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Daily Dispatches – Singapore edges out Hong Kong on taxes


Singapore’s tax regime is making it more attractive than Hong Kong for companies and individuals, according to tax experts in the Lion City.

The Singapore corporate tax rate  in 2013 of 17% is slightly higher than the flat rate of 16.5% in Hong Kong, but start-ups in the former are exempt from tax for the first S$100,000 of profits in the first three years of incorporation. Established companies can also apply for a partial exemption.

Personal income tax rules in Singapore allow for rebates for certain categories of citizens, while the 70 double taxation agreements with other countries (compared to Hong Kong’s 37) make it more attractive for expat workers.

New Zealand stock exchange hiring

The exchange plans to hire five people in Auckland next year as trading volumes increase and capital raising activities surge.

Bloomberg reports that the operator of the nation’s equity market will have 20 staff in Auckland by the end of 2014 from 15 at present.

New insurance IPO on ASX

Cover-More Group, a travel insurer and medical assistance company, wants to raise up to A$521.2 million (US$475 million) in an initial public offering. This will be the sixth non-life insurance associated firm to list on the Australian Securities Exchange if approvals are given, says Asian Insurance Review.

Goldman Sachs to advise on $4.5 billion Wing Hang sale

Reuters reports that Goldman Sachs has been hired by the biggest shareholder of Wing Hang Bank Ltd to advise on the sale of the Hong Kong family-run bank which has a market value of $4.5 billion.

Chairman Patrick Fung’s family, a family-linked affiliate and Bank of New York Mellon Corp own a combined 45% of the Hong Kong-listed bank.

New non-banking contender for China’s financial services sector

SouFun Holdings, a real estate Internet portal in China, has unveiled its new financial services platform, which will be active from 16 December, according to a press release.

SouFun has launched the business in response to calls from  it client base for dedicated financial products and services including home mortgage, home insurance, and various lending products.

Sumitomo Life buys 40% of PT Bank Negara’s life insurance business

The Japanese bank paid $351.1 million for the shareholding in the Indonesia company, says Asian Legal Business.The deal signals Japan’s appetite for growth businesses outside its borders due to the declining opportunities posed by the ageing population in Japan.

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