Lifestyle & Belief

Super rich moving money out of Switzerland


A man enters the Swiss private banking group Julius Baer headquarters on September 24, 2012 in Zurich.


Fabrice Coffrini

Switzerland is under siege.

By 2020 the country will have lost its position as the number one destination for the wealth of the world's super rich to Singapore, says a report from private banking research group WealthInsight.

The report is their annual Family Office briefing, a deep dive into where money is moving in the most exclusive investment clubs in the world — in elite wealth management, family and multi-family offices. In 2011, it was a $19.3 trillion industry.

Switzerland had $2.8 trillion of that money. That's 34 percent of the pie, and more than anywhere else in the world.

But that's changing, and fast. Partly because governments have been scrutinizing traditional private banking centers like Luxembourg and the Caribbean lately, so the rich are looking for quieter places to base their cash.

However, WealthInsight also points out that the newly rich in countries like China and Indonesia are contributing to this move as well. Most emerging markets have a growing number of rich people, but lack the banking structure to service them.

Enter Singapore, a quick plane ride for Asia's wealthiest with a well-regulated banking sector. It also has a head start in the private banking. Singapore-based Portcullis TrustNet, for one, was mentioned in a recent International Consortium of Investigative Journalists report about how the super rich invest in tax havens with the help of talented private bankers.

In 2011 Singapore had $550 billion worth of private banking assets under management, in 2000 it had only $50 billion. That's massive growth that WealthInsight doesn't see that slowing any time soon.

So it sounds like they'll have no problem playing catch up.

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