DBS to add bankers for Hong Kong, China corporate business

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 December, 2012, 1:25pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 December, 2012, 1:25pm

DBS Group Holdings, Southeast Asia’s biggest lender, will increase the number of bankers serving large companies in Hong Kong and China by 20 percent next year as it seeks more revenue from outside of Singapore.

The bank plans to add 10 to the 50-person team, Ginger Cheng, who heads DBS’s institutional banking for large companies in Hong Kong and China, told a briefing.

DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta is targeting faster-growing markets as corporate loan growth in Singapore slows. The bank derived 63 per cent of its net income from the Southeast Asian city in the third quarter, down from 66 per cent a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data.

“We are looking to hire mostly senior bankers as we expect strong funding demand needs by Chinese corporates,” said Cheng of DBS Bank (Hong Kong).

The bank next year will also set up a team to provide financing and cash management services to multinational companies in Europe and the US, she said.

In addition to the corporate banking expansion, DBS plans to sell more services to wealthy people in Hong Kong to increase consumer banking revenue in the city by at least 10 per cent a year, Pearlyn Phau, head of consumer banking for Hong Kong, said on November 2.

DBS Hong Kong’s consumer banking revenue rose 14 per cent in the first nine months from a year earlier, including 17 per cent growth from wealth management, Phau said. The lender said last year that it would invest S$250 million (US$205 million) to build wealth management business in Asia.

Separately, DBS Group said it had agreed to buy a 30 per cent stake in Singapore’s Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, where the move of its headquarters was completed in October, for S$1.04 billion (US$850 million) in cash.

DBS said it will buy the stake from a joint venture of Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong Holdings. The venture currently owns one-third of the tower, which is part of the Marina Bay Financial Centre development. DBS has the right to buy the remaining 3.3 per cent owned by the venture for S$115 million.

Singapore is building a new financial district on reclaimed land in the Marina Bay area, adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands hotel, casino, shopping and conference development. DBS is a so-called anchor tenant in the building that was completed this year, with 4,800 of its employees occupying 600,000 square feet (56,000 square meters) on 18 of the tower’s 46 floors. Other tenants include legal firms WongPartnership and Clifford Chance.

The remaining two-thirds of Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 are equally owned by a subsidiary of Hongkong Land International Holdings and a subsidiary of Keppel Land Properties.