Singapore presents a sophisticated private banking, international business and wealth management opportunity. In addition to targeting wealthy Asian entrepreneurs, private bankers in Singapore banks are interested in attracting North American, European and Australian accountholders. There are many advantages to banking in Singapore. Let's explore a few of these advantages:
Advantage 1: Wide Selection- There are many local and foreign banks to choose from and this number is increasing every year. You can select a small local bank or one of the branch offices of the large multinational banks located in Singapore depending on your needs.
Advantage 2: Not under US or EU jurisdiction- If you are looking for world class banking services, delivered over a reliable internet service in English, in a jurisdiction that is not directly under the influence of the United States and the European Union you should investigate Singapore's private banking options and banking and business laws and policies.
Advantage 3: Built on a stable economy- Singapore is a prominent Asian financial center with a highly developed, stable economy. It is the banking center of South East Asia's economy. Singapore's banking and business laws are flexible and it has an independent judiciary and a legal system based on the principles of the British legal system.
Advantage 4: The tax laws are reasonable and fair- For example, interest earned by individuals on bank deposits and income earned from foreign sources are exempt from Singapore taxes. Singapore imposes no capital gains or estate taxes on Singapore based deposits and investments.
Advantage 5: Multi-currency accounts are available- Another advantage is accounts can be maintained in multi-currencies providing a level of protection for those who anticipate the devaluation of the dollar or the euro.
Advantage 6: Privacy is protected- Accounts may be opened in the name of an individual or a corporation, trust or LLC, providing accountholders with an additional layer of privacy and asset protection benefits. Singapore has policies and a strong tradition of protecting accountholders privacy. Although recent Tax Information Exchange Agreements with other governments has somewhat eroded the privacy protections where foreign governments are concerned there are still considerable protections available. For example, before the Singapore government is required under the Tax Information Exchange Agreements to share accountholder information with a foreign government the foreign government must show it has exhausted all domestic avenues to obtain the information and must provide a request that is directly linked to an ongoing investigation. In other words a generic fishing expedition for information would not be possible.
The biggest disadvantage of banking in Singapore is, in most instances, the requirement to be physically present to open an account. Banking regulations do not permit the opening of accounts by mail or electronically, unless the accountholder is already a customer of the bank.
Once in Singapore the process to open an account is not difficult. You will need to provide proof of who you are, for example a passport, proof of where you live, a utility bill for example, proof the funds are coming from a legitimate source and a letter of reference from your current bank stating you are a responsible account holder. The amount of the initial deposit will vary depending on the bank you choose and can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. You will need to check on the initial deposit policies of the specific bank with which you are considering opening an account.