Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of Dubai International Financial Centre His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum today officially opened Bank of Singapore’s branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
The official opening ceremony was attended by Governor of DIFC, His Excellency Essa Kazim; Group Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Singapore’s parent company OCBC Bank, Samuel Tsien; Chief Operating Officer of OCBC Bank and Chairman of Bank of Singapore, Ching Wei Hong; and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Singapore, Bahren Shaari; apart from 250 of the private bank’s clients.
HH Sheikh Maktoum congratulated Bank of Singapore on the opening of its regional office in DIFC and highlighted the special relationship between Singapore and the UAE, which, he said, is steadily growing stronger.
His Highness stressed that the Government of Dubai continues to work in line with its vision established decades ago of pursuing a strong partnership with local and international private sector companies. He underlined the role that this partnership has played in supporting Dubai’s ambitious development plans across several sectors, including the banking sector, which represents an important pillar of the Emirate’s economy. HH Sheikh Maktoum further said that DIFC is keen to provide a conducive environment for its partners from across the globe to accelerate their business growth and success.
His Highness also commended Singapore on the recognition it gained at last week’s World Government Summit in Dubai where the country’s Ministry of Finance was awarded the Best M-Government Award in the category of Economy & Commerce. The Summit was established by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
With the establishment of its DIFC office, Bank of Singapore seeks to usher in a new growth phase in its history in the Middle East. The branch is helmed by veteran banker Kirit Chauhan and supported by a team of 75 employees.
In conjunction with the official opening of the DIFC branch, Bank of Singapore organised a business forum titled ‘Global Outlook 2017 Conference’ for 200 clients based in the Middle East and another 50 international clients travelled to Dubai to attend the event and the opening of the branch.
Renowned theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, and Nobel laureate and economist Paul Krugman headlined the business forum. Dr. Michio Kaku spoke on his vision of the future and how businesses and societies will be shaped by future trends. Professor Paul Krugman shared his insights on global economic issues.
Commenting on the opening of the DIFC branch, Bank of Singapore Chief Executive Officer, Bahren Shaari said: “This is an important milestone for Bank of Singapore. The Middle East, specifically the UAE, has always been an integral part of our business. The setting up of this branch in DIFC further strengthens our franchise and commitment to serve the burgeoning population of ultra-high and high-net worth individuals in this region.”
Bank of Singapore’s presence in the Middle East goes back over 20 years. It opened its representative office in Dubai in 1996, before the DIFC was set up in 2004.
Kirit Chauhan joined Bank of Singapore as the Market Head for Middle East, Sub-continent and Africa in 2014. He has close to 30 years of experience in banking and finance, and has held several senior positions including Managing Director of JP Morgan’s India offshore team and Standard Chartered Bank’s Head of Origination and Client Coverage in Qatar. Kirit reports to Derrick Tan, Bank of Singapore’s Global Market Head for Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Sub-Continent and Middle East. Under Kirit’s leadership, Bank of Singapore has registered stellar growth in the Middle East region - doubling its assets under management and growing its net new money by almost five times in the last three years. He played a pivotal role in Bank of Singapore securing the Category 4 licence last year, which led to the setting up of the DIFC branch.
Kirit Chauhan, Bank of Singapore’s Market Head for Middle East, Sub-continent and Africa, said: “This is an exciting time for the wealth management industry in Middle East. There is clearly potential for this market to develop and flourish. Having a branch in DIFC, the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, offers Bank of Singapore an ideal platform to tap on this potential and expand our business further.”
Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre His Excellency Essa Kazim commented: “We are delighted to welcome Bank of Singapore, the leading private bank in South East Asia to the Dubai International Financial Centre. Bank of Singapore joins close to 200 Wealth and Asset Management companies who have chosen the DIFC to access the significant pool of emerging wealth in the region. The DIFC continues to attract leading banks and financial institutions from around the world thanks to its world-class connectivity to global markets, access to state of the art infrastructure and legal and regulatory system.”