The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Private banking: Singapore not yet stainless

The Asian state’s leaders should be wary of the impact of international scrutiny on its private banking industry.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November, Euromoney put a question to host nation Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who had spent part of his morning in talks with US president Barack Obama. The Obama administration, we said, was getting tough on private-banking centres over client confidentiality and bank secrecy, most obviously Switzerland. Is that scrutiny coming to Singapore too, and what’s the impact on the country’s private-banking industry – a mainstay of its financial services success story – if it does?

Lee told us it had not featured in discussions with Obama. He underlined Singapore’s "high standards of probity and integrity", and revealed that Singapore had now signed sufficient double-taxation agreements with other jurisdictions to join the white list the OECD keeps of countries that show an acceptable degree of international cooperation on tax matters. "I do not think it is a burning issue for us," he said.

We’re not so sure about that. It’s true that the deal signed with France to share tax information, the 12th such link, does take Singapore off an unappealing-sounding grey list held by the OECD (although notably the US is not among the countries with which it has signed agreements).

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree