Singapore has long been synonymous with finance – but how does it measure up compared to its rivals? The Lion City is well known as a regional economic leader and draws in people from far and wide – with about half of the population expected to be immigrants by 2030.
The experience of these expats is crucial to feeding the reputation Singapore has cultivated, one as being the perfect place for a finance professional to move to.
So, what’s the secret to Singapore’s success? Why do some see this – above rival players – as the best city of its kind on the planet?
Existing expats rate Singapore top of the league
The notion that Singapore has the edge on its rivals was born out in a survey conducted by the bank HSBC. In its Expat Explorer poll it asked more than 20,000 people in 39 countries questions based on their career prospects, confidence in the economy, financial well-being, quality of life and how simple it was for their families to settle with them.
Singapore earned the highest score, finishing above New Zealand and Sweden in second and third respectively.
Its score was particularly high for economic confidence and the entrepreneurial environment.
Matthew Colebrook, head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC Singapore, said: “Singapore has worked hard to position itself as attractive for business. It is pleasing to see that its economic and political stability and general pro-business approach is being recognised by entrepreneurs globally.”
Banking and bonds booming
As Street Insider notes, more than 200 different banks have a presence in Singapore, with a number of those now choosing to have now just a base but an operational headquarters there, with the value of the banking sector swelling to about $2 trillion.
The bond market has also grown at a fairly rapid pace in the past decade, with the capital market catering for about 800 companies. Singapore is also a global centre for currency trading with a thriving forex market.
These popular markets all help to provide well-paid jobs. At the end of the day the expats are attracted by the strength of the ‘business of money’ because they have eyes on making plenty themselves. Straits Times shows how accounting, banking and finance all offer attractive salary packages to meet this ambition.
Good conditions to do business
Markets like stability and Singapore offers them that. Economic and political conditions are much more certain than in other parts of the world with even the otherwise-calm London being shaken by its recent EU Referendum result. Stability lies at the heart of Singapore’s appeal both in term of businesses and individuals.
Individuals also benefit from low personal income tax rates and the corporate tax rate of 17 per cent is second only to Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, many comment on how the entrepreneurial atmosphere rubs off, with success and innovation helping to breed further success and innovation.
Finally, Singapore makes sure it ticks all of the boxes when it comes to quality of life in a wider sense. From healthcare to transport, education and even food, expats know they don’t have to compromise when they come here.
The properties on Paterson Hill – known as Billionaire’s Row – can rightly rival some of the most sought-after addresses on the planet. It’s unlikely that an expat living near Orchard Road, with its designer boutique shops and Michelin-starred restaurants will be left pining for the life they have left behind.
All of this is important not to forget. The economics speak for themselves but without the quality of life to back this up, Singapore wouldn’t be able to retain the finance professionals it so readily attracts.
Well-paid jobs in a thriving financial sector in a city-state that offers low taxes and a top class quality of life make up the perfect recipe for professionals. Singapore would do well to try to do all it can to ensure this success can be retained going forward.
Why do you think Singapore tops the list of expat-popular countries? Any good reasons to add, especially if you’re a finance professional? Do share in the comment box below.