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SINGAPORE posted the highest gross per capita financial assets in the region last year - beating Japan, Taiwan and India by quite a fair margin.
The sixth edition of Allianz's Global Wealth Report 2015 said Singapore's gross per capita financial assets had risen to around 106,620 euros (S$170,610) by the end of 2014. This amount was over 10 times higher than in China and 100 times higher than in India.
Gross per capita financial assets are an indication of how mature an economy is. The Republic's gross financial assets last year grew 6.4 per cent, slightly slower than in previous years, said the report - adding that the strongest growth came from life and pension assets (9 per cent), while securities in private households' portfolios increased only 1.2 per cent, and bank deposits by 6.1 per cent.
"The need to save for old age is also reflected by the structure of asset portfolios: almost half of all assets are held in life and pension assets; no other Asian country invests more in this asset class. On the other hand, liability growth also slowed down further to 5.4 per cent in 2014. Nonetheless, the debt ratio (liabilities as a percentage of gross domestic product) continued to climb; with 75.5 per cent, it is clearly above the regional as well as the global average."
Hot on the heels of Singapore were Japan and Taiwan, with average assets corresponding to the equivalent of around 95,000 euros and 88,000 euros respectively.
China's per capita financial assets in 2014 came in at 10,205 euros, below the regional average of about 10,600 euros. Thailand, Indonesia and India trailed behind China.
After deductions for liabilities, Japan is the country with the highest net per capita financial assets in Asia, with the equivalent of just under 73,550 euros attributable to each inhabitant in 2014.
Singapore managed to retain its ninth position globally, with net financial assets per capita of 73,330 euros on average, moving up five rungs since 2000.
The strong increase in gross financial assets coupled with weaker credit growth has increased the proportion of people who were considered members of the wealth middle class in 2014 - people with net financial assets of between 6,100 and 36,700 euros, said Allianz, adding that at the end of 2014, one in five people, or 20.4 per cent, fell into this category.
In the region, the net financial assets of 2.4 billion people came in at less than 6,100 euros. This meant that 76.7 per cent of the population had low assets, while 94 million or only 2.9 per cent of the population had net financial assets in excess of 36,700 euros.
The Allianz report, which measured 2014 wealth, found 2014 to be the third consecutive year in which global wealth grew more than 7 per cent, with an estimated 136 trillion euros in personal financial assets.
And for the first time, it calculated each country's wealth Gini coefficient - a measure of inequality in which zero is perfect equality and 100 would mean perfect inequality, or one person owning all the wealth.
Singapore scored 64.8, above both the regional and global averages of 62.7 and 63.8 respectively.
The report, which put the asset and debt situation of private households in more than 50 countries under the microscope, added that distribution structures in Asia were slightly more egalitarian than elsewhere.