Singapore’s 27 billionaires worth $64 billion

From ’27 of 2170 billionaires around the world are in Singapore’, 6 Nov 2013, article in CNA

Singapore has 27 billionaires. This is according to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013.

Singapore has the fifth largest billionaire population in Asia and is the 18th largest in the world. Nearly 44 per cent of Singapore’s billionaires are self-made. Only 15 per cent inherited their wealth, while 41 per cent inherited and subsequently grew their fortunes.

According to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionare Census 2013 Singapore Supplement, the typical Singapore billionaire is 64 years old, has at least a university degree and most likely made his wealth from finance, banking and investments.

The average net worth of a Singapore billionaire is US$2.4 billion. The total wealth of billionaires in Singapore is US$64 billion. The global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013. The total billionaire wealth in Asia also surged nearly 13 per cent, making it the fastest growing region.

Singapore is less a ‘Lion City’ now than a ‘playground of the super rich‘. According to Prime Resi, the Journal of ‘Prime Property’, ultra-prime property in the city has risen by more than 200% since 2005, putting us in the league of ‘billionaire destinations’. Sentosa Cove, for instance, has become a property hotspot for Australian magnates Gina Rinehart and Nathan Tinkler and is becoming the ‘sunny island set in the sea’ instead of the mainland where most of us ‘working poor’ live in. Real estate pundits say we’re turning into a ‘mini-Switzerland’, and in fact rich Germans have been shifting funds from their Swiss accounts to Singapore in the ‘double-digit billions’. A dark twist on this ‘Swiss standard of living’ promised by Goh Chok Tong, perhaps.

Just last month, Minister Chan Chun Sing rejected the idea of a ‘poverty line’ because it might lead to a ‘cliff effect’. But it’s clear here where the line is drawn, between one whose net worth is at least 6 zeroes vs another who’s a 9. NMP Lawrence Lien, philanthropist and champion for the impoverished, wants to remind Singaporeans that the poor exist, poverty line or not. He heads the Singaporeans Against Poverty project and also the Lien Foundation (Incidentally, the Lien Family happens to be one of the mighty 27, worth $1.43 billion).

The Department of Statistics revealed that the number of Singaporeans earning less than $1K had risen from 20,000 in 2001 to 236,000 in 2011, while the SAP website reports that there are currently 105,000 families who earn an average $1500 a month. A newly minted member of the billionaire jet set would be worth 10 times that amount of income pooled together. Our 27 billionaires’ combined worth is $64 billion, equivalent to 64 Gardens By the Bay or the GDP of Lebanon.

Just 2 years ago, we had 13 billionaires. That number has since DOUBLED. Incredibly, we had billionaires in our midst as early as 1984, e.g the Kwek Family worth $3 Billion. Of the handful then, 2 of them, Ng Teng Fong and Khoo Teck Puat, have had hospitals named after them. Who knows, maybe in another half a century, we’d have a Eduardo Saverin University as well.


One Response

  1. […] – TOC: Wage hikes at the expense of citizens? – Everything Also Complain: Singapore’s 27 billionaires worth $64 billion […]

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