Original article published in January 2019, last updated in March 2021
Dyson moving its headquarters to Singapore? By now, I’m sure everyone has heard of the brand Dyson. From pricey bladeless fans, fancy hairdryers, powerful vacuum cleaners to hand dryers in local shopping malls, you must have come across one of these before. (Even if just to test it out for a moment.) Some people think their products are too expensive while others swear upon them and refuse to use any other.
Well, either way, Dyson has certainly made a name for themselves worldwide. And soon, they will make a home in Singapore. Why does any of this matter to you?
More family offices are calling Singapore home
In addition to Dyson moving his headquarters to Singapore, he has also incorporated his family office, Weybourne Group, in Singapore and is hiring staff since 2019.
For those who aren’t sure what a family office is, this is the definition of it according to Investopedia:
“Family offices are private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) investors. They are different from traditional wealth management shops in that they offer a total outsourced solution to managing the financial and investment side of an affluent individual or family.”
Google’s Sergey Brin
The latest to hit our shores is Google’s co-founder, Sergey’s Bayshore Global Asset Management. His family office set up a branch in Singapore in February of 2021. Sergey Brin is the world’s eighth richest person with a net worth in excess of S$118 billion.
According to an article published by Bloomberg, one possible motivation for Dyson moving its headquarters to Singapore could be due to Brexit.
In the light of growing political and economic uncertainty brought on by the protracted exit of the UK from the European Union. Coupled with the trade war between China and the US, Singapore shines as a politically stable safe haven that is a highly conducive place to do business.
Worth upwards of S$20 billion, the founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, was reported to have started his family office in Singapore in late 2020.
One of the billionaires behind Haidilao, the world’s largest chain of hotpot restaurants, started Sunrise Capital Management in 2019.
A co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo is an early mover to Singapore, having been here since 2009. He is now a citizen. In 2019, a trust linked to him was reported to have purchased a GCB on Nassim Road for S$230 million!
A legendary investor and hedge fund manager, retired to Singapore from America in 2007.
In the article, it was reported that Monetary Authority Singapore’s (MAS) data revealed that the number of family offices set up in Singapore quadrupled between 2016 and 2018.
High standard of living, various international tax treaties and strict privacy rules were shared as qualities that made Singapore attractive.
Singapore is certainly a hot favourite for global brands. A KPMG survey illustrated Singapore is the preferred pick for MNCs to set up their regional office and cited tax loss relief as the main draw to Singapore.
Singapore’s corporate tax is also relatively low compared to other countries and setting up a business is a fuss-free process.
Since 2004 when the government started courting the ultra-rich through the Global Investor Programme, the programme has been updated in March of 2020 to grant permanent residency (PR) status to next-generation business owners and founders of fast-growing companies who are eligible. This includes family offices.
Qualification criteria are steep. Founders must be one of the largest shareholders in the start-up. And the company must be worth at least S$500 million. As for family offices, they must have a net investible asset in excess of S$200 million.
So what if all these ultra-rich are moving to Singapore?
Let us first examine another news before we break it down a little bit.
Dyson’s Singapore Residential Properties add up to about $119 million
Dyson has snapped up Singapore’s priciest penthouse at Wallich Residence, an exclusive collection of 181 homes that make up the tallest luxury apartments in Singapore, for a cool $73.8 million. It is considered a super penthouse, which is defined like this:
Super penthouses, as defined by luxury brokerages, are penthouses which are 10,000 sq ft or larger – about 10 times an average four-room HDB flat. And are located in “supertall” buildings which are 1,000 to 1,900 ft in height, found in major global cities, tend to fetch more attention and set record prices due to spectacular views offered. (Source)
The penthouse offers stunning views of Singapore’s harbour and the financial district and it comes with its own swimming pool, jacuzzi room and bar facilities.
October 2020 update: Dyson just sold off his super penthouse for a loss of $11.8m. Why?!
Speculations are rife that he might have found the mixed-use Wallich Residence not offering the privacy and exclusivity that a Good Class Bungalow can provide.
Incidentally, he brought his second GCB in July of 2019. It is a newly built bungalow located in the highly prestigious enclave of Nassim Road. This comes just six months after his purchase of the penthouse.
His other property is a Good Class Bungalow, the pinnacle of all the different classes of residential properties in Singapore. Located on Cluny Road, a short distance from Singapore’s Botanical Gardens, which he reportedly purchased for $45 million.
Apart from the fact that Dyson is clearly rich beyond the comprehension of us average Singaporeans, what can be gathered from this?
Implications: Singapore as a Thriving Hub
#1 Singapore’s Position as the Centre of Asia
If you’re Singaporean or went through the Singaporean education system, you might remember being told that Singapore was a flourishing port due to her strategic position in Southeast Asia.
Or perhaps in the newer age, we’re fed stories of how our founding fathers have built Singapore up from the fishing village it was back then to the modern city it is today.
Singapore has become a success story in which other countries look upon in envy and many from neighbouring countries come to Singapore to pursue a better life.
Sometimes, as Singaporeans or long-time residents of Singapore, we get caught up in our daily lives. We only care about the rising cost of living in Singapore, where the latest bubble tea or restaurant is opening or how the latest news will affect us immediately.
Events like Dyson setting up base in Singapore and investing significant sums into business and property here can remind us of how attractive Singapore is to live, work and play.
At the time of writing, the global economy is facing threats and recession is a topic that is on most people’s minds now. Yet news like these reminds us that amidst uncertainty and chaos, Singapore stands out as being a safe haven for business and investment.
Having Dyson his base of operation and home in Singapore seems to be a vote of confidence in that direction.
#2 The Potential of Singapore’s Property Market
Singapore is now ranked number one for real estate investment prospects in terms of price increases in 2020, that is a 20 spot jump as compared to its 2017 ranking. This annual series of trends and forecast publications that reflect the views of leading real estate executives in three global regions—Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific, is undertaken jointly by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which released its report on 12 November 2019. Over the past few quarters, private property prices have rebounded in Singapore, signalling resilience in the residential market, while the office sector has largely absorbed the oversupply.
With regards to Dyson’s penthouse purchase, this was shared in a Channel News Asia article:
“From the onset, the buyer was always going to be a foreigner,” said Mr Leong Boon Hoe of List Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the agencies marketing the penthouse.
“It’s a place to be able to showcase your wealth.” (Source)
Singapore’s attributes, as outlined earlier, serves to attract the ultra-wealthy to Singapore. To protect their wealth, they often invest in prime properties in Singapore and these function as the trophy homes and also a store of wealth.
Singaporeans are no slouches either and with years of economic expansion and stable governance, Singapore is the 2nd wealthiest country in the world (Source).
Many Singaporeans are building a stake in the country’s future by investing in real estate. Singaporeans are well acquainted with the benefits of investing in real estate. They have experienced the boom in asset prices during the 80s, 90s and the early 21st century when the population and economy were growing and understand how to grow their wealth through real estate.
Land is scarce in Singapore. Development and land use are planned carefully by the government and nothing is left to chance. Singapore’s population growth is stable and guided by the government, as the population grows, the demand for real estate will grow commensurately.
Thus, as the government is the largest landowner in Singapore, they have a deeply vested interest in keeping real estate values appreciating sustainably.
Moreover, the numerous cooling measures introduced since 2009 has been effective in creating a stable and sustainable real estate market, thus creating strong confidence in our market with local and foreign investors alike.
All these factors keep the property market thriving for both Singaporeans and foreigners alike.
#3 Confidence in Singapore’s Ability to Attract Foreign Talent
In the 21st Century, we will move deeper into the knowledge-based economy. As a nation, we are constantly pushing to stay ahead by being open and adopting the latest innovations like Artificial Intelligence, blockchain technology, Internet of Things, Biomedical sciences etc.
Singapore has many attractive qualities as a place to do business and to live. Our strong currency serves to keep foreign investment here attractive. Our government is free from corruption and the people generally trust the government.
Some Singaporeans might think Singapore is too small but to foreigners, this could be a delightful change from having to travel hours or a day to another state or another part of the country.
Singapore has a very welcoming foreign talent policy, in addition to its acceptance of different ethnic groups in Singapore. Everywhere you go, there are food and signs of people from different countries and cultures.
Another big name who is now Singaporean is the founder of the Hadilao chains, Zhang Yong. All these in totality showcase how Singapore is great at attracting foreign talent.
All in all, all these well-known brands moving to Singapore is pretty good news, in one way or another. I look forward to the contributions it can bring to Singapore’s economy and hope that it has cast Singapore in a positive light on the global stage.
I hope you gained from my insights and see you in my next blog post!
If you would like to get started and participate in the growth of Singapore. Or, if you are already invested in Singapore’s real estate but would like a review of your portfolio, feel free to schedule a Zoom meeting or a casual chat over drinks via my calendar below.
About The Author
Farrand Hey writes to share his experience gathered over the last decade of serving homeowners and investors.
He is passionate about helping the younger generation plan for their future and grow their wealth.
His clients and colleagues alike frequently sought him out for his unbiased and honest views.
When he is not busy with work or writing, he loves to cook and watch reruns of Top Gear.
Farrand also makes it a point to stay healthy through exercise as health is wealth. Although he finds it hard to resist the lure of tasty food.
Recently married, he is still basking in marital bliss. That’s a photo of him the day after proposing to his wife.
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