Family Office

DBS Private Bank Introduces New Family Office Offering

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 13 June 2023

DBS Private Bank Introduces New Family Office Offering

The Singapore-based bank said the new service is an alternative option for families who want to run their wealth without having to build a single-family office from scratch.

DBS Private Bank is tapping into Singapore’s drive to be a prime destination for ultra-high net worth individuals and families. 

The lender has launched the DBS Multi Family Office Foundry VCC. DBS said this is the world’s first bank-backed multi-family office that uses the jurisdiction’s Variable Capital Company structure which was introduced in early 2020.

The offering gives an alternative option for families to manage their wealth in Singapore without having to establish their own single-family office. Through DBS MFO, clients can get access services from investment management, trade execution, to custody solutions – via a single integrated platform. 

Already home to more than 700 SFOs by some estimates, the Asian city-state has chalked up rapid growth of these entities, driven by the rising affluence of the region and Singapore’s attractions as a relatively legally and politically safe jurisdiction. (It has sought to clarify and strengthen rules for SFOs, as reported here.) It has also benefited to some degree from concerns about Hong Kong’s political direction in recent years. (That said, Hong Kong is also trying to compete as a centre for family offices.) Other centres, such as Dubai, are also trying to attract SFOs.

The DBS service also speaks to a trend of firms, such as Eton Solutions in the US, in offering "family office-as-a-service" capabilities so that families don't have to build all their operations and systems from the ground up, but can tap into an off-the-shelf system that is also customisable. As regulations and cost pressures mount, the amount of money families need to viably build and run an SFO is rising. 

DBS, which banks more than one-third of the 700 SFOs in Singapore, said its family office AuM has more than doubled in the last two years.

The offering is established as an umbrella VCC with multiple underlying sub-funds. Clients are offered a range of customisable investment strategies and can elect to either have their sub-fund professionally managed by the DBS discretionary portfolio management team, or by a family member/investment advisor of their choice.

“The launch of DBS MFO marks yet another milestone in the evolution of our family office proposition, where our clients look to us as a trusted advisor for bespoke wealth preservation and legacy planning solutions,” Lee Woon Shiu, group head of wealth planning, family office and insurance solutions, DBS Bank, said. 

“Our new offering has already attracted keen interest from global UHNW families and their advisors, who see tremendous value in leveraging the VCC as a unique wealth structuring solution,” Lee Woon Shiu said. 

Today, DBS banks more than one-third of the 700 SFOs established in Singapore, and its family office AUM has also more than doubled in the last two years. “Client interest in succession planning and wealth preservation has intensified and, in fact, we recorded a substantial increase in the number of new requests in 1Q23. This will continue to fuel the growth of our family office business,” added Lee.

To see a recent interview by WealthBriefingAsia of DBS in its north Asia private banking side, click here. In this story from 2021, we look at how Singapore is mulling changes to the VCC regime to encourage single-family offices. Separately, this news service works as an exclusive media partner with UK-based Highworth Research, a database of single-family offices around the world. See here to sign up for a trial. 

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