Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Why 6,500 millionaires want to leave India for Dubai and Singapore

The Henley Private Wealth Migration Report 2023 says Australia, US, and Switzerland are among the top investment destinations for affluent families

Published: Jun 14, 2023 02:11:22 PM IST
Updated: Jun 14, 2023 02:31:48 PM IST

Why 6,500 millionaires want to leave India for Dubai and SingaporeAccording to the report, Australia, US, and Switzerland are among the top investment destinations for affluent families Image: Shutterstock
The Henley Private Wealth Migration Report 2023 points to an upsurge in India’s affluent population and projects its high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) to rise to 80 percent in 2031. It says around 6,500 HNIs are likely to leave the country this year in comparison to 7,500 in 2022 for greener pastures.

“Dubai and Singapore remain preferred destinations for wealthy Indian families. The former, also known as the ‘5th City of India’, is particularly attractive for its government-administered global investor ‘Golden Visa’ programme, favourable tax environment, robust business ecosystem, and safe, peaceful environment,” explains Sunita Singh-Dalal, partner, private wealth & family offices, at Hourani in the UAE.
 Interestingly, according to the report, recently, Portugal has also been a recipient of significant wealth from the Indian diaspora. “But perhaps that has reached its maximum potential, considering the announcement regarding the termination of the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program, which had attracted significant investment in Portuguese real estate and other ventures,” Dalal adds.
Juerg Steffen, CEO, Henley and Partners, says an increasing outflow of millionaires often points to a drop in confidence in a country as HNIs are usually the first to exit and vote with their feet when circumstances deteriorate. “Affluent families are extremely mobile, and their transnational movements can provide an early warning signal in terms of a country’s economic outlook and future country trends,” he notes.

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Moreover, wealth migration trends are swinging back to pre-pandemic patterns with Australia reclaiming its top position for net inflows even as China continued to see the highest number of HNIs leave its shores. The report finds out that the highest proportion of wealthy families relocating this year are considering Australia, the UAE, Singapore, the USA, and Switzerland as their top preferences while the largest net outflows of millionaires are expected to come from China, India, the UK, Russia, and Brazil.
Why 6,500 millionaires want to leave India for Dubai and Singapore

Importantly, nine of the top 10 countries attracting the most HNIs this year offer investment migration programmes, also known as golden visa programmes, as a magnet to attract foreign direct investment. “Singapore, Switzerland, and the UAE have all built their reputations on the premise of being safe havens not only for living but also for preserving wealth. They have also established themselves as highly attractive business hubs where companies can thrive in fiscally advantageous jurisdictions with favourable corporate tax rates as well as zero wealth and inheritance taxes,” the report says.
The report suggests that the number of HNIs departing from India has decreased and the number of HNIs leaving China and the UK has significantly increased on a year-on-year basis. “China continues to lose large numbers of millionaires to migration. General wealth growth in the country has been slowing over the past few years, which means that the recent outflows could be more damaging than usual. In particular, the banning of Huawei 5G by several major markets (USA, UK, and Australia) appears to have been a major blow for China, as much of the country’s future growth plan was based around its hi-tech sector,” the report highlights.
The report also mentions that around 12,500 millionaires left the UK between 2017 and 2022. Some reasons include high capital gains tax and estate duty rates, which are among the highest in the world, and the shrinking importance of the London Stock Exchange on the global stage.