Lim, Peter

Peter Lim, or more affectionately nicknamed as 'The Remisier King'.

Lim, 55, is a billionaire, worth $1.1 billion and ranked No. 7 among Singapore's 40 Richest1. Plus he is still an investor in one of Singapore's hottest stocks: the tiny palm oil outfit has become $18 billion (market cap) Wilmar International, one of Asia's largest agribusinesses. It has been on fire lately thanks to rising palm oil prices and its high-profile merger with Robert Kuok's palm plantation, edible oils and grain groups. The stock has more than tripled since its debut on the Singapore exchange in August 2006.

He has "many cars," including Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis, which he parks in the basement of an 11-story condominium block he owns not far from Orchard Road. He lives there with his second wife — an actress — his mother and two teenage children. Other luxuries include a yacht and private jet. Lim believes that his fortune is due to destiny. "It's not possible for someone to go make a billion dollars—it's when things just fall into place," he says. "So I think it's fate."

The son of a fishmonger, Lim has come a long way from the small flat he shared with his parents, seven siblings and an uncle. His hard childhood motivated him. He went to the top schools in Singapore and studied accounting and finance at the University of Western Australia in Perth, where he held several part-time jobs as a waiter and taxi driver to pay for his tuition.

After graduating, Lim worked briefly as an accountant before starting out as a stockbroker. He eventually became known as the Remisier (Singapore term for stockbroker) King, servicing wealthy Indonesians and Singaporeans in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But it was Kuok who returned the service and by 1996 Lim stopped handling other people's money to become a full-time investor and to take care of personal matters. (He was going through a divorce that dragged on until 2001.)

Today he has 20 people, including former bankers and a nuclear physicist, tracking his investments and giving him daily stock updates. While his nearly 5% stake in Wilmar is his most valuable, worth almost $900 million, he also has stakes in fashion retailer FJ Benjamin, investment firm Rowsley Ltd. and brewery restaurant Brewerkz.

It will be difficult to match his Wilmar success. He's hunting for new investments, hoping to take advantage of the current downturn. He likes health care, mining and renewable energy, but what he really wants is another Kuok. "At the end of the day the key component is the person," he says. "You may target the right company, but if you've chosen the wrong person, you'll get a headache."

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