HNWIs shifting wealth to Singapore amid Hong Kong protests

Pedro Gonçalves
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HNWIs shifting wealth to Singapore amid Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong's high net worth individuals are increasingly looking towards Singapore for insurance options, according to provider Singapore Life.

The insurance technology start-up has registered a 30% rise in the number of HNWIs seeking insurance products with legacy planning options as Hong Kong continues to face protests and political uncertainty.

"Due to the protests, we are seeing strong interests from high net worth individuals who would ordinarily invest into a Hong Kong insurer's product, but are now considering Singapore as an alternative country to invest their wealth," Singapore Life's founder Walter de Oude told SCMP.

The real concern here, which we’ve seen slight signs of, is that people are moving their companies and their money in greater numbers to Singapore"

Businesses in Hong Kong are considering moving out amid political uncertainty and massive protests in the city. "The real concern here, which we've seen slight signs of, is that people are moving their companies and their money in greater numbers to Singapore," Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, told CNBC.

De Oude said life insurance continued to be its biggest business segment. The insurer now has life insurance policies totalling S$7.3bn ($5.38bn) worth of coverage. In January last year the company acquired S$6bn in life coverage when it bought the Singapore life insurance portfolio from the local unit of Zurich Life. The insurance technology firm was licensed as a direct life insurer by the Monetary Authority of Singapore 2017.

 Brock Silvers, managing director of Shanghai-based Kaiyuan Capital, said it was "too soon" to gauge the depth of financial outflows from Hong Kong but agreed that Singapore should be a beneficiary if unrest continued to grip Hong Kong.

"Singapore's economy is free, the rule of law is strong, and it enjoys a high degree of social cohesion. Given its common cultural background, Singapore has a natural attraction for disaffected Hong Kong investors," he said.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to oppose a legal amendment that would allow fugitives to be extradited from the territory to China for trial.

 

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