Assets under management in Singapore totalled S1.4 trillion (US$1.13 trillion) in 2010, up 13% on the previous year and recording a 16% growth average over five years.

The figures, along with new incentives like tax breaks and regulation simplification highlight Singapore’s competition with Hong Kong to be Asia’s major financial center. Hong Kong hasn’t released official asset management totals for 2010 yet, but its 2009 figure was US$1.09 trillion, a 45% growth on 2008. Singapore’s asset management sector grew 40% over the same period.

Reuters reports that of Singapore’s assets under management, 51% were in equities, 16% in fixed income, 12% in cash and money markets, 13% were in ‘alternative investments’ and 8% were in other mutual funds. The industry employed 11,200 people in Singapore, of which 2,700 were investment professionals.

On the same day, HSBC announced it plans to nearly double the pre-tax profit of its Singapore operation to US$1 billion within five years, adding 1,000 to its existing staff of 3,500 there. The move hints at another shift of focus towards Asia as HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, considers selling off its US credit card business.