Singapore’s DBS Bank says it has agreed to buy the Asian private banking business of French lender Societe Generale in a deal worth $US220 million ($A246.
06 million), boosting its access to the region’s super rich.
DBS said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange on Monday that the deal “will accelerate DBS’s ambition of becoming a leading wealth manager in Asia”.
The acquisition comes at a time of growing competition to manage the wealth of Asia’s growing ranks of millionaires and billionaires, known as high net worth individuals.
Under the agreement, DBS will buy Societe General’s Asian private banking operations in Singapore and Hong Kong and parts of its trust business.
“This transaction is in line with one of DBS’s strategic priorities to be a leading wealth manager in Asia and will significantly increase the scale of its wealth management business,” Singapore’s leading bank said.
“The transaction will also provide significant revenue synergies as Societe Generale Private Banking Asia clients will have access to DBS’s universal banking platform including retail, corporate and investment banking.”
Jean-Francois Mazaud, head of Societe Generale Private Banking, described DBS as “the most suitable choice”.
“The commercial partnership we intend to implement together will also represent a great opportunity for our private banking customers to fully benefit from the very best of the two banks in Europe and in Asia,” he said.
Through a memorandum of understanding, DBS’s clients will have access to Societe Generale Private Banking’s offerings in Europe, DBS said.
It said the deal will increase its high net worth assets under management by more than 20 per cent.
DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta said in an internal memo to staff it was time for the Singapore bank to accelerate its private banking business through an acquisition after “having solidified our position as a leading wealth player in Asia”.
“As you know, Asia is growing in affluence, and minting more millionaires every day than anywhere else in the world,” he said in the memo, seen by AFP.
He said that in the 2013 financial year, DBS’s wealth franchise, including the private banking business, reported record income of Sg$924 million ($US730 million)
Gupta said the next step would be to obtain the necessary legal and regulatory approvals, adding that the deal should be completed by the end of the year, with a committee set up to manage the transition.
“I am confident that with Societe Generale Private Banking Asia as part of the DBS family, we can scale new heights in wealth management. Together, we can be a wealth provider that will truly be a force to be reckoned with.”