DBS making it easier for rich HK clients to set up accounts

DBS' Hong Kong CEO Sebastian Paredes (far left) and China CEO Neil Ge at a press briefing after the inaugural Greater Bay Area Conference in Shenzhen yesterday. The Greater Bay Area is one of DBS' four growth engines in China.
DBS' Hong Kong CEO Sebastian Paredes (far left) and China CEO Neil Ge at a press briefing after the inaugural Greater Bay Area Conference in Shenzhen yesterday. The Greater Bay Area is one of DBS' four growth engines in China.PHOTO: DBS

Move to let them open investment accounts digitally comes amid competition from fintech firms

DBS wants to allow high-net-worth clients in Hong Kong to set up investment accounts digitally by the third quarter.

Its Hong Kong chief, Mr Sebastian Paredes, said yesterday that he hopes to cut the time taken to open a wealth management account to less than 12 minutes from the two hours it can now take at a branch.

Mr Paredes said technology now allows banks with connections to credit card bureaus to do client background assessments.

He was speaking at a briefing held at DBS' inaugural Greater Bay Area Conference in Shenzhen.

The Greater Bay Area, a brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is one of the bank's four growth engines in China.

Mr Paredes said DBS is banking on a number of key industries in the Greater Bay Area where expertise has been built up over the past year. These include technology, automotive, manufacturing, healthcare and textiles.

"What we are doing is accelerating our support to the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector through a supply chain strategy," he added.

  • 25%

    Rise in DBS' revenue in Greater China (including Hong Kong) to $3.9 billion last year.

  • 29%

    Greater China's (including Hong Kong) contribution to DBS Group's total income of $13.2 billion.

"What we have learnt in the last year is that in order to gain scale in the SME sector, we better work on supply chains. That is probably one of the differentiated approaches for SMEs that we will do."

DBS' business in the Greater Bay Area is projected to grow at double the speed of that on the mainland or in Hong Kong in the next five years, Mr Paredes added.

DBS more than tripled its net profit from Greater China, excluding Hong Kong, to $275 million last year while revenue, including Hong Kong, rose 25 per cent to $3.9 billion.

Greater China including Hong Kong accounted for 29 per cent of DBS Group's total income of $13.2 billion.

The move to target high-net-worth clients by helping them open investment accounts digitally comes as financial technology firms in Hong Kong are now allowed to compete in the lucrative retail banking sector.

Virtual banks have no physical branches but are similar to traditional retail banking services in that they are able to accept deposits and give out loans. Consumers in Hong Kong will be able to open a savings account digitally with a virtual bank.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2019, with the headline 'DBS making it easier for rich HK clients to set up accounts'. Print Edition | Subscribe