Where the big bankers live in HK and SG
If you’re a bigshot banker moving to Asia (usually Hong Kong or Singapore), it can be hard to know where to lay down roots (or if to lay down roots at all). Choosing where to live – especially if you have a family – can be a complicated, expensive, and headache-inducing decision.
The reality is that, like in most global cities, neighborhoods are only well known by locals, and it’s worth poking your nose around before putting your money to anything in particular. Oases of wealth – usually private, gated communities – can exist amongst miles of slum in some cities, whilst others may have unexpected shantytowns in otherwise eye wateringly-high rent areas.
If you want some clues as to where you can bump shoulders with the biggest financiers on the continent (or imitate them for some reason), we recommend ultra-modernity in Singapore, and ultra-classicism in Hong Kong. Oh, and spend a lot of money. Duh.
United Overseas Bank (UOB)’s CEO, Wee Ee Cheong, lives in Nassim Park Residences, an ultra-luxury development in the country’s Billionaire Row. His family actually own three properties in the complex – although it’s probably much easier to afford that sort of property when you grandfather (Wee Ee Chong’s grandfather, Wee Kheng Chiang, to be specific) founds a bank.
Peter Lim, the country’s 10th richest man and rags to riches superstar (seriously – from being a taxi driver and waiter to multi-billionaire is no mean feat) lives less than a mile down the road in the EDEN complex, just off of Orchard. Both complexes are in the well-known “billionaire’s belt”.
Chilean-born Jean Salata – the founder of private equity firm BPEA EQT, one of the largest in Asia – has his digs in Repulse Bay, which hosts his colonial-era two-story detached house. It sold for $104m, in 2014. United States Dollars, mind you.
Salata wasn’t the only one in Repulse Bay, either – former Goldman partner Andrea Vella was also fond of the area, although the disgraced banker is believed to now be living in Italy. Partners at Goldman might be some of the few regular (non-founder) financers capable of affording the city’s finest properties.
More recently, Chris Gradel of investment firm PAG bought the spectacular (and also colonial-era) Villa Ellenbud, in Pok Fu Lam. The villa, which sold for $70m, was built by a doctor, at a time where (presumably) overcrowding in Hong Kong wasn’t as big a deal as today. Either that, or doctors were paid a lot more than we realize.
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