The chair of United Overseas Bank (UOBH.SI), Wee Cho Yaw, is the richest individual in Singapore with a fortune of $4.2 billion, an increase of $600 million compared with last year, according to the latest rich list published by Forbes Asia.
In March, Wee was ranked 268th on a Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest individuals, although that may have changed due to volatile markets.
But Wee ranks third on the Singapore list, in which family fortunes were calculated, Forbes said. He comes after the families of the late Ng Teng Fong, a property tycoon, and the late Khoo Teck Puat, who sold a huge stake in Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L) to state investor Temasek.
The Ng family remains at the top with $8.9 billion, higher by $1.1 billion than a year earlier. Their two biggest property holdings are privately held Far East Organisation and Hong Kong-listed Tsim Sha Tsui Properties (0247.HK).
Second on the list is the Khoo family with $6.7 billion, an increase of $800 million from a year ago. In 2006, they sold their stake in Standard Chartered Bank for around $4 billion, but they retain a stake in the Goodwood Group of Hotels.
After UOB’s Wee comes New Zealander Richard Chandler with a fortune estimated at $4 billion from his emerging markets-focused investment group.
Singapore’s 40 richest are now collectively worth $54.4 billion, up by 19 percent compared with last year, despite a slowing economy and weak stock market, Forbes said.
There are 13 billionaires on this year’s list, compared with 11 last year. Sam Goi, a 62-year-old food tycoon who built his fortune from making spring roll skins, debuted at No. 12 with a net worth of $1.2 billion.
To compile the list, public fortunes were calculated using share prices and exchange rates as of July 12. For privately held assets, Forbes Asia estimated their worth if they were made public.
This year, a minimum net worth of $210 million was needed to qualify for the list, up from $190 million previously.
The top 10 richest in Singapore are:
1) Ng Family; real estate; $8.9 billion
2) Khoo Family; banking; $6.7 billion
3) Wee Cho Yaw; banking; $4.2 billion
4) Richard Chandler; investments; $4 billion
5) Kwee Brothers; real estate; $3.9 billion
6) Kuok Khoon Hong; palm oil; $3.5 billion
7) Ong Beng Seng & Christina Ong; diversified; $1.9 billion
Peter Lim; investments; $1.8 billion
9) Kwek Leng Beng; diversified; $1.7 billion
10) Lee Seng Wee; banking; $1.4 billion