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RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Singapore
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OCBC private banking unit increases managed assets

Bank of Singapore aims to tap the growing number of affluent Chinese and Indians by establishing local offices in their respective countries.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.’s private-banking arm said its assets under management and loans will continue to grow after expanding more than 30 percent on an annualized basis in the first five months of the year.

Bank of Singapore Ltd.’s so-called earning asset base reached $36.3 billion on May 31, an increase of $4.3 billion from the end of last year, Chief Executive Officer Renato de Guzman said in a presentation on Wednesday. The increase has been “broad-based” and the focus will remain on the greater China region, the Philippines, Singapore, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, he said.

Wealth in Asia, excluding Japan, is expected to rise at about double the global rate of almost 6 percent through the next five years, the Boston Consulting Group said in a May 31 report. Singapore will become the world’s top wealth management center by 2013, overtaking Switzerland and London, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study published on Tuesday.

“I don’t know if in two years we will be able to do that,” Guzman said, referring to the PwC report. He said investors from outside the region are “attracted to Asian opportunities,” diversification and the strong Singapore dollar.

The Singapore dollar has gained about 19 percent against the U.S. currency in the past two years and about 14 percent against the euro in the same period.

Oversea-Chinese Banking was ranked as the world’s strongest bank in the June issue of the Bloomberg Markets magazine.

View the full story in Bloomberg.

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