Vontobel strikes client deal with Bank of Singapore

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Zurich-based banking and investment group Vontobel has entered into what it calls a “strategic cooperation agreement” with the Bank of Singapore that it says is aimed at enabling the Singapore institution’s ultra-high and high-net-worth to book their assets in Vontobel’s Zurich facilities. 

Under the new arrangement, Bank of Singapore’s clients will have access to a range of Vontobel’s products, and will be able to choose to have either Vontobel or Bank of Singapore manage those of their assets that they choose to book in Zurich, Vontobel said in a statement published today.

It said the agreement would bring together “the best of both worlds for Bank of Singapore clients – Bank of Singapore’s expertise in advisory services for Asian-based clients, and Vontobel’s offering of asset booking services in Switzerland”.

It said Switzerland was “recognised as an attractive booking centre” because of the stability and the transparency of its legal and regulatory environment, and for this reason, currently holds “nearly one-quarter of all offshore assets globally”.

Bank of Singapore is the private banking arm of OCBC Bank, having been acquired from ING Group, its then-parent, in 2009.

Olivier Denis, Bank of Singapore’s global market head of Singapore, International, Thai & Indo-China, said the arrangement was expected to meet an “increasing interest from Asian clients” in having their wealth in custody in Switzerland, in addition to such established, existing Asian booking centres as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Global hubs

“With this new capability, we are one of the few Asian private banks to be able to offer booking services for our clients in three of the leading global financial hubs – Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland,” he added.

“This further strengthens Bank of Singapore’s position as Asia’s global private bank.”

The deal also represents another example of Bank of Singapore’s strategy of looking to work with a global network of providers, as it has already done with BlackRock and Blackstone,  Denis added.

Investors in Asia, as elsewhere, are increasingly accepting of the idea of “international diversification” of their wealth, Vontobel head of external asset managers Brian Fischer noted.

As of 30 June 2016, Vontobel held around CHF180bn (€168.4bn) of client assets.

Bank of Singapore’s AUM totalled US$75bn (€69.8bn) at the end of December.

This article was first published by International Investment’s sister publication, Investment Europe.