DBS sharpens Asia focus

The bank is digitising traditionally manual processes and providing more solutions.


How does the competitive environment differ market by market in Asia? Is it possible to look at it from a regional perspective?

As a regional bank, DBS is well-positioned to provide its clients with new and innovative solutions that will help them navigate the growing wealth, regulatory requirements, and technological challenges of Asia's fast-developing markets.

DBS Bank is planning a further push into Asia where growth is expected to remain strong over the next five years.

The bank is expanding its asset servicing business and client management capabilities in the Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India markets. It is also keen to further expand into China.

"Asia's growth is projected to remain strong over the next few years. As a result, the region will attract investors for its potential for profits," says Ee Fong Soh, managing director and group head, Securities & Fiduciary Services, Global Transaction Services at DBS.

Favourable macroeconomic trends in Asia together with the rapid growth of assets under management (AUM) of banks, corporates and financial institutions will continue to fuel demand for custody and asset servicing in the region.

"The growth in AUM of Asian institutional investors can be attributed to rising affluence and higher savings. A rapidly ageing population is expected to push greater requirement for asset servicing as financial institutions continue to seek new and more innovative solutions for their clients," Soh says.

Several financial market liberalisation policies have been put in place to deepen market links in Asia, particularly the Asean financial integration, Asia region funds passporting schemes, as well as Hong Kong-China Mutual Recognition of Funds.

The bank is well-positioned to help clients navigate the region’s evolving regulations such as the introduction of a framework for open-ended investment companies (OEIC) by the Monetary Authority of Singapore as well as the liberalisation of foreign direct investments in India.

"Leveraging our leadership and connectivity in Asia, we can help clients across the world tap into investment opportunities throughout the region’s key financial markets, and support them with our wide range of asset servicing capabilities," Soh says.

To do this, the bank is employing a human-centred design methodology to better understand the challenges and requirements of clients. Innovation is a core focus and the bank is looking to enhance its offerings through the introduction of new digital solutions that can deliver productivity gains for its clients.

Across various parts of the bank, we have extensive engagement with the fintech community and ongoing experiments with new technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. This experience is influencing how technology is applied across our product design to improve interaction with our clients," Soh says.

In order to better serve clients’ requirements, the bank is digitising traditionally manual processes and implementing new digital solutions such as cloud-based banking services and robo-advisory. Coupled with its custody network in Asia and global agent relationships, the bank is able to offer value-added insights to help Asian based asset and wealth managers make informed decisions and manage risks.

DBS is able to offer a full suite of banking services for our clients, including cash and treasury services. In addition, we are also backed by a strong balance sheet, exemplary credit ratings and a wide corporate and wealth distribution network. All of these are key success factors for the institutional investors," Soh says.

(This article was first published in The Asset, Jul/Aug 2016)


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