Thailand Elite Residence Program has seen a 60% growth in interest from foreign investors in the first quarter of 2019 and brought in a profit of more than THB 280m (approximately $8.75m).
After Henley & Partners was appointed exclusive global concessionaire for the program in April last year, registration numbers grew from an average of 300 per year to over 900 for the April-December 2017 period. This upward trend has continued in 2018, with 161 new residents on-boarded in March alone.
According to Dominic Volek, managing partner of Henley & Partners Singapore and Head of Southeast Asia, "interest in the program among Chinese nationals is picking up significantly, while citizens of the UK, Germany, Australia, the US, and Japan make up the bulk of the existing client base".
interest in the program among Chinese nationals is picking up significantly, while citizens of the UK, Germany, Australia, the US, and Japan make up the bulk of the existing client base"
The minimum one-time fee for winning Thai residence is approximately $15,000. The program was initiated by the Royal Thai Government for the dual purpose of attracting wealthy investors and entrepreneurs and uplifting the local population, which stands to benefit from the injection of capital, skills, and expertise into the country.
As these reforms attract more HNWIS, Thailand is becoming increasingly attractive for private banks in Asia. Julius Baer, LGT, Credit Suisse and Lombard Odier have already moved towards that market through different business models, while other private banks are considering Thailand as part of their expansion plans.
Traditionally, Singapore has been the regional powerhouse for start-ups, owing to its business-friendly climate and impressive global access. However, Thailand is rapidly catching up due to its technology-driven infrastructure and a burgeoning innovation culture.
The global trend towards offshore residence and citizenship is even more intense in Asia due to the phenomenal rise in the number of HNWIs and UHNWIs in the wider Asia Pacific region, which last year set a new record of 6.2 million HNWIs worth $21.6trn, according to Capgemini's World Wealth Report 2018.