Awards for Distinction 2011 – Singapore


APB-AFD-BestPrivateBankSingapore

Bank of Singapore

Renato de Guzman

Renato de Guzman

Chief Executive Officer
Bank of Singapore

Singapore has positioned itself as one of the world’s leading banking and financing centres, “the Switzerland of the East”. With the highest concentration of HNWI relative to population in Asia, the island-republic is home to 183,000 millionaires and this number is expected to double to 408,000 by the year 2016. This market is of particular value to private banks operating in the region, not just for its indigenous population of HNWIs, but also as a booking centre for the globes’ wealthy.

Bank of Singapore was always a clear contender for the Asian Private Banker – Best Private Bank in Singapore Award but its demonstrated understanding of the Singaporean market, unparalleled local knowhow and network worked strongly in its favour to prevail as the deserved winner.

Despite the challenging market environment in 2011, Bank of Singapore has garnered US$6 billion in net new money for the year, a significant increase from the US$2 billion of net new inflow it saw in 2010. Another compelling consideration is the bank’s earning asset base which grew by 20% for the year and stood at US$38 billion at the end of 2011.

While asset base is an important indicator of success, head-count was another criterion on which banks were judged. Bank of Singapore grew its staff strength by 20% in 2011 and has over 850 employees at present. Of these, 250 are front-line bankers of various nationalities.

Renato de Guzman, chief executive officer of Bank of Singapore, acknowledges the global headwinds likely to impact the private banking industry in Asia in the year to come, but believes this could be a time for opportunity rather than adversity. “Given the recent developments in Europe, we believe that Asian banks are in a good position to further entrench their presence among international investors,” he says.

Indeed, Bank of Singapore has earmarked a “significant amount” for capital expenditures in 2012 towards improving its processes and further strengthening its competitive advantages. De Guzman also points out the strengths of local banks in Asia. “While international investors are familiar with traditional international private banks, it would be sensible for them to partner with Asian banks that offer a similar product platform, service standards and have the edge of knowing [the region]”, he says. “Bank of Singapore is well positioned to meet their needs as we have a global private banking platform and a strong footprint in Asia, through the network of our parent company, OCBC Bank.”