OCBC to buy Asia WM business of Barclays

Added 7th April 2016

After much speculation, the acquisition has been announced and it will be done via OCBC's wholly-owned private banking unit Bank of Singapore.

OCBC to buy Asia WM business of Barclays

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) has agreed to acquire the wealth and investment management business of Barclays Bank in Singapore and Hong Kong for $320m in cash, OCBC said in a statement.

The purchase price is based on the $18.3bn in assets under management of Barclays' wealth and investment management business in Hong Kong and Singapore at the end of 2015.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, and is subject to approval of the Singapore High Court for the transfer of the Singapore business.

The acquisition will see Bank of Singapore’s AUM rise by 33.3% to $73.3bn.

OCBC Group CEO Samuel Tsien said the wealth management business is strategically important for OCBC.

“We see attractive value in Barclays’ strong and complementary private banking client base in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as in its experienced and service-oriented wealth management team,” he said.

Bahren Shaari, CEO of Bank of Singapore, said a larger pool of relationship managers can serve an expanded base of ultra high net worth and high net worth clients.

“Strategically, this acquisition further broadens our geographical footprint and client coverage while adding scale, deepening our presence in our core Asian markets, including Southeast Asia, Greater China and the Middle East, namely the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.”

Singapore’s DBS Group had been seen as the front runner to buy Barclay’s Hong Kong and Singapore private wealth units.

UK-based Barclays put its Asia wealth management units up for sale to offset declining revenues for its global wealth managment business. The move contrasts with competitors. Credit Suisse, UBS and Citibank, for example, have all made Asia a key part of their wealth management growth strategy.

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