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?