Strict COVID-19 Rules

Affluent Families Mulls Leaving Singapore, Hong Kong Due To Strict COVID-19 Rules

ASIA – A new study by private banking firm Lombard Odier shows that a significant number of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are considering relocating their families from 2 major financial hubs in Asia because of their stringent COVID-19 rules, reported Euromoney on Wednesday evening (27 October, SGT).

According to the annual survey of 620 HNWIs in the region, a few wealthy families have already relocated since the start of the virus outbreak.

However, many more are mulling to move along with their families, with 29 percent of wealthy investors based in Hong Kong looking to do so. In the Philippines, 32 percent of HNWIs are considering to relocate, likewise for 34 percent of wealth investors in Thailand and 41 percent of those surveyed in Singapore.

The findings of the latest research are alarming as it could substantially affect private banking companies that are operating in the aforementioned markets, said Lombard Odier.

“The main question this raises is the following: as a bank, how will you retain a client if he or she relocates to another country, market or jurisdiction?” queried the private banking firm’s report entitled “The certainty deficit”.

“Will you be able to retain this client? What if a third of a bank’s client base relocated? This would imply a significant impact on business.”

The idea of relocating their families is part of a wider trend for HNWI families to consider other important things apart from immediate investment prospects during the COVID era. And this high level of restlessness among wealthy investors likely arose from being restricted by pandemic-related rules.

Across 8 surveyed markets in Asia, 60 percent of the respondents said the virus outbreak had prompted them to rethink some family-related matters, like location and succession.

“What’s coming out of this study is that it is a time to reflect,” explained Vincent Magnenat, limited partner and chief executive officer for Asia at Lombard Odier.

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