We Are Wealthier Than Switzerland


In fact, we are wealthier than both Hong Kong and Switzerland if you look at the “Pockets of Wealth” ranking table published by Business Times. (The BT article in turn based its info on reports from Boston Consulting Group.)

To be specific, Singapore has a higher percentage of millionaire households than Hong Kong and Switzerland.

It may be hard for us to believe, but a whopping 11.4% of Singapore households have more than US$1 million in assets under management. Hong Kong has only 8.8%, and Switzerland a mere 8.4%.

Though Hong Kong’s millionaire households command a larger share of wealth than Singapore, our rich families beat Switzerland in this aspect. The wealthy households in HK hold an exhilarating 74% share of total wealth, but Singapore’s figure is still an eye-popping 52%.

The higher the figure, the greater the wealth disparity. I’m not sure if this is something to be proud of.

We also have a high figure for income disparity.

Singapore’s Gini index for income is 47.8 – indicating a high inequality in income distribution. This is much higher than other developed countries. For example European states generally have their Gini indices between 24 and 36. See this income equality list on Wikipedia to get an idea of how poorly we stack up against the rest.

Nevertheless, I have a feeling that the fortunate 11.4% group consists mainly of non-Singaporean families (don’t get me started on why our wealth and income statistics always lumped PRs and citizens together). Let me just quote from an old Salary.sg article on Singapore’s typical millionaire:

An interesting finding is that “the Indonesian population residing in Singapore comprised a significant share of the local HNWI population and wealth.” (HNWI = High Net Worth Individuals)

The report went on to estimate that in 2006 “approximately 19,000 HNWIs of Indonesian origin resided in Singapore and held approximately US$93 billion in financial wealth.”

Do you have US$1 million’s worth of assets under management?


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  1. I didn't sleep with Jack Neo on

    Benjamin, that’s the wrong question. The question should be: how many INDONESIAN politicians contribute to that number?

    When all you do in life is steal from the general tax fund and accept bribes, it’s hard not to become a millionaire. Same thing applies to most Indonesian businessman.

  2. It makes you wonder how much ‘dirty money’ is floating around here… I’m sure many corrupt politician and businessmen from around the region are parking their money here because Singapore is only interested in business not morals. We even offer those rich people complementary PR status!

  3. not a millionaire on

    I am surprised to see > 16% of the respondents of this poll are millionaires. If I have more than a mil of AUM I am not sure if i will spend time on this website.
    Do you think the poll here reflects accurately the profile of the visitors?

  4. don’t underestimate the amount of spare time we rich indonesians have. we enjoy shopping, sipping coffee, and browsing all kinds of websites including this one.

  5. Ya i am not proud of the highest no of millionaires we have here.

    Many are still living below $2000 a mth salary and has nothing to be proud of.

  6. the stats are ‘lumped’ together so you singaporeans can feel good and continue to cheerfully serve us rich indonesians as waiters, bell boys, shop attendants, financial ‘consultants’ and property agents. u thought u are making good money when in fact we own most of the wealth here. but of course, without us, you will be much poorer. nothing much u can do especially when u are already so brainwashed, so, continue to feel good.

  7. the reason why there are only stats for “locals” is simple. cos once they publish separate stats for citizens and PRs, eg Iras income data, it will be too shocking for anyone to accept. they would rather not spend time to explain that there are no poor PRs precisely because we want only those who are economically viable. so they choose the simple way out – just publish data for “locals”.

  8. but switzerland qualified for the world cup 2010. whatever happened to our world cup 2010 dream? since we are so wealthy, we can easily pay millions and import some spanish and brazilian players. it’s better than importing some useless CEOs who don’t understand asian businesses and yet are catapulted to lead such businesses just because some of us like to brown nose them.

  9. Inflation at 3.9% on

    I like Spain’s suggestion. Whenever I read the papers and “Singapore” players are winning in any sports, all you have to do is take a look at their names and figure out that they are not local Singaporeans rather a cacophony of players from mainland China, Indonesia, etc, etc.

  10. Winston Reid on

    Sometimes I wonder why we give excuses that we are short of talents because our population is small.

    New Zealand’s population (4 million) is even smaller than Singapore and they can score and draw against Sloviaka.

  11. Inflation at 3.9% on

    1. Percentages play a part. If you a large number of people, it’s just more likely to have more talented people. That’s just statistics.
    2. Different people/races have different strenghts and motivations. Take the Jews for example: they don’t have a lot of people either (5.7 million in the state of Israel), but they have now joined the rank of developed countries. Througout history, the number of Jews who kick ass are just out of proportion with the rest of humanity. Surely you’ve heard of Albert Einstein? The fields of sciences and finance tend to be dominated by Jews as well throughout history. For Asia though, it’s easy to explain: we are just a bunch of ATM automatons posing as breathing human beings. The only question is: does it make a ton of money? If not then it’s not worth doing. Full Stop.

  12. Winston Reid on

    Well, the jew example is probably inconclusive. It depends on which part of history and what textbooks you have been reading. To you, they dominate in certain areas because they happened to be better in branding during the certain era when the media was exploding. If you are a westerner, you would probably think Romans dominated warfare during the BCs though the Chinese were equally extensive in military during that period.

    If Asian’s strength and motivation is making ton of money, shouldn’t Asians be the richest people on the global? Clearly, this is not the case.

  13. We are ranked 18 when comparing absolute number of millionaire households, ahead of Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

    No. 18: Singapore
    Population: 5.1 million

    2009 number of millionaire households: 122,697
    Percentage increase: 35.4 percent YOY
    Share of country’s wealth held by millionaire households: 53 percent

    The chances of running into a millionaire are high in Singapore, which had the world’s greatest density of millionaires, who represented 11.4 percent of total households in 2009. They controlled 53 percent of the country’s wealth. Singapore’s economy shrank 2.1 percent last year but has improved, growing 13.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2010.

    Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

  14. unacceptable inequalities on

    “Perceptions matter. If people feel the state is acting to redress unjustified and unacceptable inequalities — economic as well as social — then the rising Gini may not have much significance. But if many citizens think the state is not doing enough — or worse, if they believe the state is encouraging inequality — it could be a problem.”

    “a Gini of 0.51 can hardly be brushed off.” (What about Singapore’s 47.8?

    The above is from an opinion piece written by Bhanoji Rao, a visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. It’s published in the Straits Times.

    What’s interesting is that despite being based in Singapore, Prof Rao did not mention a single word about Singapore and it’s very high Gini of 0.478 (or 47.8 if you use the more common “index” representation).

    It will be perceived that he’s unwilling to talk about Singapore for one reason or another. Perceptions matter.

    A copy of his nonetheless well-argued opinion piece can be found here:

  15. we beat korea on

    isn’t it strange that we have more millionaire households than korea? and it is in absolute numbers!

    korea’s population is 48m while singapore’s is 5m. why does korea only have 92,045 millionaire households and tiny singapore can better it with 122,697??

    yet korea has produced samsung, LG, kia, hyundai, etc. a look at wikipedia’s description of korea’s economy puts singapore to shame.

    we only have singapore airlines, creative (still surviving?) and a whole lot of government-linked oil and gas related corporations. and of course, we have a lot of foreign banks and MNCs here that hire a lot of foreigners.

    i don’t think we are any better than korea if at all.

    korea’s economy and industries are highly developed and its population is almost 10 times that of singapore.

    so why is it that korea only manages to produce 25% less millionaire households than singapore?

    i think the blogger is correct in his hypothesis that the bulk of the wealth in singapore lies in the hands of foreigners.

    my take is that korea is a traditional country and is less welcoming to foreigners (is it lky who said japan/korea should open its doors?). it’s gini index is 31.6, much lower than singapore’s. this puts korea in the same league as Australia, Belgium, Canada and France (see prof rao’s artcle quoted by someone above).

    as for singapore, we are in the same league as countries in “Central, South or Latin America.” (see same article). definitely not flattering if you ask me.

    in other words, korea has fewer foreigners, specifically fewer rich foreigners, and its total wealth is more evenly distributed to its citizens (as evidenced in its lower gini).

    so what’s wrong with singapore having the bulk of its wealth in the hands of foreigners? one may argue that they still live here, many as PRs, and spend their money here, pay taxes, and contribute back to the economy. they help create jobs. citizens become richer with their presence here.


    however, the flip side is that (1) it gives the wrong impression that we are a wealthy country (just read the headline of this blog post – are we citizens REALLY wealthier than the swiss?); (2) the wealthy people may leave anytime, causing disruptions to property and even stock markets here. they are foreigners, remember?; (3) the local populace, the citizens, may be get fed up with the constant media bombardment that we are rich, well paid, well fed, but what we experience on the ground is that we’re only “servants” to the rich foreigners (see bangbang’s comment).

    singapore as a country appears wealthy, but its citizens aren’t truly wealthy. don’t be misled.

    i’m not proud of the rankings. i’m saddened by them.

  16. hello..asset under management means property right? Its true that LOTS OF Singaporeans are sitting on properties that cost a bomb compared to other countries, and few of the properties are fully paid up.

    I’d be convinced that Singapore is richer than Switzerland, if the “asset under management” means FULLY PAID UP properties.

    All this means is that Singaporeans are a bunch of people enslaved by their hefty mortgages. For less than S$400000, you can be a fully paid up owner of a FREEHOLD bungalow with pool and garage in the US suburbs, about 30 mins drive from the nearest sub-city.

    Another fraudulent “survey” and ranking. This is the same reason behind the delusion of local undergrads that they’re of the same standards as or receiving MIT-standard education in their stupid universities that no one heard of because of some stupid “tie up”. What a sad bunch of people.

  17. SG total no. of millionaires is far behind (in descending ordeer) US, Japan, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, India, Brazil and more.


    The whole highest no. of millionaires in the world based on per capita is nothing more than YET ANOTHER asian/local chauvinism propaganda tool.

    Works extremely well on the unsavvy, mentally and financially unprivileged and unlearned suaku local population who have been stuck here most of their lives. They simply love it and bite it hook, line and sinker. Make sure you have the means to send your children overseas.

  18. I forgot to add that I literally heard a frog in the well local educated farmer swell in pride when saying that SG has the highest number of millionaires. How sickly foolish.

    Have dreams that you’re superior in any form to the Swiss? Why don’t you take a trip on a Chan Bros package tour to Switzerland and open your eyes. Seeing is believing. Take a look at the prices of mineral water there. Open your eyes and look at the streets, the houses that its people live in. The standard of living and quality of life in real first world countries like US, Germany and Switzerland.

    And there you are paying off your tiny crummy subsidized new $350k 3-room HDB or 30 year old leasehold resale HDB hole in the wall by the city fringe that cost you $700k (with 69 years left on the lease and a huge mortgage), with all your unpaid up “assets” trumpeting that you’re richer than the Swiss. I dunno whether this picture is funny or tragic.

  19. is singaporeans were wealthy, the whole country will migrate to swiss, US, Aus…i really dont believe giving wealth to singaporeans is a good idea for the country….

  20. wow, hello boi has a huge inferiority complex. i guess his daddy bought him a foreign education and now he keeps telling himself how his life abroad is better than the miserable singaporeans.

    everyone knows the reality. everyone wants to send their children to Aus/canada. this is one of the reasons why singapore salaries are low. they dont love to live here unlike the europeans. the moment u have money, u want to Migrate.

    if u give money to singaporeans, singapore wont exist. thats why salaries are low despite the fact that the gdp is high.

  21. rich parents send their retarded kids like ‘hello’ to overseas colleges, and they graduate feeling all superior about themselves. anyone can buy a degree these days. sad.

  22. If I can drive to the Swiss Alps on weekends and breath alpine-fresh air everyday, I don’t mind being “poorer” than those who has to pay thousands of $$ once or twice a year just to experience the same.

    Wealth? What’s millions when you have to pay through your nose for the most basic things the Swiss take for granted?

  23. only local farmer retards can’t differentiate between the two English words ‘foreign’ and ‘overseas’. It’s in no doubt caused by their worthless degree from farmer university like NUS and NTU, which no one outside singapore cares about.

    The children of the rich here in district 9 and 10 as well as the top brains of the country from rjc and hci would never deign to attend any of the farmer universities, thereby causing this pathetic inferiority complex. no wonder all of us can see with our eyes that the only people who go to local university are the poor or stupid people.

    no wonder they need to go around telling others they’re “overseas trained” by going on as many exchange programmes as they can and desperately doing a worthless course based master’s for 1 years after spending four years rotting here.

    Just looking at their sad claims on facebook and in real life makes you feel sad for them, you just want to weep.

  24. You think Indonesians are so rich ah? Think how many Indonesian *companies* owned by Singapore? (read: Temasek) and how much Indonesian *land* now owned by Singapore? (read: Integrated Resort) How many Indonesian *talents* sucked by Singapore? :p

  25. You are not using the right data.
    An average Hong Kong person has a net worth of 360,000 USD while an average Singaporean has only 160,000 USD, less than half of Hong Kong’s figure. Hong Kong also has a larger number of millionairs (both % and absolute number). Not households but millionairs (as in person). A Hong Kong millionair has an average net worth of 5.8 million USD.

  26. No, you are not. You should use the average asset owned per capita instead of the % of millionaire to evaluate it.


    By Enterprise Innovation Editors | Jul 26, 2010

    According to the latest Affluent Asian Tracker survey conducted by HSBC, majority of the Hong Kong’s rich have managed to keep their wealth intact, or even grow their net worth, to surpass other rich countries in the region.

    Hong Kongers hold average liquid assets of US$301,289, nearly double Singapore’s at US$183,145 and Taiwan’s at US$155,162.

  27. What does this post even mean? What comprises a “household”? (In S’pore that often describes multi-generations crammed into the same home, which I assure you is not the case in Switzerland!) Is this figure just for S’pore citizens — or for PRs also? And what exactly are “assets under management”? (I have more than $1 million but none of it is “under management.”! Entire article is lame and misleading.

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