OCBC’s private banking arm eyes bigger slice of family office pie

Marina Bay, Singapore. Photo: Victor He/Unsplash

Bank of Singapore, the private banking arm of lender OCBC, plans to grab a bigger share of the fast-growing family office business by expanding its investment products and targeting clients outside the region, its CEO said.

Its assets under management declined to $104 billion in the year to March from $108 billion a year ago due to the market downturn but assets of the segment catering to family offices, which manage the fortunes of the rich, rose 20%.

“The family office is a big segment, not only from China but also from the Middle East as well as other parts of the world,” Bahren Shaari told Reuters in an interview.

Bank of Singapore, which was ranked No. 6 in Asian Private Banker’s league table last year, competes with UBS and Credit Suisse in providing family offices of rich Asians with services including investments and wealth transfer.

Incentives offered by Singapore to set up such private investment vehicles has boosted demand for services by wealthy individuals in the Middle East and other places.

“There is wealth transfer happening between the first generation to the next generation. Managing money in the past was a part-time business, now it’s a full-time business,” said Bahren, 57.

“There is a big interest in private markets. We make sure we have a complete offering on hedge funds, private equity, direct investments and real estate. That has grown quite a fair bit over the last one year.”

Bank of Singapore is also evaluating setting up an onshore presence in China at a time when Beijing’s crackdown on shadow banking is pushing investors to the mainstream wealth management business.

“We look at the opportunities. Of course, there’s an urgency to really look at what we can do onshore,” said Bahren, adding this could be done with local partnerships.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.