Bank of Singapore completes acquisition of Barclays wealth and investment business

Mr Bahren Shaari, chief executive officer of Bank of Singapore.
Mr Bahren Shaari, chief executive officer of Bank of Singapore.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Bank of Singapore (BoS) announced on Monday (Nov 28) that it has completed the acquisition of the wealth and investment management business of Barclays in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The purchase was priced at US$227.5 million (S$324.5 million), 29 per cent below an initial estimate, after the amount of assets being transferred fell. The final price is based on 1.75 per cent of the US$13 billion of Barclays assets transferred to OCBC's private-banking arm, a filing to the Singapore Exchange stated. In addition, more than 60 bankers have been added to the deep bench strength at BoS.

The deal will enlarge Bank of Singapore's asset base to more than US$75 billion, allowing it to compete on a more equal footing in Asia with larger rivals including DBS Group Holdings and UBS Group, Bloomberg reported. The increasing number of millionaires in the region has encouraged banks to expand their wealth businesses, allowing them offset the drag on interest income by lower interest rates globally.

Bank of Singapore was formed in 2010 from the combination of the former ING Asia Private Bank business and OCBC Private Banking business. It grew its starting asset under management (Aum) of US$22 billion to US$62 billion as at September 2016, riding on its strong investment capabilities as well as wealth planning and premium advisory services supported by one of the largest research teams in Asia.

"The Barclays team have shared with us that their clients were more than convinced about the capabilities and competencies of Bank of Singapore," said Mr Bahren Shaari, chief executive officer of BoS. "This acquisition comes at an opportune time as the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) is expected to overtake Western Europe to be the second wealthiest region in 2017."

Singapore-based Vikram Malhotra and Hong Kong-based Andrew Sum, two former senior Barclays employees, have been appointed as members of the BoS management committee, and have come on board as global market heads.

The enlarged bench strength, led by Mr Shaari, is poised to bring Bank of Singapore to the next level growth with a strong AUM base of over US$75 billion and a highly competent team of more than 1,800 employees.