Bank of Singapore to open financial advice unit in Dubai

By Francis Nikolai Acosta

Added 23rd November 2016

A subsidiary of one of Singapore's largest banks, OCBC Bank, has confirmed it will offer financial advice to wealthy individuals in the Middle East when it opens a new office in Dubai next year.

Bank of Singapore to open financial advice unit in Dubai

Bank of Singapore, the private banking unit of OCBC, said it has been granted regulatory approval to open a branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). 

The new office will open in the first quarter next year, according to a joint statement from Bank of Singapore and DIFC.

The move enables the bank to offer "customised private banking solutions", which include investments, credit and wealth planning advisory services to its ultra-high and high net-worth clients, the statement said.

Bank of Singapore first established its presence in Dubai in 1996 through its representative office based outside the DIFC.

Middle East growth

According to the statement, since then it has doubled its AUM in the Middle East and grew net new money by almost five times.

Private wealth in the Middle East and Africa is projected to rise at a compounded annual rate of 8.2% to reach a record high of $11.8trn (£9.4trn, €11.1trn) by 2020, which is 1.4 times higher than the global average, the bank said, citing data from the Boston Consulting Group.

“Dubai’s position in the Middle East is similar to Singapore’s role in Asia, both serve as strategic economic hubs, supporting wealth growth and investments for indviduals and businesses,” said Bahren Shaari, chief executive.

The DIFC is the financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and south Asia, and has an independent regulator, an independent judicial system with a common-law framework and a global financial exchange, among others, according to the statement.

It was ranked as the top financial centre in Middle East and Africa and 18th globally, according to London-based Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index report, which was published in September.

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