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Banking & Finance

DBS Vickers to transfer Hong Kong retail brokerage clients to sister bank

  • The securities arm of DBS Group will continue to service institutional clients, act as the bank’s execution broker
  • Clients have the option to transfer to a new account with DBS Bank or another bank or close their account after the closure of its retail business on December 31
PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2018, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2018, 7:01pm

For more than four decades, the Vickers name has been associated with retail investing in Hong Kong.

On Monday, that time will pass.

The change comes after DBS Group, the Singapore financial services company, announced earlier this year that it would merge the retail brokerage operations of its DBS Vickers securities arm with DBS Bank, the largest lender in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

DBS Vickers stopped accepting buy orders from retail clients in October and will discontinue its retail business as of Monday.

Clients had the option to transfer a new account with DBS Bank or another bank before December 31 or close their account.

“The move will enable the bank to better focus on the retail brokerage business as a priority area for growth, investment and digitisation, and achieve further synergies,” DBS said in announcing the change in July.

The remaining DBS Vickers business will continue to serve institutional clients and act as the bank’s execution broker in Hong Kong, the company said.

Stephen Chu, a long-term client of DBS Vickers, said he was shocked to hear that its retail brokerage operations were being discontinued and was in the process of transferring his equity and Reit holdings to another brokerage.

“Over the years, I was quite happy with the full service I received from DBSV, especially the analytical property reports written by renowned property analyst Jeff Yau and his team,” Chu said.

Chu said that it was a pity that DBS Vickers was “winding down” its retail brokerage business, “but I am happy with the profits I have made over the years via their brokerage”.

DBS Vickers traces its roots to Vickers, Da Costa & Co., a British brokerage that was founded in 1917 and whose co-founder was Winston Churchill’s stockbroker.

It was first registered in Hong Kong in 1973. The Hong Kong business became part of DBS in 2001 following the merger of Vickers Ballas and DBS Securities.

The move marks that latest consolidation within DBS, which spent much of last year integrating the retail and wealth management businesses of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

DBS bought ANZ’s retail and wealth management operations in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan in 2016 for US$110 million.

The integration of the ANZ business was completed in February.

A DBS spokesman did not provide details Friday on how many clients or employees were affected by the transfer of DBS Vickers retail brokerage business to DBS Bank.

DBS, as whole, employed 4,537 people, including 139 contractors and temporary workers, in Hong Kong as of the end of 2017. Hong Kong is the company’s second largest market behind Singapore.

The company, which employs more than 24,000 people worldwide, reported that its profit rose 6 per cent in the third quarter to 1.41 billion Singapore dollars (HK$8.07 billion).

Additional reporting by Peggy Sito.

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