Singapore IFC the Offshore Banking Giant

by Aaron A Day on March 2, 2013

When you think of Singapore do you think of a treacherous, disease-infested seaport where the downtrodden live in the streets and you can buy anything for the right price? Or do you think of a wealthy island nation with safe, clean streets and a prosperous and busy economy? About a century ago, Singapore was a dirty, back-water island where cutthroats waited around every corner and brawls were common in the seedy bars and flophouses. Now, though, modern Singapore boasts a country full of multinational businesses, gleaming skyscrapers and one of the busiest seaports in the world. It is also a global offshore banking giant with one of the most solvent and secure banking and international financial centers (IFC) in the world.

Since it became an independent nation in the 1960’s, the Republic of Singapore as become the world’s fourth leading financial center, exponentially increasing it’s wealth through an economy heavily dependent on exports and refined imported products. It has never had a bank failure in it’s history as an independent nation and, in fact, manages around 5% of global private wealth. While still lagging behind Switzerland in wealth management capacity, it has emerged as one of the primary choices for corporate and private offshore investors.

English is the main language in the business world in Singapore, a major advantage when it comes to making banking easy for foreign bankers already well-versed in the language. Banks in Singapore offer a wide variety of investment opportunities and products: savings accounts, multiple currency accounts, hedge funds, etc. All major banks also have phone and internet banking as well as offer credit card lines and wire transfers. Long-term residency is possible for those looking to expatriate and it is even possible to qualify for permanent residency in as little as a two year timeframe. With the right education and skills an expatriate won’t have any problem finding employment in a rewarding and well-compensated business culture.

Singapore has developed one of the highest standards of living worldwide and it shows: if you’re looking for a budget retirement or cheap destination look elsewhere. There is no available retirement visa but there is a renewable Long-term visitor pass good, initially, for up to 5 years. You must be at least 45 years old, own residential property in Singapore worth at least $500,000 and meet a few other financial requirements. You can also apply for permanent residence through the Global Investor Program to gain permanent residency. Failing to meet those criteria it is possible to live there legally if you find employment and apply for and gain an employment pass.

Singapore is one of the easiest countries in the world to do business. A robust and thriving economy, well-established and transparent laws, a well-developed infrastructure, low levels of corruption and crime and an inviting tropical climate are all keen targets for offshore opportunity. If you’re wealthy enough or if you have the skills and education the business sector needs, Singapore may be the offshore opportunity you are looking for.

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