Singapore retains its position as having the world’s best business environment for the 15th consecutive year.

The EIU ranking is based on evaluating ten categories, spanning the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, free enterprise and competition policies, foreign investment policies, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labor market, and infrastructure.

Global Competitiveness

Singapore ranked fourth among the world’s most competitive economies in the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking 2023. The city-state received high rankings in international trade (second), employment (second), and technological infrastructure (third).

Singapore’s Global Rankings for Governance

Government Effectiveness

Singapore came out tops in the Chandler Good Government Index 2023 for having the most effective government, having scored well in areas of leadership and foresight, strong institutions, financial stewardship, attractive marketplace, and helping people rise.

One of the Least Corrupt Countries in the World

Singapore is ranked the 5th least corrupt country in the world out of 180 countries by the 2023 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI).

One of the Safest Countries in the World

The 2023 Global Peace Index ranks Singapore as the sixth safest country in the world and the second-safest country in Asia-Pacific.

Singapore ranked 3rd in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index 2021, ranking high in categories for digital security (second) and health security (second).

Strong Rule of Law

In the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2023, Singapore is ranked 3rd globally in the areas of accountability, just law, open government, and competence of the justice system. In the areas of order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, criminal justice, and the absence of corruption, Singapore is ranked 1st in the region.

Singapore Supreme Court

Singapore’s Global Rankings for Industry

World’s Top Maritime Center

Singapore is the world’s top maritime center for the 10th consecutive year in the Xinhua Baltic International Shipping Centre Development (ISCD) Index 2023. The index provides an independent ranking of the performance of maritime locations on factors including cargo throughput, port facilities, maritime services, and business environment.

Second Busiest Port

Despite its diminutive size, Singapore has the world’s second busiest port, according to the World Shipping Council.

Global Giant in Petrochemical and Refining Trade

Singapore has one of the world's largest refining and petrochemical complexes, the world's largest bunkering port, Asia's largest oil trading hub, and two of the world's largest rig builders. The island-state was the 9th largest exporter of chemicals, as ranked by the World Trade Statistical Review 2023.

Singapore port

Singapore’s Societal Global Rankings

One of the World’s Best Places to Live

In Global Finance Magazine’s World’s Best Places to Live, Singapore was ranked fourth, scoring well in economic strength, cultural attractions, and environmental safety.

Global Talent Competitiveness

According to Isead’s 2023 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), Singapore is the world's second most talent-competitive country. The annual GTCI measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent.

Best City in Asia for Expats

Singapore is the best city in Asia for expatriates, according to Mercer’s 2023 Quality of Living survey, based on factors including health, education, recreation, housing, and political and social environment.

World Class Education System

Singapore students topped the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2022, having ranked No. 1 for mathematics, science, and reading. Pisa is an international benchmark study to measure how well students use their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.

Most Efficient Healthcare Sector

Singapore topped the 2020 Bloomberg Health-Efficiency Index for having the most efficient healthcare system in the world.

Singapore is a Top Destination to Store Wealth

Singapore’s international rankings and accolades are proof that the nation is internationally recognized for its excellent governance and economic and social development. These accolades underscore Singapore's economic resilience and its favorable business environment, making it an attractive hub for wealth storage and investment.

Moreover, Singapore's reputation for transparency and low corruption levels further enhances its appeal as a secure haven for wealth. This distinction emphasizes the trustworthiness and reliability of Singapore's legal and regulatory frameworks, ensuring that assets are managed and protected in a transparent and fair manner. A solid legal and justice system also ensures that asset ownership is legally protected, an aspect especially crucial when foreign investors store wealth in Singapore.

Singapore’s excellent governance can also be seen in the country’s fiscal balance sheet. In a world awash with highly indebted countries in an age of unprecedented central banking debt monetization, Singapore remains one of the few countries in the world today with no net public and external debt and is a net creditor nation.

The city-state is bestowed with the highest international credit ratings from Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s, proof of the high regard it receives internationally for the government’s prudent management of the country’s finances.

Singapore’s favorable tax regime is another reason for its attractiveness as a destination for foreign investors to store wealth. There is no capital gains tax, and attractive tax incentives are available for investment and businesses.

Furthermore, Singapore’s accolades are not limited to its governance and economic achievements. They extend to Singapore's quality of life and infrastructure, which are important indicators of the holistic and sustainable development of the nation for the long term. The city-state often ranks highly in global quality of life indices, which consider factors such as healthcare, education, and public safety.

Singapore's world-class infrastructure, including its state-of-the-art banking facilities, cutting-edge technology, and efficient transport system, further complements its wealth management services. These factors, combined with Singapore's strategic geographical location and its role as a gateway to Asia, solidify its position as a top destination for wealth storage.

Store Wealth at The Reserve in Singapore

The Reserve capitalizes on Singapore's exceptional qualities, as evidenced by its numerous international accolades and rankings, making it an ideal location for the storage of physical assets such as precious metals, art, and luxury timepieces.

With 12,500 safe deposit boxes and 10 gold and art vaults for lease, The Reserve is the ideal wealth hub for clients seeking to store physical assets in the safe jurisdiction of Singapore.

Only an 8-minute drive from Singapore Changi Airport, the busiest airport in Asia, The Reserve is extremely accessible to our international clients, who may want to access their safe deposit boxes quickly.

Located in Singapore, already one of the safest countries in the world, The Reserve’s vaults are protected by state-of-the-art security systems, and its premises are also separately monitored by external security companies.

Precious metals stored at The Reserve’s main vault, The Safe House, are further protected by one of the most comprehensive precious metal insurances in the industry that covers ‘all-risk,’ including coverage for the infidelity of employees (inside jobs), terrorism and sabotage, and mysterious disappearance.

While storing wealth in Singapore allows you to tap into its excellent jurisdictional qualities and benefits, clients of The Reserve further minimize potential counterparty risks to their assets with our specialized approach to wealth protection.

Contact us and speak with one of our wealth specialists to learn more about our wealth protection services in Singapore.