Bank of Singapore buys Barclays wealth unit for 30% less

Added 28th November 2016

Bank of Singapore (BoS), a subsidiary of one of Singapore's largest banks, has completed the acquisition of the wealth and investment management business of Barclays in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Bank of Singapore buys Barclays wealth unit for 30% less

The private banking arm of OCBC said it paid $227.5m (£182.2m, €214.6) - nearly 30% below the initial offer – after a drop in the number of assets being transferred.

According to a filing at the Singapore Exchange, the final price was based on 1.75% of the $13bn of Barclays assets transferred to BoS.

The deal is expected to add a significant chunk to the bank’s asset base, which will skyrocket to $75bn, and will allow it to compete against Singapore’s more established banking heavyweights such as DBS and UBS.

In addition, the buyout will see more than 60 bankers join Bank of Singapore, including two former senior Barclays employees – Vikram Malhotra from Singapore and Hong Kong-based Andrew Sum – who have been appointed as members of the bank’s management committee as well as global market heads.

Increasing wealth

The increasing number of millionaires in the region has encouraged banks to expand their wealth businesses, allowing them offset the drag on interest income by lower interest rates globally.

The population of millionaires in Singapore is expected to grow by more than 18.3% by 2020, compared with 15.6% in Hong Kong, according to a recent report by from WealthInsight.

Having launched in 2010, following the merger between ING Asia Private Bank and OCBC’s private banking business, BoS said it was proud to have grown its assets management from $22bn to $62bn by September 2016.

The company added it has been “riding on its strong investment capabilities as well as wealth planning and premium advisory services supported by one of the largest research teams in Asia”.

"The Barclays team have shared with us that their clients were more than convinced about the capabilities and competencies of Bank of Singapore," said BoS chief executive, Bahren Shaari.

"This acquisition comes at an opportune time as the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) is expected to overtake western Europe to be the second wealthiest region in 2017."

Dubai advice unit

Last week, BoS also has confirmed it will offer financial advice to wealthy individuals in the Middle East when it opens a new office in Dubai next year.

The bank has been granted regulatory approval to open a branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with the new base expected to open in the first quarter of 2017. 

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Monira Matin

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Monira joined International Adviser in March 2016 from Informa Global Markets where she worked as a eurobond reporter for over two years, covering fixed income markets. She has previously held a number of editorial positions covering politics, insurance and technology. Monira has a degree in Journalism and Economics from City University.

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