10 февраля 2016 г.


The CFA Association (Russia) looked at Singapore, a hot place today

The CFA Association (Russia) along with experts from the international tax services group Ernst & Young and the Confideri company, a multi-family office headquartered in Singapore, looked at the distinct features of doing business in the "Switzerland of the East", as Singapore is being called these days due to its investment-driven boom.

Together with breakfast, the over forty CFA members invited to the meeting were treated to interesting facts, figures and investment ideas. 56,284 dollars is the per-capita GDP in Singapore, and it is one of the highest in the world. Three Singapore banks – Oversea-Chinese Banking, DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank – are among the top-10 most reliable banks in the world according to Bloomberg Markets magazine. "Singapore clearly doesn't yet have enough banks that are friendly to Russian businesses," said Marat Savelov, managing parter at Confideri Advisory Group, and he went on to alert the participants to the fact that opening an account in local banks there is an exasperating process, and that they must take this into account when planning to launch a business in Singapore.

In spite of some hurdles in opening accounts at local banks (as after opening an account, a client gains access to cheap credit), those who choose Singapore as a gateway to Asia know that this country is rated number one for doing business, especially thanks to its tax benefits in certain sectors, including starting a new business, as well as state support programs for Singapore companies. In 2015 7.5 billion dollars were allocated for supporting small and mid-sized businesses – companies with an annual turnover up to 100 million dollars who have established a presence there can apply for this support. Every company with a Singapore registration can, under these programs, turn to the state for help in finding an investor, markets for their products, customers, programs and tax relief. For example, small and mid-sized businesses have access to a grant for speeding up their international expansion known as the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant, which can compensate for up to 70% of expenses in various branches of activity.

Marat Savelov emphasized how conservative Singapore doesn't have anywhere near enough innovative businesses, and the state is really to stimulate the growth of such companies. Projects with high intellectual property thanks to the conditions in Singapore (English law, an effective judicial system, a very low level of corruption in the country and a high level of legal protection) can find here everything they need for growth and development.

The consultant also offers some specific investment ideas, such as buying an insurance policy that in fact is a financial instrument and works like a bond. The product was created in the 1960s, and today it pays a coupon yield of 2–2.5%. "We're talking about insurance companies with AAA ratings, or AA- at the very least. I'm sure you'll agree that companies with these kind of ratings don't pay as much when it comes to bonds," Savelov added.

Viktor Kalgin talked about the advantages of Singapore taxation and some finer points of, for example, selling a Singapore-registered company and paying state fees. The meeting ended with an announcement about the next gathering of Association members; CFA Association (Russia) executive director Vladimir Tutkevich announced that the reason for the next gathering will be less formal, namely CFA members were invited to a class on making paella and oysters.

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