DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest bank, said it would almost double its Dubai private banking staff in its bid to triple revenue for those operations in the Middle East by 2023, capitalising on a shift of investments towards Asia.
The Singapore bank is joining Citibank and other global lenders expanding wealth management operations in the region. The prospective client base includes wealthy Middle East business people, family offices and non-resident Indians.
DBS said it planned to double headcount for its private bank in Dubai by 2023 from about 11 now to about 20.
“This region is not yet a big part of our wealth management revenues today as we are an Asian bank but its the fastest growing part,” said Tan Su Shan, group head of wealth management and consumer banking. “It’s been growing at double digits.”
Wealth management contributes about 2.6bn Singapore dollars ($1.89bn) to DBS revenues, she said.
In the past, clients in the region would focus investments towards Switzerland, United States and Britain, Rudiger von Wedel, managing director and head of international at DBS Private Bank, told a news conference.
“The whole focus of the region is shifting towards the East,” he said. “What I have seen since 2012-2013 is more and more shift towards Asia.”
Other banks are also expanding in the region.
Citibank aims to lift its wealth management customer base by 18 per cent in the United Arab Emirates in 2018 and 24 per cent in 2019. Citi’s wealth management business would see a 21 per cent growth in revenue in 2018 in the UAE, said Venkat Mahadevan, retail bank head for the Middle East at Citibank.
The number of people in the Middle East with individual assets of more than $500m is projected to grow by 28 per cent to 500 in 2022, according to the Knight Frank 2018 Wealth report.