Pictet Group has received approval from Singapore authorities for a wholesale bank licence, allowing it to expand its credit activities in Singapore.
Effective 2 April, Bank Pictet & Cie (Asia) will commence wholesale banking operations in a bid to respond to rising demand for Singapore dollar (SGD) services. Pictet currently has a merchant banking licence in the city-state.
The new licence allows the Singapore entity to offer services such as SGD-denominated loans and deposits to its private banking clients, noted Dominique Jooris, CEO of Bank Pictet & Cie (Asia) and head of Pictet Wealth Management South Asia.
‘The importance of the SGD as a regional store of value and the expanding financial and real assets that are denominated – or funded - in that currency make it an opportune addition to our current service offering,’ he told Citywire Asia.
For example, a wholesale bank in Singapore can issue SGD-denominated bonds and negotiable certificates provided that they have an original maturity period of at least 12 months and are issued in denominations of over SGD 200,000, unless they are issued to sophisticated investors or their nominees.
Prior to this, the Swiss private bank was licenced to carry out standard wealth and portfolio management services in numerous currencies except in SGD.
Lending is a key activity for several private banks in Asia, such as UBS and Credit Suisse, and smaller private banks are beginning to enter the fray.
Last week, VP Bank Singapore’s CEO, Bruno Morel, announced that the local unit is undergoing conversion from subsidiary to branch to support its credit activities.
The Liechtenstein-headquartered firm has also applied for a wholesale banking licence in Singapore, aiming to implement the new structure by July.