Bank of Singapore eyes more private bankers in Dubai as assets jump

by | February 9, 2018 12:45 am

Private banking arm of Singapore’s second-biggest lender, OCBC, aims to add around 25 relationship managers to its Dubai office by 2020 as it targets more business from non-resident Indians and wealthy Middle East clients.

Its Senior Executive, Vikram Malhotra, told Reuters that Bank of Singapore’s assets under management had risen by around 30 per cent in Dubai since launching in the Dubai International Financial Centre a year ago, said.

Malhotra is the bank’s global market head for South Asia and Middle East.

“The non-resident Indian business is doing well for us, but there are opportunities to expand more in the GCC market,” he said in an interview, referring to the six countries which comprised the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“We are one of the larger players in the region and our aspiration is to be in the top three within all our markets. We are well placed to achieve that.”

The bank has close to 50 relationship managers in Dubai, up by around a 40 per cent since 2016, and is targeting further growth by 2020.

In Singapore and Hong Kong, the bank had around 45 relationship managers, he said.

Private wealth in the Middle East and North Africa is projected to reach 12 trillion dollars by 2021, according to research from Boston Consulting Group.

Several international banks compete with local lenders for a slice of the private banking market.

Malhotra, who splits his time between Asia and the Middle East, joined Bank of Singapore from Barclays Wealth after the former acquired its Singapore and Hong Kong unit in November 2016.

Bank of Singapore’s assets under management stood at $95 billion as of September 2017, up 53 per cent from a year earlier.

Many of its core clients in the region are non-resident Indians who have lived in the Middle East and Africa for decades in some cases.

It also has a smaller number of Middle Eastern clients, including wealthy families.

The bank is targeting attracting more clients from Africa, Malhotra said, declining to name specific countries.

OCBC’s private banking arm has had a presence in Dubai since 1996 through a representative office based outside the DIFC, the emirate’s financial free.