DBS rose to the unique challenges of this year and last, from trade wars to Brexit, climate change and Covid-19, helping its Private Banking (PB) clients navigate these challenges and protect and enhance wealth, while still seeking out new markets and services via innovating products and digital tools. For all of these reasons it won the Outstanding Global Private Bank: Global category at the PBI Global Wealth Summit & Awards 2020 and its regional Outstanding PB: North Asia equivalent.

In the Singapore and Hong Kong dual booking centres that serve the Chinese and North Asia marketplace trades and assets under management (AUM) have gone up, with HK AUM alone increasing 9% year-on-year (YOY) in 2019. The North Asia business overall saw revenues go up 22% YOY with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% 2017-2019. The successful acquisition of SocGen PB and ANZ Wealth Management helped, alongside technology, private equity opportunities, and a strong Asia focus.

DBS’ investment in technology and people also helped it win Outstanding Wealth Management Service for the Affluent. Its Outstanding Young Private Bankers are listed at the end.

Despite the challenging environment, DBS’ wealth franchise recorded growth across all products and services in its full accounts last year, contributing to 21% of Group income with five markets seeing double-digit growth. Overall wealth management (WM) income rose 16% to a new high of SGD3.08 billion (US$2.26bn), with AUM rising 11% to SGD245bn (US$179.9bn).

A dedicated family office unit set up in 2019 to work closely with high net worth (HNW) families showed the firm’s commitment to serving the affluent. It offers clients’ strategies in the planning and execution of onshore and offshore cross-generational legacy succession and family governance via the appropriate use of instruments, holding structures, and so on.

The wealth planning product suite has also been recently overhauled and significantly enhanced by introducing:

Pre IPO/Founder Listco/Commercial Properties & Private Trust Companies – so its Trusts are now able to hold a more comprehensive range of assets.

The joint DBS-EY ‘Asian Family Office’ publication, first released in August 2019, focuses on intergenerational planning and key issues HNW families need to address. It helps to guide entrants to the bank’s new service.

Taiwanese and Indonesian topline growth was particularly evident last year, jumping up by two and three-fold respectively and now accounting for a fifth of DBS’ client base and relationship managers (RMs). Thailand’s wealth clients got access to a fully-integrated onshore and offshore wealth proposition through the DBS Vickers Securities (Thailand) subsidiary, and services were further expanded Asia-wide with the DBS Portfolio Advisory Enablement Tool.

This tool allows private bankers to perform in-depth assessments of client’s portfolio performance and risk exposures, producing richer insights. Tight collaboration with the chief investment officer (CIO) and solutions team means that tech and people are properly aligned to ensure timely, applicable investment recommendations.

A single point of contact ‘one bank’ approach helps clients experience a seamless service and access expert advice, business connections and knowledge from corporate and investment banking teams, and facilitates cross-function deals in an integrated manner.

A focus on Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) and Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) is delivering results in the green economy and serving many HNWs social goals. DBS was one of the first Asian banks to integrate MSCI ESG Ratings into investment products. This provides greater transparency and allows clients to assess the ESG characteristics of their investment portfolios much more easily.

DBS is reaping the benefits of its digital innovation efforts with lower costs of client acquisition, growing transaction volumes, and deepening engagement. Some of it latest technology advancements include:

Next-Gen DBS iWealth® app: launched with more intuitive design touches, easier navigation and simpler portfolio tracking, this app has been re-thought and redesigned from inside-out to make banking and WM easier than ever. Three months into its recent Singaporean launch, usage of investment features was up 11% with higher completion rates for invest order submissions.

DBS Wealth Chat: Rolled out in Southeast Asia so that clients can easily connect and exchange investment ideas with their RMs via their existing instant messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and WeChat, in a secure manner.

digiPortfolio: is a hybrid platform that brings together human expertise and robo-advisory, providing access to globally-diversified portfolios in just five clicks. Developed in partnership with robo-advice start-up Quantifeed, the DBS digiPortfolio rebalances automatically, so clients do not need to do anything, anymore after they have invested.

Prioritising the customer experience (CX) whether via technology or a deeper multi-asset service provision that is aligned with well trained staff and easier to navigate procedures is what has allowed DBS to succeed. The people element is important, and this goes for clients too, who have access to numerous events such as the ‘Future Leaders Programme’. This gives second generation PB clients a platform to network and deepen their wealth literacy.

The skills, knowledge and people training capabilities of DBS were demonstrated in the Outstanding Young Private Bankers individual category at the PBI Global Wealth Summit & Awards 2020 where it dominated with 13 exclusive winners, as listed below with one exemplar highlight:

Amelia Atmaja, RM, DBS Treasures Private Client

According to her senior and client citations the Outstanding Young PB: “Amelia Atmaja is an exemplary Private Banker with deep domain expertise in the Indonesia market. She focuses in building long lasting client relationships and leverages technology to drive better engagement”.

Atmaja has more than a decade of experience managing HNW and Ultra HNW clients, generating average AUM growth of 15% YOY. She started out in the DBS Treasures Offshore Indonesia Team in Singapore and had a couple of years at ANZ PB before rejoining the firm following DBS’ acquisition of their operations across five Asian markets. Atmaja retained all her past clients, proving the quality and consistency of her advice and ability to build deep relationships, while also adding more clients since.

An active use of mobility devices and utilities to better engage clients, especially those based in Offshore locations, this skills been especially useful to Atmaja during Covid-19. But this digital native proactively introduces new services and solutions to her clients anyway, leveraging the Bank’s technology platform to full effect in all circumstances.

Numerous internal awards such as being a ‘brilliant star’ and certificates from happy wealth planning partners (Manulife Singapore 2019 certificate for revenue of SGD1m+) have come to Atmaja in the past. She’s happy to be now be recognised externally by PBI as an Outstanding Young Private Banker. The other Outstanding Young Private Bankers from DBS are:

  • Cherry Chung
  • Gurjeet Singh
  • Jacqueline Liew
  • Jean Koh
  • Kabeelan Vijayan
  • Kate Zhao
  • Lin Jin
  • Marcus Foo
  • Melvin Lee
  • Mohit Bhatnagar
  • Steph Lee
  • Tan Yi-Fang
DBS also gained a Highly Commended (HC) accolade in the HC: Outstanding WM Technology Initiative - Back Office category won by Taishin at the 30th annual Private Banker International (PBI): Global Wealth Summit & Awards 2020, which were held virtually this year due to Covid-19.


The Private Banker International Global Wealth Awards is an annual platform that celebrates the most impressive and successful initiatives from private banks and wealth management companies who have deployed market leading, disruptive approaches to deliver globally recognized, industry changing strategies and products.

If you would like to share your incredible private banking and wealth management journey, then register for the 31st Annual Private Banker International Global Wealth Awards 2021 and submit your entry!