Best Asian private bank in Asia 2023
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AwardsAsia Private Banking Awards

Best Asian private bank in Asia 2023

DBS Bank

Joseph Poon, DBS Private Bank.jpg
Joseph Poon, DBS Private Bank

Analysts tracking the trajectory of Asian wealth and trends around gross domestic product are free to peruse government data, surveys and all available reports. Yet some of the most telling clues as to what is going on in this fast-growing region can be found inside the balance sheet of DBS Private Bank.

Led by group head Joseph Poon, the private bank has a deep and active presence in 19 markets across Greater China, southeast Asia and south Asia.

From where Poon sits, business is good, despite the myriad global risks that have unnerved markets such as the fallout from Covid-19, geopolitical upheaval and the battle by central banks to curb inflation.

In 2022, DBS’s wealth management division (comprising DBS Treasures, Treasures private client and the private bank) reported a 2% rise in assets under management to S$297 billion ($221 billion). In most years, this would not be cause for celebration, but given the carnage in fixed income and equities and the disruptions to deal flow, any increase in the private bank’s AuM seems a victory.

Total income rose 20% year on year in 2022, thanks to healthy gains in net interest income. Net new money between January and September 2022 jumped 89% year on year, while the cost-to-income ratio remained comparatively low at 46%, versus 60% or even higher for many of the bank’s peers.

DBS is outpacing competitors with increasing new money flows from the Greater China region, a key pillar of the bank’s business in Asia. Deepening connections with China, and from China to the rest of Asia, give the bank an edge in serving clients across multiple markets.

Take the family office boom, which is altering the face of wealth management in Singapore, Hong Kong and beyond. The dedicated DBS wealth planning, family office and insurance solutions team saw a 50% rise in the total number of family offices in 2022 versus the previous year, and more than doubled its AuM since 2020. DBS is now winning at least one in three family office fund mandates in Singapore.

The bank is a founding member of the Global-Asia Family Office Circle established by the Wealth Management Institute in conjunction with Singapore’s state-backed GIC and Temasek: this aims to spur the growth of family offices in the city-state and beyond.

Such links buttress DBS’s reputation as a trusted resource on regional business dynamics, tax and regulatory environments and cultural nuances from market to market. The bank also boasts cutting-edge digital offerings and strong global research capabilities.

In philanthropy, too, the DBS Foundation stands out. Its role as a bridge to connect high net-worth clients with worthy social enterprises is growing steadily. This strategy is helping to lure more next-generation clients, a cohort that often eschews traditional preferences for passive charitable giving. DBS is guiding younger, more activist customers to more creative and dynamic philanthropic pursuits – all while gaining this group of clients for the longer run.