BNP Paribas Securities Services can now manage its Asian global and local custody mandates regionally with the Monetary Authority of Singapore's approval of its wholesale banking license.

With the firm's first wholesale banking license in the region, BNP Paribas Securities now offers Asian clients same-time zone custody, treasury and liquidity services. Prior to receiving the approval, the firm's Singapore office was limited to investment administration solutions and trustee and fund administration services.

"This new step represents a significant milestone for the development of BNP Paribas Securities Services in Asia-Pacific," says Jean-Marc Pasquet, Asia-Pacific head of BNP Paribas Securities Services. "This illustrates our 'the closer, the better' motto, and we shall continue our efforts to grow at a vigorous pace to be operational in eight to10 key markets by 2013, with Hong Kong being the next step in a few months."

The license approval comes a little over a year since the securities services arm of Paris-based BNP Paribas Group opened its office in Singapore. Following that opening, the firm launched an Indian joint venture, Sundaram BNP Securities Services, with Sundaram Business Services last November. The joint venture is located in Chennai and will offer fund accounting and transfer agency capabilities to Indian investors once regulatory approval is received.

"We see a strong demand from our Europe-based clients operating in the region to be offered the same top-class custody and administration solutions they are delivered in Europe," says Elizabeth Chia, the bank's Asia-Pacific head of global custody. "At the same time, we believe many institutional investors and financial intermediaries in Asia will increasingly think about outsourcing their middle- and back-office operations in this current environment to focus on their core businesses."

The firm also has regional presences in Australia, Japan and New Zealand serving largely local customers.

The securities firm's headcount has been expanding along with its regional ambitions. In January, Chia joined the firm's Singapore office from DBS Bank. Last November, BNP Paribas Securities appointed Barnaby Nelson as Hong Kong-based Asia head of business development. Nelson joined the firm from Reuters.

Globally, BNP Paribas Securities had $4.65 trillion in assets under custody and $786 billion under administration as of the end of December.