1/02/2008

Something to crow about.

More Swiss than Switzerland This Place Is More Swiss Than Switzerland By Graham Summers Switzerland's private banking has always been famous for two things: 1. Extreme privacy 2. Avoiding taxes There are no capital gains taxes in Switzerland, unless you're buying real estate. Personal estate taxes are generally 7%. And if you're a foreigner retired in Switzerland, you can even choose a lump-sum tax in which you only pay taxes on an amount equal to five times your annual rent. In other words, you don't have to disclose your net worth or income at all. But all of this is changing... In 2004, Switzerland altered its tax structure to crack down on tax evasion from foreign accounts. For the first time in history, Swiss banking imposed a 15% withholding tax on interest income from deposits. A lot of very wealthy p eople were very, very angry. And funds began to be wired out of Switzerland and halfway across the world to the next private banking hub: Singapore. Singapore now manages $300 billion in private banking assets. Ten years ago, it was only $50 billion. Singapore now accounts for roughly 5% of the world's private banking assets. This doesn't seem like a lot, but consider that Singapore is the 189th smallest country in the world, right after the Federated States of Micronesia. The number of private banks in Singapore more than doubled since 2000. Singapore is now the second largest private banking hub behind Switzerland. Granted, it's a wide margin ¨Switzerland manages $1.7 trillion ¨ but it's shrinking rapidly. Singapore's private banking sector is expected to grow by 25%-30% a year for the next three years. When you consider the benefits, it's not difficult to see why. Individuals worth $13 million can gain immediate p ermanent residence in Singapore, provided they invest $3.1 million in the country ($1.25 million can go toward property). Once you're there, you don't have to pay taxes on income earned abroad. If you're a business owner with operations outside the country, you get the benefits of Singapore's education and healthcare systems ¨ the best in Asia ¨ without paying a dime in taxes. You won't pay taxes on capital gains or dividends either. As you'd expect, the rich are flocking to the country. One of them is investing legend Jim Rogers, who made a fortune managing the Quantum Fund with George Soros before "retiring" in his late 30s. Rogers originally wanted to move to China, but decided the pollution was too awful to put up with. So he relocated to the English-speaking, cleaner, more financially sophisticated Singapore with his family. I have to tell you, I'm starting to be tempted myself. Good trading, Graham

1 comment:

Matilah_Singapura said...

The beginning of the end for Switzerland was when they went more "Western Liberal" and introduced outrageous taxes instead of remaining hard-core, unapologetic capitalists.

At one time--especially during the 70's when the gold standard died (thanks to Dick Nixon), the Swiss were adamant about inflation, and held back any attempt to increase their money supply, thus making their currency the safest and the strongest in the world.

Times have now changed. The central bank is looser in its policies, and money supply has grown. Inflation is an "invisible" tax because it eats away the purchasing power of the individual.

The Swiss govt and state have grown--despite their "constitution" supposedly "protecting" the people from govt interference. Their system of "direct democracy" meant that the govt could not spend ONE FRANC unless the people agreed. Even govt salaries had to be approved by the people.

If the Singapore govt allows itself to grow uncontrolled--and the people do nothing about it--then eventually the same fate awaits Singaporeans. It's only a matter of time.

To many young Singaporeans go overseas to study, take drugs and get influenced by unsustainable totally bullshit Western ideas, compacted to what I call "freedom without responsibility". This is a noticeable social and cultural artifact of "democratic" Western society-- you can do as you please, not give a damn about the consequences because the govt will bail you out.

For e.g.(1) you never have to worry about medical bills under Universal health care, so you can trash your body until it breaks, and the govt will pick up the tab to make sure you get treatment.

e.g. (2) You and your life partner(s) can pump out children even if you can't afford them, because the state will provide everything that is necessary to bring them up. Kids get allowance, education, free dental and medical.. and nowadays even legal protection from the state in case they want to sue their parents.

Western society id definitely in a state of decline,and Singapore will be following suit very shortly.