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Bank of Singapore Boosts Managed Assets, Sees Further Growth

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.’s private-banking arm said its assets under management and loans will continue to grow after expanding more than 30 percent on an annualized basis in the first five months of the year.

Bank of Singapore Ltd.’s so-called earning asset base reached $36.3 billion on May 31, an increase of $4.3 billion from the end of last year, Chief Executive Officer Renato de Guzman said in a presentation today. The increase has been “broad-based” and the focus will remain on the greater China region, the Philippines, Singapore, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, he said.

Wealth in Asia, excluding Japan, is expected to rise at about double the global rate of almost 6 percent through the next five years, the Boston Consulting Group said in a May 31 report. Singapore will become the world’s top wealth management center by 2013, overtaking Switzerland and London, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study published yesterday.

“I don’t know if in two years we will be able to do that,” Guzman said, referring to the PwC report. He said investors from outside the region are “attracted to Asian opportunities,” diversification and the strong Singapore dollar.

The Singapore dollar has gained about 19 percent against the U.S. currency in the past two years and about 14 percent against the euro in the same period.

Oversea-Chinese Banking was ranked as the world’s strongest bank in the June issue of the Bloomberg Markets magazine.

Wealthy Chinese, Indians

The private bank, which has about 780 employees, plans to start operating under OCBC China by the end of the third quarter to tap the growing number of wealthy Chinese.

Bank of Singapore also aims to attract more of the 150,000 Indian millionaires living outside India, a group that holds more than $500 billion of wealth, the bank said, citing a Capgemini/Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific Wealth report.

The bank has about 100 employees in offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, London and Singapore, who focus on clients from the Indian subcontinent.

Singapore has the highest proportion of millionaire households at 15.5 percent, followed by Switzerland with 9.9 percent, according to Boston Consulting Group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lars Klemming in Singapore at lklemming@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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