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Bank of Singapore gets licence to operate branch in Dubai Int'l Financial Centre

BANK of Singapore has been granted a category 4 licence to operate a branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a federal financial free zone in the United Arab Emirates.

The licence will allow Bank of Singapore to offer a comprehensive range of customised private banking solutions including investments, and credit and wealth planning advisory services to its ultra high net worth clients.

Bank of Singapore is the private banking arm of OCBC Bank, serving high net worth individuals. It was launched in January 2010 following OCBC's purchase of ING Asia Private Bank.

The official opening of the branch in DIFC is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2017.

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Bank of Singapore said the approval to operate a branch in Dubai comes at an opportune time as private wealth in the Middle East and Africa is projected to rise at a compounded annual rate of 8.2 per cent, to reach a record high US$11.8 trillion by 2020 - 1.4 times higher than the global average.

"The move to DIFC signifies a new commitment by Bank of Singapore to further deepen its presence in this region," said Bank of Singapore, which has been in Dubai since 1996 through its representative office based outside of the DIFC.

Chief executive officer Bahren Shaari said with the establishment of a branch, Bank of Singapore will be scaling up its research and advisory capabilities to better serve high net worth individuals in the region.

"Dubai's position in the Middle East is similar to Singapore's role in Asia, both serve as strategic economic hubs, supporting wealth growth and investments for individuals and businesses. We are confident of replicating our successful Singapore business model in Dubai to support the growing affluence and economic activities in this region," he said.

Bank of Singapore's representative office will continue to operate to facilitate existing clients' access to the Bank of Singapore platform, after the setting up of the DIFC branch.