Singapore: Solution to Rising European Risks?

Recently I went to Singapore to check it out while on contract work for a government in the region at the time. I have to say that apart from that city suffering deficits on quality service at fast food places like Starbucks and having long line-ups for taxis – I almost never line up- it was impressive.

Investors should read on well beyond this or thinking about the local spit laws because changes in European banking laws and FACTA type attitudes among American regulators mean Singapore may provide an interesting alternative for westerners.

Singapore service quality is reminded to me by the fact that the only real five star hotel deserving it that I stayed at in my time in Southeast Asia was the impeccable Singapore Raffles Hotel. It is indeed iconic for Singaporean eye for detail for quality and even higher thinking skills and organizational skills of its employees, as well as time management – one Starbucks franchise excluded that left dirty fly catching plates around ad infinitum.

It is also a very difficult place to get a permit to live there and tne traffic can be monstrous. But it is a place where there is no capital gains tax and extremely business friendly.

Rather, I would recommend places like Thailand to Malaysia as nicer places to live in if you want more greenery, better beaches and more options and lower cost of living. Of course everyone has their one needs and situation.

It is for sure not the most beautiful place given its level of concrete and high rises unless you like that. And in the fall it is monstrous with toxic air generated haze from Indonesia peat and forest fires that is more than irritating.

But it is unlikely you will get caught up with government corruption and it is wise for business people not to get involved in nasty political matters. Singapore is rated lower in political freedom by Transparency International than even some Asian countries, even a non-developing one. So accounts and investment vehicles in Singapore and your house, car and politics elsewhere if you are a liberal minded European?

The regional security situation you may argue has some problems in the region. But Singapore has the largest air force in Southeast Asia and a special relationship with America. Tanks or foreign troops nearby are unlikely to roll in and seize your assets and neither the government which has a strong sense of rule of business law. It does not have the burglary problems of London.

The growing political problems (Russia, Ukraine, right and left wing ‘extreme” populism wing populism) in Europe should make one think about Singapore. But the most important is the bail in provisions that were executed in Cyprus. If you remember the European Central Bank seized depositors money there. It also caused Greek banks to shut.

And finally there is more than talk in Frankfurt to introduce for all euro zone countries serious bail in provisions. Hence why diversifying to places like Singapore have value at least for some. The central bank is less likely there to steal your money.

For Europeans the quality of life in places like Stockholm, to Geneva or Berlin or Vienna may be excellent as seen by rankings in the Mercer Report. However, do you really fully trust the ECB to protect all your money? Time to think about places like Singapore with dependable banking service as many off shores have low taxes but second rate services. Think about it. Oh yes, avoid the Starbucks there.


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