Indian offshore wealth shifts from Switzerland to Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian countries

The famed place of Switzerland is no longer the preferred destination for Indian offshore wealth but now it is being parked in Asian tax havens including countries of Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Bahrain and Malaysia.

Swiss banks now hold only 31 per cent of Indian wealth, down from 58 per cent in 2007.

Indian offshore wealth shifts from Switzerland to Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian countries
Indian offshore wealth has shifted from Switzerland to Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian countries.

In addition to this, there has also been a quantum leap of about 90 per cent in the offshore wealth held by Indians in tax havens to about USD62.9 billion (SGD84.9 billion) from the year 2007 to 2015. This is equivalent to about 3.1 per cent of India’s GDP in 2015, according to the data available of the latest year.

The figures are based on the analysis of data released by Bank of International Settlements (BIS) on bilateral foreign holdings. Economist Gabriel Zucman of UCLA, Annette Alstadster of Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Niels Johannessen of the University of Copenhagen analysed the data and calculated that the total offshore wealth in the world is about USD8.6 trillion, which is about 11.6 per cent of world GDP. However, non-financial assets like real estate and art are not included in these figures.  

Much headway has not been made in bringing the much-publicised black money back to India, as people are now parking their wealth in the greener pastures of Hong Kong and Singapore. This is because Switzerland has become more transparent after the Panama Papers Leaks which exposed other tax havens.

Also read: India ranks 88th in list of countries with money in Swiss banks

Another notable feature of the study has revealed a wide disparity among the countries regarding share of the GDPs taken away in offshore tax havens. Though this is a few per cent for Scandinavian countries, the wealth rises to 15 per cent in Europe and increases to about 60 per cent for Russia and Gulf States.

Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.


Which service do you use to transfer money for personal use to India?

  • Bank Transfer
  • Remittance services
  • Paypal
  • Wire Transfer services like Western Union, Remit2India
  • International Money Order
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