OCBC grows wealth management footprint with Barclays acquisition

OCBC Bank’s private banking subsidiary, Bank of Singapore has entered into an agreement to acquire the Wealth and Investment Management business of Barclays Bank in the Singapore and Hong Kong.

The acquisition price agreed upon is approximately US$320 million in cash and is set to conclude at the end of the year.

With the acquisition, OCBC hopes to grow its presence in four core markets Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China, particularly in its wealth management business. The move comes at a point when the number of high net worth individuals is set to rapidly grow in the APAC region.

Bahren Shaari, CEO , Bank of Singapore explained that strategically, this acquisition further broadens Bank of Singapore’s geographical footprint and client coverage “while adding scale and deepening its presence in core Asian markets, including Southeast Asia, Greater China and the Middle East, namely the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.”

“The combination of both businesses, including Barclays’ valuable franchise, will bring about attractive synergies,” he said adding that existing Barclays clients can also benefit from Bank of Singapore and OCBC Bank’s connectivity in key markets including China, Indonesia and Malaysia, in the commercial banking space.

Strengthening the Bank of Singapore brand

The acquisition will also immensely strengthen the position of Bank of Singapore to capture opportunities in the two strategic private banking hubs in Asia - Singapore and Hong Kong. The Barclays WIM Singapore and Hong Kong business alone, adds more than 1,800 clients in two of OCBC Bank’s core markets – Singapore and Greater China.

Samuel Tsien, group CEO, OCBC Bank said:

The enlarged scale and expanded client coverage that Bank of Singapore now possesses will significantly strengthen its position as Asia’s Global Private Bank, as it captures the growing wealth and serves the wealth management needs of high net worth clients in the region.

In a press statement, OCBC said Bank of Singapore has over the years been looking to grow its presence across SEA by building on its managed investments capabilities and further complementing it by wealth planning and premium advisory services. It has also built up its research team in Asia and currently has more than 50 in-house research analysts and product specialists covering over 1000 securities and 30 currencies. It also has partnerships with several independent research houses.

As part of the OCBC Group of companies, Bank of Singapore is also able to extend OCBC Bank’s commercial banking capabilities to its clients including a broad array of consumer and corporate banking, corporate finance and treasury services across the Bank’s regional and international network. Beyond private banking services,  clients of Bank of Singapore also have access to personal and business banking services, as well as investment opportunities offered by OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries

Tsien added: “The acquisition of Barclays Wealth and Investment  Management business in Singapore and Hong Kong further broadens our wealth management franchise, firmly establishing us as a leading wealth management player in Asia. We see attractive value in Barclays ’ strong and complementary private banking client base in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as in its experienced and service- oriented wealth management team.”

OCBC Bank through strategic acquisitions it “has built a unique and comprehensive wealth management platform across the Bank and its subsidiaries”. This platform comprises private banking services offered by Bank of Singapore, life insurance by Great Eastern Holdings, asset management by Lion Global Investors, brokerage services by OCBC Securities, as well as other wealth management products and services offered by the Bank.

OCBC Bank’s consolidated wealth management income across its group of companies has grown steadily over the years. That income reached SG$2.35 billion in 2015, up 6% from a year ago, and amounted to 27% of the OCBC Group’s total income.

(Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)