DBS eyes S$500 billion in wealth assets by 2026, top executive says

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SINGAPORE: DBS Group plans to boost assets under management for its wealth business to S$500 billion (US$369.7 billion) by the end of 2026, said the unit's head, as the top Singaporean bank bets on robust inflows into the country.

Wealth assets at DBS grew 23 per cent to a record S$365 billion last year, as Singapore benefitted from strong inflows of wealth into Asia due to its relative political stability, low taxes, and policies favourable for setting up family offices and trusts.

DBS, Southeast Asia's largest lender by assets, banks more than a third of Singapore's family offices.

"I'm still growing ... the market is actually kind of at the cusp of a recovery because rates are peaking so as rates come down, markets pick up," said DBS' Group Executive and Group Head of Consumer Banking Group and Wealth Management Shee Tse Koon.

Referring to the plan for growing the bank's wealth assets, Shee, who has worked at DBS for nearly eight years, told Reuters he was fairly confident about meeting the target, barring any "black swan" event.

DBS is also aiming to double the number of wealthy clients with assets worth at least S$1 million and above by end 2026, he said, adding the bank grew its affluent and high-net-worth clients by more than 50 per cent over the last two years.

Global high-net-worth-individual wealth and population rose by 4.7 per cent and 5.1 per cent, respectively, in 2023, reversing from 2022's decline, the Capgemini Research Institute's World Wealth Report 2024 published on Jun 7 showed.

Risk appetite among the wealthy had also improved with cash holdings declining to 25 per cent of portfolio totals in January 2024 from multi-decade highs of 34 per cent the same month a year ago, the report showed.

With rising asset inflows, wealth management has become one of the main revenue drivers for banks in Singapore including for DBS, which last month posted record-beating quarterly results and said it expected net profit to exceed last year's record.

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