Having taken over the mantle of the world’s fastest growing wealth management magnet from Switzerland, Singapore should now take centre stage in bringing the industry out of the shadows, according to an Asian private banking expert.
Philip Marcovici, who has advised governments such as Liechtenstein on addressing the crackdown on tax evasion, spoke to swissinfo.ch after recent revelations from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The ICIJ has accused Swiss banks of helping relatives of Chinese leaders set up opaque financial structures in far flung tax havens.
The ICIJ claims, using data obtained from entities based in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands, do not prove criminal activities. But the findings cannot fail to cast doubt on the industry after high profile clients were investigated and prosecuted following similar revelations last year from the Washington-based media organisation.
“Singapore has already taken its first steps towards tax transparency, but it needs to do more,” Marcovici told swissinfo.ch. “Singapore now has the responsibility, given its growing dominance in wealth management, to provide the kind of leadership in this area that Switzerland failed to show us.”
But Singapore cannot do the job alone, he added. “There needs to be a lot more global dialogue and leadership because there is a legitimate role for offshore facilities, providing that people play by the rules.”