Here’s a lengthy feature from Reuters on  Singapore’s transformation from small trading port and stuffy ‘nanny state’ into  a hip, rich global finance center and tourist destination, aiming to rival European hubs like Monaco and Switzerland.

Singapore already has the world’s highest concentration of millionaires and at 13-15%, the world’s fastest-growing economy. Assets of high net worth individuals (over $1 million in liquid assets) in the Asia-Pacific region reached US$9.7 trillion in 2009, a 31% increase on the previous year. Big international players like Credit Suisse, UBS, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have moved in, growing both their assets and staff numbers. What’s Singapore’s edge? Hong Kong, Asia’s other big financial center, tends to focus on deal-making and investment banking in China, whereas Singapore is looking to asset management and providing a decent lifestyle for its citizens and visitors.

Singapore’s amazing story also has its downsides: the article sees a large poor underclass not benefiting directly from the economic boom, and tensions arising from large numbers of foreign workers arriving in the city-state to take blue collar jobs. But the government, which still has a firm hold on Singapore’s progress and regulation, has increased spending on services and infrastructure to match.

source & article: Reuters via Yahoo!