An excellent and honest write-up of Singapore’s financial charms in The Economist this week, describing how the city-state went from being a relative backwater just a few decades ago (when Citi could fit all 100 staff on the same boat) to today’s global financial center.

The article describes how Singapore benefited first from foreign currency trading, then from the offshore asset management boom and the Hong Kong handover. Its bankers now have over US$1 trillion in total assets under management. The government has set up structures for trust accounts, reduced bureaucracy and taxes, and streamlined visas for foreign talent. The internet is fast, the streets are clean and processes function efficiently.

Downsides have included a stock market that sometimes struggles to compete with Hong Kong’s for access to China, corporate scandals, and recent aggressive actions by affluent western countries to clamp down on offshore accounts. But the conclusion is that the financial environment couldn’t be better for Singapore at the moment, and other jurisdictions would need to provide a similarly business-friendly setting to compete.

source & article: The Economist