DBS, Bank of Singapore ready for acquisitions

Ms Tan Su Shan
Ms Tan Su Shan

DBS Group Holdings and Bank of Singapore, Asia's largest home-grown private banks, will consider more acquisitions as they grapple for a bigger slice of business from the region's growing number of millionaires.

DBS would look at any deal that fits with its strategy and is at the right price, the bank's consumer and wealth head Tan Su Shan told Bloomberg Television yesterday.

Bank of Singapore, OCBC's private banking arm, "will definitely evaluate" any opportunities, chief executive officer Bahren Shaari said in a separate TV interview.

The two banks have already announced at least US$400 million ($571 million) of acquisitions this year.

OCBC completed its purchase of Barclays' wealth management units in Singapore and Hong Kong on Monday, while DBS said last month that it will buy Asian retail and wealth businesses from the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group.

"Consolidation will continue," Mr Shaari said. "That's to be expected. You need scale, you need a competitive advantage to work in this highly regulated, competitive environment."

STRATEGIC DECISIONS

We look at deals if it fits in with our overall strategy and there's price discipline and we have both the bandwidth and the operational expertise to do so.

MS TAN SU SHAN, DBS' consumer and wealth head.

The Barclays deal pushes his firm's assets under management to more than US$75 billion. That takes it closer to DBS, which was ranked fifth in Private Banker International's annual survey of Asia-Pacific banks, with US$79 billion of high-net-worth client assets.

DBS is among companies considering bids for ABN Amro's private banking business in Asia, a deal that could fetch more than US$300 million, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

Ms Tan did not comment directly when asked about a bid by DBS for those assets, instead reiterating her statements that a deal would have to fit with the direction of the bank.

"We look at deals if it fits in with our overall strategy and there's price discipline and we have both the bandwidth and the operational expertise to do so," she said.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'DBS, Bank of Singapore ready for acquisitions'. Print Edition | Subscribe