UOB aims to double private wealth assets by 2026

SINGAPORE – United Overseas Bank (UOB) is planning to double its private wealth assets under management over the next couple of years as it bets on increased wealth inflows into Singapore and South-east Asia, a top executive said.

Total assets under management (AUM) at UOB, South-east Asia’s third-biggest lender by assets, rose to a record $176 billion as at end-December 2024.

Assets from its private wealth clients – affluent individuals with assets worth at least $2 million – account for more than half of the total AUM, said UOB head of private bank Chew Mun Yew.

“With the increased wealth flow opportunities into (the) Asean region and the strong organic growth within Singapore, we believe there will be continued strong growth momentum in the wealth management space,” Mr Chew told Reuters.

Singaporean wealth managers have seen a surge in inflows in recent years from China, Hong Kong and elsewhere as economic slowdown and geopolitical tension resulted in setting up of family offices and trusts in the city-state.

South-east Asia is also a key wealth growth driver in the region.

Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia are set to see their ultra-high-net-worth population growing by 34.6 per cent, 34.1 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, by 2028 from 2023, outpacing the estimated 28.1 per cent growth globally, according to a wealth report by Knight Frank.

Singapore is seen as a magnet for wealth from its South-east Asian neighbours, helped by the city-state’s policies including tax perks that incentivise the setting up of wealthy family offices, according to Knight Frank.

Mr Chew said UOB’s private wealth assets grew 14 per cent last year. He declined to give details.

More than half of UOB’s total assets was contributed by Singapore, with the rest mainly from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and North Asia, according to Mr Chew. North Asia includes Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Japan, he added.

UOB managed to bolster its South-east Asia presence after the acquisition of Citigroup’s South-east Asia retail business in early 2022 for $5 billion.

“We also scale up cross segment collaborations with other business units within the bank, to maximise cross sell opportunities and increase penetration rate of our clients,” Mr Chew added.

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