OCBC sees China driving wealth management business

Assets under management held by the group - including OCBC Bank, Bank of Singapore and Lion Global Investors (LGI) - grew at a compound annual rate of 11.63 per cent from 2010 to last year. (From left) LGI CEO Gerard Lee, OCBC Bank COO Ching Wei Hong
Assets under management held by the group - including OCBC Bank, Bank of Singapore and Lion Global Investors (LGI) - grew at a compound annual rate of 11.63 per cent from 2010 to last year. (From left) LGI CEO Gerard Lee, OCBC Bank COO Ching Wei Hong, and Bank of Singapore CEO Bahren Shaari.PHOTO: OCBC

OCBC Bank expects China to continue to be a key driver of the group's wealth management business, particularly given the country's plans to further deregulate its capital markets.

Chief operating officer Ching Wei Hong said yesterday: "With the opening of the market, we expect China to grow significantly for us. That's why we are investing heavily in our Hong Kong office."

Mr Ching was referring to China's qualified domestic individual investor scheme, known as QDII2, which seeks to remove the US$50,000 (S$70,000) annual limit on cross-border capital flows for individual investors.

The scheme is expected to encourage outbound investment and boost the wealth management industry as large amounts of Chinese savings flow into global stock and bond markets. It is expected to be launched in six cities - Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenzhen and Wenzhou.

Meanwhile, Lion Global Investors (LGI), an asset management unit of OCBC, is positioning itself to take advantage of the rising importance of the yuan, which could become a major international currency in the next five years.

KEY ROLE FOR HONG KONG OFFICE

With the opening of the market, we expect China to grow significantly for us. That's why we are investing heavily in our Hong Kong office.

MR CHING WEI HONG, OCBC chief operating officer, on China's plan to ease investor rules

OCBC said assets held by the group's wealth management business will continue to record double-digit growth over the next few years.

The bank added that efforts at assimilating ING's Asia private banking business, which it acquired in 2009, and last year's acquisition, Wing Hang Bank in Hong Kong, have paid off.

Assets under management held by the group - including OCBC Bank, Bank of Singapore and LGI - grew at a compound annual rate of 11.63 per cent between 2010 and last year and stood at $195 billion as at June.

OCBC projects overall wealth management income to account for nearly 30 per cent of group income this year at about $2.6 billion - up from $2.2 billion in 2014.

Bank of Singapore CEO Bahren Shaari said the private bank will set up an advisory office in London "that allows us to provide advice to family offices and ultra-high-net- worth clients based both in London and Europe", subject to regulatory approvals.

It may also set up a new entity in the Dubai International Financial Centre, in addition to its existing representative office in Emaar Square in Dubai, as a platform for further expansion.

OCBC's wealth management business employs about 1,000 relationship managers, including 320 at the Bank of Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'OCBC sees China driving wealth management business'. Print Edition | Subscribe