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Bank of Singapore to set up unit in China

ocbc-e1415666530453Singapore bank OCBC’s private banking unit is exploring the possibility of setting up an onshore entity in China either with a domestic partner or on its own. Standard Chartered is also considering launching an onshore private bank in China. OCBC’s private banking unit is called Bank of Singapore. OCBC already has an onshore presence in China with branches in major Chinese cities, while its subsidiary Wing Hang China has a strong presence in the Pearl river delta region in Guangdong province. China’s growing population of millionaires and billionaires is a big draw for private banks despite obstacles such as a restricted currency regime and limited availability of financial products. An onshore presence for Bank of Singapore in China would mean it would be competing against Goldman Sachs and UBS on advising wealthy clients in the local market. Bank of Singapore agreed in April to buy Barclays’ wealth business in Singapore and Hong Kong in a deal that will push the wealth manager just behind bigger rival DBS Group Holdings.

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