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Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Swiss cost of living in S$ terms

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 04/06/2014 at 5:39 am

A few weeks ago the BBC published

Swiss monthly living costs

  • One-bed city centre flat: 1,800 francs                                     S$2520
  • Utilities: 100-200 francs                                                              S$140- 280
  • Health insurance: 300-400 francs                                           S$420- 560
  • Public transport: 50-70 francs                                                    S$70- 98
  • Restaurant meal for two: 100-150 francs                               S$140- 210

(http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27459178)

As you can see I’ve put the S$ equivalent beside the Swiss amounts.

Now you have an idea of the Swiss cost of living. As to their wages, the median wage there is the equivalent of S$8574 a momth.  Ours is S$4358 or S$2789 after deducting CPF.

 

Financial secrecy: S’pore is only 6th

In Banks on 04/10/2011 at 4:29 pm

In a new index on financial secrecy, S’pore is only ranked sixth. The Financial Secrecy Index 2011, puts Switzerland on top, followed by the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and the USA.

The Tax Justice Network, the group behind the report, says, “[A] secrecy jurisdiction provides facilities that enable people or entities escape or undermine the laws, rules and regulations of other jurisdictions elsewhere, using secrecy as a prime tool.”

The government’s policy is to encourage the growth of wealth management here so that S’pore can be the Switzerland of the East. Well, the central bank and the Attorney-General’s Chambers have a lot of work to do to make S’pore a better secrecy jurisdiction. Hong Kong is a better secrecy juridiction than S’pore. And S’pore and Hong Kong are rivals in the race to be the leading wealth management centre in East Asia.

At least, this report shows S’pore is a better global citizen than Switzerland, Hong Kong and the USA. But where’s the money in being a responsible, decent chap?

Rubbish: Homeownership encourages gd citizenship

In Property on 26/03/2010 at 5:00 pm

Robert Schiller (the man who called the dotcom bust and the recent US housing crisis spot on) argues in the US context that homeownership is not as beneficial to a country as it many thinks it is – the American belief that homeownership encourages pride and good citizenship and, ultimately, preservation of liberty. These attitudes are enduring.

He cites Switzerland: Switzerland, for example, is a country with strong patriotism, a fighting spirit of national defense, a commitment to freedom and tolerance, and a low crime rate. Yet its homeownership rate is just 34.6 percent, versus 66.2 percent for the United States, according to the two countries’ 2000 censuses.

Time for the government to rethink its homeownership policy?

Swiss national identity doesn’t depend on homeownership. Instead, Riccarda Torriani, a historian at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, links the country’s sense of identity to such things as its system of direct democracy, which enforces popular participation in government; the idea that its citizens are frontier people (living in or near the rugged Alps); and a history of collective courage in defense of freedom, even when outnumbered.

Update on 27th March 2010

Been asked what has this post to be with value investing or being cynical.

Answer: Question periodically the underlying assumptions of  any piece of “conventional wisdom”. Juz because a genius like MM thinks that something is correct,doesn’t mean that the underlying circumstances may have changed since he made the initial decision. Take the “Stop at two policy”. Circumstances changed, and the policy shld have reversed earlier.

GIC: Can UBS survive US indictment?

In GIC on 30/01/2010 at 5:41 am

Great time for UBS’s survival to be questioned, when bonds held by GIC must be converted into UBS shares by 5 March, 2010.

[Reminder: In December 2007, GIC invested 11 billion Swiss Francs for these bonds that would give it 9% of UBS. It later had to invest an undisclosed amount to prevent a dilution of its stake when UBS called for a rights issue to cover mounting losses. Later the Swiss government had to take a 9% stake to cover yet more losses.]

Last August, it was feared that UBS would not survive if it were indicted in the United States for failing to provide details of  tax evasion by US citizens (Note the concern abt UBS not surviving the indictment was not reported here: both in MSM amd bloggers). Its failure could have undermined Switzerland’s economy. And of course Singapore’s reserves.

Now: “The Swiss government on Wednesday backed off an agreement with the United States that required it to hand over the names of wealthy American clients of the Swiss bank UBS who were suspected of tax evasion.

‘The announcement, which came after two Swiss courts ruled that the disclosure of client names would be illegal because it would violate the country’s secrecy laws, threatened to open a new front in the investigation into UBS by the Justice Department.

‘While the Swiss cabinet … would continue talks with the United States on the matter … there was a risk that the United States would resume civil proceedings filed against UBS in a Florida court last year. That case sought to force UBS to disclose the names of 52,000 wealthy American clients suspected of tax evasion through UBS’s private bank.

‘That lawsuit was suspended in August when the Swiss government, acting on behalf of UBS during months of intense negotiations, promised to hand over 4,450 UBS client names.” Full article

So if no new settlement is reached, UBS can be indicted again. And the issue of whether it can survive will again be asked.

This is one jinked investment.  Time for MM (GIC’s chairman) or Tony Tan (executive director) to go an visit some holy man to ask for the bad luck to go away?

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