Christophe Audergon of Crossinvest looks at the trends in the increasing connectivity between Switzerland and Asia, including various reasons for the eastward flow of external asset managers (EAMs) and clients.
Date: Apr 2012
It has been trying to focus more on its onshore asset management capabilities, rather than looking – as it has done historically – at offshore clients, he explained.
At Crossinvest, for example, now more than half of its clients are onshore, said Audergon.
At the same time, with Asia developing so quickly, Singapore no longer has the luxury of looking to Switzerland as a benchmark, so must reinvent itself also, he added.
European EAMs in Asia
Until recent years, several European EAMs have wanted to set up businesses in Singapore because their clients were looking for an alternative to Switzerland as a hub in terms of banking secrecy, explained Audergon.
This has changed in recent years, however, with Singapore being white-listed by the OECD, and therefore making such an approach not viable.
At the moment, therefore, European EAMs are now looking to come to Singapore to access Asian clients as well as offer their home-grown clients better coverage of Asian markets, explained Audergon.
He added that some of his clients have also moved to Singapore and obtained permanent residency – simply because individuals today are increasingly more mobile, and can make such a move if it makes sense for them from a fiscal point of view.
For European-based clients who still wrongly believe they can book assets in Asia to avoid paying tax, Audergon said that there is a difference in today’s environment between a serious financial centre and certain offshore jurisdictions.
Ultimately, he added, clients who try to avoid paying tax will be tracked down eventually.