Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Andrew is BRW's Rich lists editor and is responsible for the Rich 200 and Young Rich flagship issues. He also reports on matters relating to wealth and investment for BRW and The Australian Financial Review.

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Tax havens: Brett Blundy latest to join the Singapore set

Published 12 April 2013 11:57, Updated 15 April 2013 08:20

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Tax havens: Brett Blundy latest to join the Singapore set

With friendly tax laws and easy access to Asia’s growth markets, Singapore is becoming a haven for a growing number of Rich List expats. Photo: Fairfax Media

If you were filthy rich, where would you live?

For many of us, glamorous big cities and tropical beaches would be at the top of our wish lists but this is not where many (actual) rich people are choosing to base themselves.

If recent trends are anything to go by, the best place to live if you are rich is Singapore.

Singapore is a small country with a lot to offer the ultra wealthy.

Stable government, a high standard of living and ready access to the Asian growth corridor are among the reasons Singapore has become popular.

But the biggest drawcard is tax – or, more precisely, the lack of it.

Singapore is an undisputed tax haven.

The most tax a Singapore resident can expect to pay is 20 per cent and this is only on personal income of more than $S320,000 ($A245,000).

By comparison, the top marginal tax rate in Australia is 45 per cent on personal income of greater than $180,001.

In reality, wealthy westerners who move to Singapore are likely to pay much less than 20 per cent due to a full tax exemption on income that is generated beyond Singapore’s boundaries.

Capital gains are also tax exempt.

Several Rich listers have residences in tax-friendly countries. Financial services entrepreneur Graham Tuckwell lives in Jersey, television pioneer Reg Grundy in Bermuda and top commodities trader Ivan Glasnberg lives in Switzerland.

While the trend is well-established, the big move to Singapore is much more recent.

Brett Blundy is the latest Rich-lister to make the move to Singapore, following the likes of Joe Gutnick and Nathan Tinkler.Photo: Jim Rice

The latest wealthy Australian to take up residence in Singapore is retailer Brett Blundy. His wealth was estimated at $835 million on last year’s BRW Rich 200. He is one of the biggest owners of bulky goods retail centres in Australia and has stakes in adventure company BridgeClimb as well as women’s retail brands Diva, Lovisa and Bras N Things.

Other Rich 200 members to make the move to Singapore include embattled miner Nathan Tinkler and “Diamond” Joe Gutnick.

Even Gina Rinehart has a couple of houses there.

The most prominent move was made by Facebook co-founder and former US resident Eduardo Saverin. He packed-up his belongings, including a $2.1 billion personal fortune, and moved to Singapore last year.

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