Reuters has reported that Asian banking group DBS will double its Dubai private banking staff by 2023 in a bid to bolster its wealth management operation in the Middle East.
Nigel Sillitoe, chief executive of Insight Discovery, told International Adviser: “There shouldn’t be an issue in the short term because there is more of a threat from the new type of wealth management firm which is being set up in the international finance centre.
“We have conducted some analysis on behalf of Harbour Wealth Management on [Dubai Financial Services Authority] category 3A regulated entities and there are 18 firms which are targeting clients with investible assets of, say, between $1m and $5m (£3.9m, €4.4m).
“For me, the big growth is to do with this new breed of wealth management companies, who plug the gap between private banking and your traditional IFA.
“In the long term, this move could impact IFAs, and they would have to restructure their businesses so that they can grab more of a share of those investors that actually have $1-5m, and move from their traditional IFA model, which is one more like the Cat 3 licence regulated by the DFSA.”
The Singapore bank is joining other global lenders in expanding its wealth management operations in the region.
Reportedly, the prospective client base for the firm includes wealthy Middle East business people, family offices and non-resident Indians (NRIs).
The report said DBS plans to double headcount for its private bank in Dubai by 2023 from about 11 now to about 20.
Tan Su Shan, group head of wealth management and consumer banking at DBS, told Reuters: “This region is not yet a big part of our wealth management revenues today, as we are an Asian bank but it’s the fastest growing part. It’s been growing at double digits.”
Reuters reported that wealth management contributes about S$2.6bn (£1.48bn, $1.89bn, €1.68bn) to DBS revenues.