Bank of Singapore CEO Bahren Shaari to retire at the end of December

Mr Bahren Shaari said he was immensely grateful and proud of the 13 years he spent at Bank of Singapore. PHOTO: BANK OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Bank of Singapore’s chief executive Bahren Shaari is retiring at the end of December after 13 years at the bank.

He will be succeeded by Mr Vincent Choo as interim CEO on Jan 1. Mr Choo was previously the group chief risk officer for OCBC Bank and has been a director on its board since 2014.

In a message posted on his LinkedIn account, Mr Bahren, 60, said he was immensely grateful and proud of the 13 years he spent at Bank of Singapore, which he called Asia’s Global Private Bank.

“It has been a great privilege for me to work with a team of dedicated colleagues who are the best at what they do,” he said.

“I’m also thankful for the opportunities and guidance given to me throughout my more than 30-year private banking career, in particular by my former boss Marcel Kreis during UBS days, and my predecessor at Bank of Singapore Bing De Guzman, both of whom played a critical role in this journey that has taken me to where I am today.”

Mr Bahren joined Bank of Singapore when OCBC acquired and merged ING Private Bank into its wealth management franchise around 2010. He was appointed CEO of Bank of Singapore, the private banking arm of OCBC, in 2015.

OCBC CEO Helen Wong noted that under his leadership, OCBC completed the acquisition of Barclays Asia, and saw the private bank franchise grow its assets under management from US$55 billion (S$75 billion) to US$114 billion now.

In a memo to OCBC staff, she also credited him with ramping up Bank of Singapore’s strategy to capture wealth growth in major markets of South-east Asia, Greater China, the Middle East and India.

He also focused on expanding Bank of Singapore’s products and platforms to global investors and family offices, and expanded its business-to-business financial intermediary franchise.

Sources told ST that Mr Bahren, who was born and educated in Singapore (he studied at Sembawang Primary, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary and Hwa Chong Junior College, and graduated with a degree in accountancy from the National University of Singapore), had been planning his exit for a few years, but decided to wait until incoming OCBC CEO, Ms Wong, settled into her role.

It is rumoured that Mr Bahren was considered a potential candidate for the Singapore presidential election in 2017, but declined. He has never commented on the rumours.

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