Singapore’s private banking sector, known for its diversity and sophistication, caters to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals through leading institutions like DBS, HSBC, OCBC, UOB, and Standard Chartered.
These banks offer specialized services such as art advisory, family office solutions, and comprehensive wealth management, supported by advanced digital platforms and regional expertise.
With a dynamic financial infrastructure and strong regulatory framework, as Mr. Ravi Menon of MAS highlighted, Singapore maintains its position as a leading wealth management center.
By the end of this article, you will not only have a deeper understanding of the unique features and services of Singapore’s private banking sector but also be well-equipped to discern which bank best aligns with your individual financial needs.
What is Private Banking?
Private banking refers to managing wealth for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs.)
The banking practices involve investment management and financial planning activities, such as estate, tax, retirement planning, and philanthropy counseling.
Private bankers provide trust or fiduciary services to manage wealth. Besides, clients can access special events or product campaigns reserved for VIPs only.
Eligibility and Entry Requirements for Private Banking
One common requirement for a private banking client is the amount threshold of the assets under management(AUM), ranging from S$1 to 5 million, depending on various banks. Besides, banks may set higher tickets for premium services.
Furthermore, before inviting you into the club, banks may look into your income, source of wealth, investment experience, and non-financial background, such as nationality, career history, and crime history.
“Banks are exploring alternative metrics beyond AUM, considering factors like investment sophistication, entrepreneurial potential, and philanthropic commitment,” said Mr. John Cusack, Global Head of Global Wealth Management at Standard Chartered.
Private Vs. Priority Banking
The table below illustrates the differences between private and priority banking in Singapore:
|At least AUM* of S$1 million or above, varying among banks
|An AUM* ranging from S$200,000 to S$500,000
|Higher fees, but negotiable and subject to AUM* and banking history
|Lower fees, but still subject to account maintenance and transaction charges
|One professional and profoundly experienced manager serves a client on a one-on-one basis.
|A client may have more than 1 manager specializing in their profession at his service
|Comprehensive services, such as investment management, estate, wealth, inheritance planning, and lifestyle management
|Enhanced banking services and fundamental wealth management
|High-income or well-off clients
|High-net-worth-individuals and ultra-high-net-worth-individuals
*refers to asset under management.
Comparative Overview of Top Private Banks in Singapore
This comparative overview provides a concise summary of the top private banks in Singapore, highlighting their key services, unique benefits, and minimum investment thresholds.
|DBS Private Bank
|Art advisory, family office solutions, Philanthropy services
|Robust digital platform, regional expertise
|HSBC Private Bank
|Art advisory, philanthropic advisory, succession planning, wealth management
|Access to exclusive deals and events, extensive global network, strong brand reputation
|UOB Private Bank
|Alternative allocation, alternative investments, family office services, wealth structuring
|Art advisory, customized wealth solutions, dedicated investment team
|OCBC Premier Private Client
|Concierge services, financial planning, investment management, risk management
|Comprehensive banking solutions, personalized wealth reports, travel privileges
|Standard Chartered Priority Private
|Alternative assets, digital solutions, investment research, wealth structuring
|Lifestyle management, personalized wealth management plans, priority banking privileges
Each bank offers unique services and benefits. For instance, if you prioritize digital solutions and regional expertise, DBS Private Bank could be a top choice. If you value a strong global network and access to exclusive events, HSBC Private Bank might be more suitable.
It’s essential to consider personal financial goals, the type of services you need, and the investment thresholds you’re comfortable with when choosing a private bank.
1. DBS Private Bank – Best for Comprehensive Services and Cross-Nation Network
About: Established in 1968, DBS is one of Asia’s largest banks by assets and has a global presence with international financial centers. With its strong presence in the private banking sector, the bank provides its clients with excellent personalized financial services.
- Comprehensive financial planning: DBS private banking offers a series of personalized services, such as family office solutions, concierge services, lifestyle management, Philanthropy advisory, impact investing, trust & estate planning, and wealth & structure planning, besides its strong investment focus.
- Investment solutions: Stressing global diversified and sustaining investing, the bank supplies clients with alternative investments, such as hedge funds, private equities, ESG investing options, global equities, and fixed income, with its expertise in Asia.
- Vigorous digital platform: DBS takes pride in its user-friendly digital platform, which allows its clients to manage investments, banking activities, and other planning services.
Reviews: 3.8 | 26 reviews
“Ver fast & efficient (with SMS queuing). For SG newcomer: if you are here to open new bank account you need your proof of residence to open the bank account!” – Thanatorn (Cash)
2. HSBC Private Bank – Best for Global Access
About: Headquartered in London, UK, in 1865, HSBC is a global financial conglomerate focusing mainly on Asia, providing its clients with multiple banking services worldwide. With its presence in more than 60 countries, the bank offers comprehensive financial services across the network of its branches in Singapore, including its prestigious “HSBC Private Bank” services.
- Dedicated global network: While aiming to provide clients with international access, HSBC private banking uses its robust worldwide network of presences to connect and explore investment and banking opportunities and ensure its clients get the best financial services.
- Focus on premium wealth management services: With its primary focus on Asia and emerging markets, HSBC offers various investments for clients, like global equities, fixed income, alternative investments, and other ESG investing options.
- Vigorous relationship managers: Clients benefit from professional banking services from experienced bankers, like personalized investment and other financial planning solutions on one-on-one services.
- Wealth transfer and succession planning: HSBC is focused on wealth and estate planning by its specialists.
Review: No current review is available
3. UOB Private Bank – Best for Wealth transfer and Inheritance Planning
About: UOB, the United Overseas Bank, has been a leading financial institution in Singapore since 1935, with vigorous operations in Southeast Asia. Through its sprawling network of branches across Singapore, UOB provides private banking clients with premier, personalized financial services with sustainable and responsible practices.
- Customized investment approach: Each UOB private banker crafts an investment tailored-made plan based on the client’s goals and risk levels. Regular investment follow-ups ensure a client is on the right path toward goals.
- Digital platforms: UOB uses innovative digital platforms to communicate with clients, manage investments, and research, making banking more efficient.
- Specialized banking facilities and services: Clients can access UOB’s exclusively dedicated banking facilities and personalized services.
- Wealth transfer and inheritance planning: UOB provides clients with comprehensive wealth and inheritance planning, including professional advice and resources, and actively communicates with potential beneficiaries.
Review: 3.2/12 reviews
“Great amenities and service. Even got some great juices and coffee. Just wait time could be improved. Think you need to hire more staff to handle the load being this is for the privileged clients” – T.
4. OCBC Premier Private Client – Best for Potential Banking Clients with Low Entry Thresholds
About: Founded in 1932, OCBC, the Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation, is one of the leading banks by assets in Singapore. With its nationwide network of branches and offices, the bank provides its clients with comprehensive financial services focusing on local expertise and digital innovation.
- Low entry threshold: An AUM S$1 million entry requirement lower than other banks encourages more customers to use private banking services, creating a potential base for growing future HNWIs(High-Net-Worth Individuals) or UHNWIs(Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individuals.)
- Regional focus: With its local and Southeast Asia expertise, OCBC can benefit its private banking clients in banking and investment services.
- Digital platform for banking: OCBC’s user-friendly interface system gives private banking clients a seamless experience in banking, investment research, and other financial management.
- A comprehensive range of investments: OCBC provides investment opportunities, like global equities, fixed income, commodities, hedge funds, and private equities, offering more to investors with low entry requirements.
Review: 2.8/240 reviews
“Customer service lady at Premier centre was very nice. I ask her how long more? She said downstairs might be faster showed me the way to get a number.” – Sharon Lee.
5. Standard Chartered Priority Private – Best for Sustainable Investing
About: The Standard Chartered Bank, a British multinational banking and financial institution, has seen a prominent and rich history in Singapore since the 19th century. The bank offers a wide range of services, like personal, business, and corporate banking, to clients worldwide.
- Experienced bankers: Standard Chartered, tracing its deep banking history, possesses professional bankers with expertise in offering private banking services to clients across more than 60 countries worldwide.
- Innovative banking platform: The open architecture platform, a digital banking interface created by the bank, gives clients access to various investment products and services from diverse providers, satisfying clients’ multiple demands.
- Emphasis on sustainable investing: Standard Chartered focuses on sustainable investments by educating and encouraging clients on renewable and environmental investing concepts.
- Low entry threshold: The bank has the second lowest entry requirement of an AUM of S$1.5 million, leading to a base of potential clients for further private banking business.
Review: 2.4/54 reviews
“Christmas passed, New Year passed, and I have yet to hear back from this busy (or non-existent?) team.” – C B
1. Which bank has the best private banking services?
A financial institution providing attractive banking services performs in the following areas:
- Private banking’s investment services: Does a bank seek global diversification, regional expertise, or sustainable investing to benefit its clients?
- Banking services: A bank focusing on a single private banking service only or offering comprehensive banking facilities, such as wealth or inheritance planning, estate planning, family office solutions, and lifestyle management.
- Fees: Service fees charged differ among private banks.
- Bankers’ knowledge: A banker’s knowledge may affect clients’ investment and wealth planning decisions. Clients should study before choosing a bank that meets their criteria.
The 5 banks discussed above meet the “best private banking services” in Singapore.
2. How much do you need to qualify for private banking in Singapore?
Private banks in Singapore differ in entry requirements concerning AUMs, ranging from S$ 1 to S$5 million.
3. Which is the top private bank?
The top private banks in Singapore are DBS, HSBC, UOB, OCBC, and Standard Chartered, providing clients with comprehensive private banking services.
4. Which premier banking is the best in Singapore?
Like priority banking services, premier banking has an AUM requirement of S$200,000 to S$350,000, higher than priority banking’s threshold of S$50,000 or a minimum income requirement. The top 5 private banks discussed earlier offer Singapore’s best premier banking services.
Singapore, a regional financial hub, offers the best private banking service providers to HNWIs and UHWIs. However, the top private banks differ in expertise and entry requirements.
Investors should select an appropriate private banker based on their banking criteria, such as financial goals, investment criteria, risk tolerance, and other financial planning needs like wealth planning or sustainable investing factors.
- Singapore’s leading private banks, such as DBS, HSBC, OCBC, UOB, and Standard Chartered, offer diverse services with varying entry thresholds (from S$1 million to S$5 million AUM).
- These banks provide extensive wealth management solutions, including innovative digital tools. This approach positions Singapore as a top wealth management center with advanced financial infrastructure.
- There’s a growing focus on sustainable and responsible investing, reflecting Singapore’s commitment to green finance and attracting ethically conscious investors.
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