It is hard to underestimate the advantages DBS Vickers enjoys in its domestic market. But the firm, led by chief executive Lim Kok Ann, has taken a mature approach to reaping the benefits of its dominant position in Singapore.
Parent bank DBS overshadows everyone else in local equity capital markets. During our awards period, DBS had a dominant 74.35% market share of primary equity business in Singapore. That is a huge boost for the brokerage that sits at its heart.
The firm’s research prowess and sales ability are also second to none. In Asiamoney’s 2017 brokers poll, DBS Vickers won almost everything in Singapore – including the awards for overall brokerage, research, sales services and best execution. Somehow, it was even voted most-improved.
DBS Vickers offers a wide range of products to Singapore’s savvy investor base, allowing them to trade stocks, preference shares, exchange-traded funds, real estate investment trusts, fixed income, equity-linked deals, structured warrants and callable bull bear contracts.
Lim Kok Ann, DBS Vickers
The firm appears careful not to get into a price war with its competitors, keeping its fees slightly above the level some firms charge. DBS charges investors 0.18% for SGX trades worth more than S$100,000 ($73,000). For micro traders at the other end of the scale, the minimum fee for online trading is S$25. These numbers are largely in line with what other brokers charge, although plucky firms such as Saxo Capital Markets are attempting to undercut them.
But DBS also offers its clients a 15% rebate on each trade, using its bargaining power with the exchange to ensure its customers can get the ideal incentive for a broker — the incentive to keep trading.
There is no other firm on this list that so thoroughly dominates its domestic securities market as DBS Vickers does in Singapore. That position of strength sometimes leads to sloppiness, but in the case of DBS it appears to have led only to a razor-sharp focus on remaining at the very top.