Singapore

Family offices have continued to thrive under Singapore-based managers and the country has emerged as one of the most popular destinations to establish a family office in Asia. With the help of its clear and non-conflicting regulatory and legal framework, as well as its reputable judiciary system, the number of single-family offices in 2023 jumped over 1,100, a staggering increase.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Evaluation categories

  • Tax regulations & incentives
  • Legal & regulatory structures
  • Economy & political climate
  • Services & talent access
  • Culture & lifestyle considerations
  • Resources

    Key numbers

    FAQ

    +1,100

    family offices

    17%

    Corporate Income Tax Rate

    1st

    Henley Passport Index 2023 Rankings
    Updated on May 27, 2024

    Introduction

    The crossroads of tradition and innovation

     

    Singapore is one of the most popular destinations in Asia for establishing a family office. The influx of family offices to the country is due to the rise of wealthy entrepreneurial families in surrounding Asian countries. Also, Singapore is seen as a safe hub for more established family offices in the US and Europe to position themselves in increasingly geopolitical challenges. 

     

    The coastal country offers the perfect ecosystem for investment firms, especially those interested in venture capital. Apart from this, there are many reasons why Singapore can be a great place to start a family office.

    Notable: A commitment to family offices

    In 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) established a Family Office Development Team (FODT) to enhance Singapore’s competitiveness as a global wealth management and family office hub in Southeast Asia.

    People to know

    martin stadler
    Partner & Strategic Advisor
    Martin Stadler

    Switzerland

    These are experts from our network who deeply understand specific topics or subject matter, but can also help navigate the local ecosystem with network, connections, insights, services, and more.

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    Evaluation categories

    1. Tax regulations and incentives

    One of Singapore’s competitive advantages is its simple tax framework. Singapore has a single-tier tax system where tax is only paid by a company on its income and all dividends are exempt from further taxation. To attract more investments into the country, the Singaporean government proactively incentivises family offices to invest in the region.

    Singapore has low personal and corporate tax rates, no capital gains taxes, and no estate duties. The corporate tax rate is capped at 17%, and there are numerous tax incentives for investment funds and family offices that significantly reduce the effective tax rate.

    These provisions are designed to attract and encourage family offices to establish and operate in Singapore by offering them favourable tax treatment on their investment activities, thereby promoting Singapore as a favourable destination for wealth management and investment activities.

    The Section 13Q incentive exempts specified income derived from designated investments by qualifying family-owned investment holding companies from Singapore tax, provided the investments are managed by a Singapore-based fund manager. It’s aimed at family offices directly managing their funds from Singapore.

    Section 13U offers tax exemption on specific types of income derived from qualifying investments. It covers various types of income such as dividends, interest, and gains from financial instruments. Essentially, if a family office earns income from these designated investments, they don’t have to pay taxes on that income.

    Singapore offers a GST remission scheme for family offices that invest in overseas markets. The scheme is designed to reduce the GST payable on expenses related to managing your offshore investments. That makes it more cost-effective for family offices to operate from Singapore.

    Singapore understands the significance of contributing to local charities and making a positive impact on a global scale. The Philanthropy Tax Incentive Scheme took effect on January 1, 2024, to encourage family offices operating in Singapore to donate overseas. The scheme enables eligible donors to claim a 100% tax deduction, limited to 40% of the donor’s statutory income, for overseas donations made through qualifying local intermediaries.

    2. Legal and regulatory structures

    Singapore has established a legal and regulatory framework that is beneficial for family offices, providing a safe and conducive environment for wealth management and investment activities. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has created a favorable framework for family offices that includes tax exemptions, as well as licensing and supervision of financial institutions within the city-state.

    Family offices in Singapore generally fall into two categories: Single Family Offices (SFOs) and Multi-Family Offices (MFOs). While SFOs, managing a single family’s wealth, typically do not require a license to operate, MFOs, serving multiple families, may need to be licensed under the Financial Advisers Act or the Securities and Futures Act, depending on their activities. The MAS oversees this licensing process, ensuring that family offices meet strict criteria for operational conduct, including adherence to anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulations.

    The MAS has also put in place exemptions and incentives tailored to family offices. Notably, family offices that exclusively manage funds for related parties do not need a fund management license, providing they meet certain conditions. Furthermore, the MAS offers tax incentives under schemes like the Enhanced-Tier Fund Scheme (Section 13O and Section 13U), which provide tax exemptions on specified incomes for qualifying family offices, enhancing Singapore’s attractiveness as a wealth management hub.

    Singapore is known for its dynamic regulatory landscape, with the MAS frequently updating its policies to reflect the evolving needs of the financial sector. This includes embracing technological advancements, improving transparency, and strengthening the ecosystem for family offices. Regulatory guidelines are also in place to encourage responsible investment practices and sustainability, aligning with global trends towards ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing.

    The regulatory framework in Singapore offers a balanced approach, ensuring a high level of oversight and compliance while promoting a favorable environment for family offices. Through clear regulations, tailored exemptions, and continuous innovation, Singapore reinforces its position as a leading international finance and wealth management center, attractive to family offices worldwide.

    3. Economic and political climate

    Amidst global economic headwinds, Singapore remains one of the world’s strongest economies. Anchored in political stability, low corruption rates and transparent public institutions, we are a trusted partner for businesses. Sound monetary and fiscal policies, together with a robust judicial system, underpin our low-risk economy.

    Singapore’s economy is characterized by its openness, diversification, and innovation-driven growth. As a global trade hub, it boasts one of the world’s busiest ports, facilitating international trade and investment flows. The government’s proactive approach to economic development includes significant investment in technology, education, and infrastructure, fostering a conducive environment for business and innovation. Despite global economic uncertainties, Singapore has maintained stable growth, underpinned by strong financial services, manufacturing, and a burgeoning technology sector.

    Political stability is one of Singapore’s hallmark features, supported by the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has governed since independence in 1965. The political landscape is characterized by predictability, with policies focused on long-term economic planning and social harmony. The government’s efficiency and transparency in decision-making have earned Singapore a reputation for integrity and reliability, crucial factors for family offices considering the jurisdiction for their wealth management needs.

    Singapore is renowned for its business-friendly environment, consistently ranking at the top of global indices for ease of doing business. The government offers various incentives for investment and entrepreneurship, including tax advantages, grants, and a supportive ecosystem for startups and international companies. This, coupled with a skilled workforce and strategic location, makes Singapore an attractive destination for business expansion and investment.

    The economic and political climate in Singapore offers a stable, secure, and growth-oriented environment for family offices. The combination of economic resilience, political stability, and a business-friendly ecosystem positions Singapore as a preferred jurisdiction for managing and growing wealth, providing a safe haven amidst global uncertainties.

    Singapore’s international reputation as a leading financial hub is built upon a foundation of political stability, economic prowess, and a visionary approach to global business practices. This city-state stands as a testament to successful governance and strategic economic planning, making it an attractive destination for family offices from around the world.

    Singapore is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s premier financial centres. Its strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia, coupled with a sophisticated banking and financial services ecosystem, makes it a pivotal gateway for investments into Asia and beyond. The city-state ranks highly on global indices for competitiveness, ease of doing business, and innovation, attracting a plethora of international businesses and financial institutions.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is revered for its forward-thinking regulatory approach, which balances stringent oversight with the promotion of financial innovation. Singapore’s regulatory framework is designed to support the growth of the financial sector while ensuring the highest standards of compliance and integrity, fostering trust among international investors and family offices.

    Singapore’s commitment to sustainability and innovation further elevates its international reputation. The city-state is at the forefront of green finance and sustainable investing, aligning with the global shift towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles. Its embrace of technological advancements and digital finance also positions Singapore as a leader in fintech, enhancing its appeal to modern, forward-looking family offices.

    Singapore’s international reputation is a composite of its financial acumen, political and economic stability, regulatory excellence, and commitment to sustainability and innovation. For family offices, Singapore represents not just a safe harbour for wealth management but also a dynamic platform for growth and global engagement.

    4. Services & talent access

    Singapore's immigration policies are attractive for professionals and investors associated with family offices. The Employment Pass (EP) allows foreign professionals to work in Singapore, the Global Investor Programme (GIP) provides a pathway to Permanent Residency (PR) for investors, and family members of EP holders can apply for a Dependant's Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass. These policies make Singapore a highly desirable location for family offices looking to establish or expand their operations.

    For professionals working in family offices, Singapore offers the Employment Pass (EP), a work visa for foreign professionals, managers, and executives planning to work in Singapore. Applicants must have a job offer in Singapore, work in a managerial, executive or specialized job, and command a minimum salary that reflects their skills and experience. The EP is crucial for family offices looking to hire foreign talent.

    The Global Investor Programme (GIP) is specifically designed for investors and business owners interested in making substantial financial investments in Singapore. This program allows individuals to apply for permanent residency (PR) in Singapore, provided they meet certain investment criteria, which starts at a SGD 2.5 million investment, can have turnover requirements and has a minimum 5-year commitment.

    Family members of EP holders can apply for a Dependant’s Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass, allowing them to join the principal in Singapore. This is particularly relevant for family offices, as it ensures that family members can live together in Singapore, facilitating a smoother relocation process for family offices establishing operations in the city-state.

    Singapore’s immigration rules offer various pathways for professionals and investors associated with family offices to work, live, and integrate into the Singaporean ecosystem. Understanding these rules is paramount for family offices planning to set up or expand their operations in Singapore, ensuring compliance and facilitating a smooth transition for all involved.

    5. Culture & lifestyle considerations

    Singapore's allure for family offices extends beyond its financial and regulatory benefits. The city-state is a highly desirable destination because of its high living standards, multicultural society, safety, and world-class amenities. It's well known for its world-class healthcare and education systems and offers excellent housing and recreational activities. Singapore's Green Plan also promotes sustainable urban living practices, making it an environmentally friendly and livable city. Here's an overview of Singapore's culture and living standards. [+]

    Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, primarily Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western influences, reflected in its festivals, food, and everyday life. This multicultural environment fosters a sense of inclusivity and respect among residents and expatriates alike, making it easy for newcomers to integrate into the community. The country celebrates a wide array of festivals, including Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, and Christmas, showcasing its rich cultural tapestry.

    Singapore consistently ranks high in global indexes for living standards, offering excellent healthcare, education, and housing. Its healthcare system is world-renowned, providing high-quality medical services and facilities. The education system is equally commendable, with international schools offering various curricula to cater to the expatriate community, alongside top-ranked universities and educational institutions.

    One of Singapore’s most notable features is its safety, with low crime rates and strict laws that ensure public order and cleanliness. The city-state is also known for its green spaces, cleanliness, and sustainable urban living practices, contributing to a high quality of life.

    Singapore boasts world-class amenities, including luxury shopping malls, fine dining, vibrant nightlife, and recreational activities. The country is a hub for arts and culture, offering museums, galleries, and theatres. Additionally, its strategic location makes it a gateway to exploring Southeast Asia, with numerous travel opportunities.

    Singapore’s culture and living standards make it an attractive destination for family offices and wealth owners. The combination of a multicultural society, high living standards, safety, and world-class amenities creates an environment where families can thrive while pursuing their financial and personal goals.

    Service Providers

    canopy, family office software, portfolio management software, consolidated reporting software

    Canopy Canopy

    United States of America
    Consolidated Reporting

    Canopy, is a private & anonymous wealth account aggregation, portfolio analytics and client reporting platform for High Net-Worth Individuals and their Wealth Managers.

    ledger

    Ledger

    Paris
    Custody Provider

    Fireblocks is an all-in-one platform that helps its customers build their digital asset business. They operate as an infrastructure service provider for digital asset custody, transfer and settlement.

    Pictet, Swiss family office private bank

    Pictet

    Switzerland
    Private Bank

    Pictet is a Swiss multinational private bank and financial services company founded in Switzerland. Headquartered in Geneva, it is one of the largest Swiss banks and primarily offers services in wealth management, asset management and asset servicing, to private clients and institutions.

    Family Offices

    Golden Equator Wealth

    Golden Equator Wealth is a Singapore-based multi-family office specialising in private wealth management and succession planning.

    Maitri Asset Management

    Maitri Asset Management, a Singapore-based multi-family office, began as Tolaram's family office in 2015, evolving into a licensed fund manager specialising in active, responsible investment.

    Prime Asia

    Prime Asia Asset Management is a Singapore-based company offering fund management and multi-family office services.

    Key numbers

    At a glance

    Evaluate key statistics to compare Singapore with other regions

    Comparison Singapore

    Corporate Income Tax Rate

    17%

    Henley Passport Index 2023 Rankings

    1

    Family offices

    1100

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    FAQ

    Q

    What is MAS?

    A
    The MAS in Singapore stands for the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which is both a central bank and financial regulatory authority that oversees financial regulation, currency issuance, financial development, and monetary policy.
    Q

    What’s required to set up a family office in Singapore?

    A
    As of July 2023, family offices will need to employ at least one individual who isn’t a family member as a family office professional at the time of application and throughout the incentive period. S13O fund vehicles must have a minimum AUM of S$20 million in designated investments, and S13U fund vehicles must have a minimum of S$50 million in designated investments at the time of application. Further, fund vehicles need to invest 10% of their AUM or S$10 million into one of four investment categories - including Companies listed on exchanges licensed by MAS, Qualifying Debt Securities listed on the Qualifying Debt Securities Enquiry System, Funds distributed by locally licensed managers listed on MAS’ Financial Institutions Directory, and Private equity injection into non-listed, Singapore-based businesses.
    Q

    What are some prominent family office industry events and conferences in Singapore?

    A
    Singapore hosts several prominent family office events, including the Asia Single Family Office Roundtable and FBN Asia’s Family Office Impact: Ownership, Succession and Purpose conference.

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