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Banking

DBS trades on Asia flavour

Like its home country, DBS wants to be an international hub for financial trading across Asia.

No other Asia-domiciled house has made a more forceful attempt to be a regional player than Singapore’s DBS. It has been this way for more than a decade, as one CEO after another has come to fulfil a vision of a bank from Asia, covering Asia. The incumbent CEO, Piyush Gupta, describes it as "the Asian bank of choice for the new Asia".

DBS got its pan-regional ambitions under way with the acquisition of Dao Heng in Hong Kong in 2001 and has been steadily adding pieces and bedding down businesses since.

Today, Gupta aims for a DBS with a 40:30:30 split of earnings in Singapore/Greater China/South and southeast Asia, chiefly India, respectively. In this, it differs from CIMB, the closest comparable player in the region, which aspires only to be a powerhouse in the countries of Asean.

Where does investment banking fit into this? In truth, it’s not the sharpest part of Gupta’s vision; he told Euromoney in September 2010 that "we are really a good commercial bank, a good universal bank".

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