BLOGS & OPINION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Pan Zaixian

by Mr. Pan Zaixian, Associate Director (Financial Services & Legal division), Robert Walters


In the earlier years, other than the Southeast Asia region, Singapore has benefited from the flight of wealth away from North Asia.

Hong Kong, by far the region’s largest capital market and a thriving entrepreneurial culture, has always been well poised for the wealth management industry, especially at the mass affluent priority banking level banking onshore on the island and a large ultra high net worth segment banking offshore. (i.e. in Singapore or Zurich)

The Special Administrative Region also enjoys the natural advantage of having a direct benefit from the continued prosperity of China, with its proximity to business owners and those with strong business network and connections in China. It also has the world’s most watched equity market which now hosts some of the world’s largest public offerings.

The current observed trends in Hong Kong’s favour as a private banking site over Singapore are:

  • The lack of new upcoming private bankers in Singapore covering North Asia.
  • An eagerness by international financial institutions to please Beijing i.e. by situating global desks directly in Hong Kong. The support shown by the global community for the World Expo in China is a testament to the rush to support the Chinese market.
  • To China’s credit, with 13 years down the road since Hong Kong was handed over, Hong Kongers are getting increasingly comfortable with the business-as-usual manner accorded by the Chinese government, which in turn breeds confidence in them having their wealth managed onshore.

As a result, we have seen some global private banks sending their senior managers into Hong Kong with a broader remit to look after Asia Pacific. In previous years, such positions are more likely to be situated in Singapore.

However, the discreet nature of private wealth management has always been about banking offshore ‘away from prying eyes’. With a tax and banking friendly regulatory climate, we foresee that Singapore will continue to remain a key global private banking hub as it stands to benefit from the growing wealth not just in North Asia but in South Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East.

Robert Walters – Private Banking Team
Mr. Pan Zaixian
Associate Director (Financial Services & Legal division)

Ms. Tanya Sinha
Consultant (Financial Services division)

Mr. Avinash Chugani
Consultant (Financial Service division)

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Pan Zaixian

Pan Zaixian

Mr. Pan Zaixian is  currently the General Manager of Kerry Consulting. He also became an Associate Director (Financial Services & Legal Division) at Robert Walters. 

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