US banking giant JPMorgan targets Asia’s billionaires with Singapore trust company

SINGAPORE – American multinational investment bank and financial services holding company JPMorgan Chase & Co. has set up a trust company in Singapore.

The trust company is JP Morgan’s first in Asia, and it is going to cater for a growing cadre of ultra-wealthy individuals in the region.

The move by the U.S. banking giant, comes amid a boom in family offices, or private investment vehicles, in Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Many of our Asian clients will likely migrate their trusts from the Bahamas to Asia,” Kam Shing Kwang, CEO at JPMorgan’s private bank in Asia, told a news conference on Thursday.

She also revealed that several of JPMorgan’s European clients were also keen to book their trusts in Singapore.

The Asia Pacific region had 814 billionaires at end-2017, accounting for 38% of the global billionaire population, with China minting two new billionaires every week, a report by UBS (UBSG.S) and PwC found last year.

“We will be in a better position to support clients who have complex wealth planning needs and serve a wider range of clients in one of the fastest, wealth-generating hubs in the world,” said Kwang.

Demand for trust companies is on the rise in Singapore, one of the world’s leading financial and legal centers, as newly wealthy families in Asia seek legal structures to park their assets and begin succession planning.

The Singapore trust company is coming into operations three years after the financial institution established its Asian booking Centre there.

“It’s a lot easier for us to find the right type of trust officers and people who understand the business in Singapore,” said Kwang.

The trust company in Singapore is not JPMorgan’s first as it already has a Delaware trust company for U.S.-based clients and one in the Bahamas

Singapore is home to a number of trusts set up by private banks and corporates, among others.

This has been made possible due to the country’s an advanced legal framework which provides a supporting base for the development of trust companies.

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