DBS, the largest bank in Singapore, receives licence to operate at the DIFC

DBS Bank, the largest bank in Singapore and fifth largest banking group in Hong Kong, announced today that it received approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to open its first branch in the Middle East at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It is among the first few Asia-based banks, and the first Singapore-based bank to receive a banking licence in Dubai.

DBS Bank is currently operating out of the DIFC’s Business Centre, and is expected to open its flagship branch within the DIFC in June 2006.

DBS initially plans to offer wholesale banking products and services including private banking, securities brokerage, asset management and trade finance activities to clients in the Middle East.

John Baggerman, General Manager of DBS Bank’s Dubai branch said, “Dubai is fast establishing itself as an important market for the international banking industry, and we are delighted to have received this licence from the DFSA.  This puts DBS in a good position to help our clients tap into the increasing volume of capital flows between Asia and the Middle East.  With our strong capital intermediation skills, DBS Bank can offer Middle Eastern clients access to Asian business networks and provide financial expertise to link them with opportunities in other rapidly growing markets in Asia.”

Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Director General of the DIFC Authority, commented: “We welcome DBS Bank to the DIFC where it joins some of the world’s best known financial institutions. As one of the leading banks in Southeast Asia, DBS Bank brings with it expertise of the Asian market while the DIFC offers access to a region which has a collective GDP of over US$1.9 trillion. We look forward to developing a highly successful and mutually beneficial relationship.”

As the Middle East and Asia become centres of economic growth and capital formation, a presence in Dubai will allow DBS to extend its ability in intermediating capital flows in Asia to include the Middle East.  Two-way trade has also been increasing between the Middle East and Asia, particularly with China, India and Indonesia, where DBS Bank has a growing market presence.  As an Asia banking specialist, DBS brings its local knowledge and financial expertise to Middle East corporates and individuals looking to invest, or diversify their offshore investments into Asia.

Headquartered in Singapore, DBS has a strong network in Asia with almost 5 million customers. The Bank operates approximately 150 branches and 850 ATMs in Singapore and Hong Kong, and employs nearly 12,700 people in 14 markets and countries principally in the Asia-Pacific region.  DBS has leading positions in consumer banking, treasury and markets, asset management, securities brokerage, equity and debt fund raising in Asia.  The Bank’s credit ratings are among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region. 

DBS Vice-Chairman and CEO Jackson Tai said, “We are delighted to receive final approval for our branch licence in Dubai. The Middle East is experiencing remarkable development and we aim to bridge both Asia and Middle East, the two fastest growing regions in the world. This will enable us to enhance our services to our customers in both markets.”

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