Fidelity Investments and The Vanguard Group are trying to establish a base in the Singapore market, but the city-state’s major banks are unlikely to relinquish their dominant position anytime soon, according to Reuters.

Local banks dominate the retail fund market there, totaling nearly 400 funds with about US$9.28 billion, according to the story. These banks have a stranglehold over fund distribution to investors in the region. However, giants like Vanguard and Fidelity have the advantage of their size and the fact that their fees and expenses can be as low as one-eighth of what local Singapore firms charge.

Vanguard has recently been granted permission to sell its low-cost, index-linked products to institutional clients in Singapore, but it is holding back from the retail market due to the current oversupply. In addition, Fidelity has recently won approval to sell 33 of its international funds in the city-state.

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