The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Why DBS’s cost-income ratio is going up

DBS is all about digitization bringing costs down, but Thursday’s numbers show a reversal. It’s caused by the acquisition of ANZ’s wealth business in Asia.


DBS CEO Piyush Gupta

For some time now, DBS has delivered a convincing narrative: that its investments in technology and digital banking will drive the cost-income ratio down, making the bank more profitable.

Late last year, DBS calculated, and published, a methodology showing that a digitally engaged customer delivers a cost-to-income ratio fully 20 percentage points lower than traditional clients.

CEO Piyush Gupta has argued that the digital banking channel in India, digibank, ought to settle at a cost-income ratio around 30%, with Indonesia following a similar model, and that the whole bank should be heading in that direction.

Why, then, did DBS on Thursday report a fourth-quarter cost-income ratio of 44%, up from 41% in the previous quarter?

The answer is fairly simple, but it raises a bigger question.

The quick answer is the acquisition of ANZ’s wealth management businesses in Asia, announced in late 2016. The acquisition brought across S$11 billion of deposits and S$8 billion of loans by the end of 2017, but a book of business operating under quite different metrics than those that were prevalent at DBS.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree