OCBC wins bid to buy Barclays' HK, Singapore wealth units

Published Thu, Apr 7, 2016 · 12:18 AM

OCBC Bank has won in the race to buy Barclays Bank's private wealth and investments units in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The bank's wholly owned private banking subsidiary, Bank of Singapore, is paying about US$320 million in cash for the business, set at 1.75 per cent of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management's assets under management (AUM) in the two cities.

The acquisition will add about US$18.3 billion to Bank of Singapore's AUM, to boost it to US$73.3 billion, and further OCBC's strategic goal of deepening its presence in its four core markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China, OCBC said in an announcement early on Thursday morning.

OCBC was reported to have been vying with DBS Bank for the business, with DBS seen to be leading the race in late March.

OCBC's consolidated wealth income - including that from life insurance by Great Eastern Holdings, asset management by Lion Global Investors and brokerage services by OCBC Securities - reached S$2.35 billion last year, representing 27 per cent of the group's total income.

OCBC said it will ensure a smooth integration, "such that Bank of Singapore continues supporting the needs of its new clients seamlessly". It will also support the continued career development of its new employees, it added.

"The wealth management business is strategically important for OCBC. 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," said OCBC Bank Group CEO Samuel Tsien.

"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. 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."

Barclays Wealth and Investment Management CEO Akshaya Bhargava said: "We believe that in Bank of Singapore and its parent OCBC Bank we have found a buyer that satisfies our core criteria of maintaining a consistent service for our clients and that has the scope to integrate and enhance the careers of our colleagues."

Barclays' Wealth and Investment Management's priority is to support all affected colleagues and clients through the transition, he added.

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