Bank of Singapore CEO eyes Indonesia potential

Renato de Guzman says the private bank is seeking to grab market share after strengthening its Indonesia coverage team.
Bank of Singapore CEO eyes Indonesia potential

Bank of Singapore’s Asia-Pacific CEO, Renato de Guzman, is talking up the potential of Indonesia as a wealth management market after hiring a new country coverage team.

The firm, a wholly owned subsidiary of OCBC Bank, revealed this week it had brought in a trio of staff from DBS Private Bank to expand its Southeast Asia business, with a focus on Indonesia.

Terence Seow was recruited to head the team, along with relationship managers Wilyono Martin and Fang Shiuh Rou, although country strategy remains in the hands of Indonesia market head Robin Heng. All report to the private bank’s Southeast Asia head Bahren Shaari.

De Guzman, who led ING Asia Private Bank before it was purchased by OCBC and rebranded, notes that Bank of Singapore now has close to 40 bankers covering Indonesia, out of an Asia-wide coverage team of 230 bankers.

“[Indonesia] is one of the fastest growing markets in Asia and OCBC group has a substantial presence there, so we need to capitalise on that,” he tells AsianInvestor, noting that OCBC NISP is a top 10 bank in Indonesia with over 400 domestic branches.

Asia-Pacific continues to contribute the greatest year-on-year additions to global high-net-worth ranks, including 23.8% growth in Indonesia in 2010, according to the World Wealth Report published by consultancy Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

De Guzman emphasises his strategy is to capture market share in BOS’s existing markets such as Indonesia rather than seek to enter pastures new.

“Especially with all the nervousness on European banks, we should be able to gain market share,” he notes, pointing to the financial strength of parent OCBC, which has a tier-1 ratio of 15.4% as at June 31. He adds that BOS has enjoyed over 30% annualised asset growth this year.

BOS also has around 60 bankers covering Greater China under market head Sermon Kwan, who will be striving to make use of OCBC’s 14 branches in eight Chinese provinces.

Bank of Singapore has around 800 staff in Asia overall, including 20 bankers covering Europe and the Middle East, which De Guzman says is of growing importance amid capital movement from West to East and increased global focus on Asian currencies and local currency bonds.

“In terms of opportunities, we continue to see corporate debt as quite interesting, given that earnings are good and leverage is low. So we are overweight on the corporate debt sector,” he adds. “There is also a lot of value in equities which is coming out, so if you have a medium-to-long term view we think this market presents a lot of opportunities.”

Previously Seow was senior vice-president at DBS Private Bank for the mega-wealth segment covering Indonesia. He also has a treasury background, having held key positions in institutions including BHF-Bank (Singapore) and Republic National Bank of New York (Singapore).

Martin had been with DBS Private Bank since 2006, before which he spent seven years in Indonesia with Standard Chartered and Citibank. Rou has spent the past five years serving high-net-worth clients for DBS Private Bank.

A spokesperson for DBS Private Bank says the firm has already lined up replacements and will make announcements in due course.

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