S'pore fund management assets grew 24 % in 2006
Assets under management came to nearly US$600b, driven by inflows from Asia and Mideast.
SINGAPORE, July 4 (Reuters) - Assets managed by fund managers in Singapore grew 24 percent to almost US$600 billion in 2006, driven by inflows from Asia and the Middle East, a Singapore cabinet minister said on Wednesday.
"Total assets under management have grown robustly over the last six years," said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong in a speech today.
"The assets managed by Singapore-based fund managers grew by 24 percent to almost US$600 billion in 2006."
Mr Goh, who is also chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore -- the city-state's central bank -- also said funds from the Middle East and South Asia grew by 21 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.
He said 57 percent of the total assets managed in Singapore were invested in Asia last year.
Singapore has attracted global asset managers, private banks and hedge funds to boost its fast-growing financial services industry as it tries to reduce the economy's reliance on manufacturing.
In recent years, several international banks such as UBS , Credit Suisse and Societe Generale have set up their regional private banking offices in Singapore.
Citigroup earlier this year appointed Deepak Sharma to run its global wealth management business outside the United States from Singapore, making him the bank's only international business head not to be based in New York.
Millionaires in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, enriched by a doubling of crude oil prices in four years, are placing more funds in Singapore as the city-state cut taxes and offered incentives to investors to compete against Hong Kong and other Asian financial centers.
"Singapore, in the recent two years, is increasingly considered to be a more attractive place as a fund management base," Mr Chua Soon Hock, managing director of Asia Genesis Asset Management in Singapore, which manages about $450 million, told Bloomberg. "Singapore is still behind Hong Kong and Sydney. However, the gap is narrowing on the hedge funds side of the business."
The 190 hedge funds in Singapore managed more than S$40 billion of assets, a 150 percent increase from a year earlier, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in an e-mailed statement today.
Of the total funds managed in Singapore, 43 percent came from the Asia Pacific region, while about 35 percent were from the U.S. and Europe, the central bank said. About 55 percent of the funds were invested in stocks last year, from 47 percent a year earlier, it added.
Last year, Singapore had the biggest growth in the number of millionaires, where individuals with net assets of at least US$1 million, excluding their main residence and consumer goods, rose 21 per cent, a global survey by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch & Co. showed last week. - Reuters.
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