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The Super Rich Are Choosing Singapore as the World’s Safest Haven

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When Singaporean car dealer Keith Oh first read the Facebook message, he wasn’t sure it was real. A Chinese client ordered a S$1.1 million ($830,000) Bentley—sight unseen—over the social network.

“They just asked for the price and when we could do the delivery, that’s all,” he said. “It’s a million dollars to us but it’s probably nothing to them.”

The quick sale was the latest sign of a wider trend: Money is sloshing around Singapore like never before. As the coronavirus pandemic hammers Southeast Asia and political turmoil threatens Hong Kong, the city has become a safe harbor for some of the region’s wealthiest tycoons and their families.

For rich people “who can decide where they want to live and settle down, Singapore is a place of choice now,” said Stephan Repkow, who founded Wealth Management Alliance in 2015 after four years at Union Bancaire Privee. He said two of his foreign clients had become residents in the past 12 months and more are on the way.

Singapore has long been a draw for wealthy Chinese, Indonesians and Malaysians who would come for short trips to shop, play baccarat at the casino or get medical check-ups at world-class clinics. Mount Elizabeth Hospital Orchard, just steps from the flagship stores of Gucci and Rolex, features a UOB Privilege Banking Centre in the lobby.

The pandemic has changed all that, prompting many tycoons and their families to stay for months, in some cases seeking residency to ride out the storm. On a per-capita basis, the mortality rates in Malaysia and Indonesia are more than 10 and 30 times higher than in Singapore, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

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Marina Bay in Singapore, on Jan. 28, 2021. Photographer: Lauryn Ishak/Bloomberg

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-05-26/singapore-during-covid-is-city-of-choice-for-billionaires-and-their-families

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