Bank of Singapore, a private banking subsidiary OCBC Bank, has received Category 4 licence to open a new branch in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), UAE.

The licence will allow Bank of Singapore to offer private banking solutions such as investments, credit and wealth planning advisory services to UNHW and HNW customers.

The official opening of the new branch is due to take place in the first quarter of 2017.

Bank of Singapore has been operating in Dubai since 1996 through its representative office based outside of the DIFC. The bank said its assets under management in Middle East region have doubled and net new money has rose by almost five times.

Bank of Singapore CEO Bahren Shaari said: “The Middle East, specifically the United Arab Emirates, has always been an integral part of our business. With the establishment of a branch in the DIFC, Bank of Singapore is committed to scaling up our research and advisory capabilities, to better serve high net worth individuals in this region.

“Dubai’s position in the Middle East is similar to Singapore’s role in Asia, both serve as strategic economic hubs, supporting wealth growth and investments for individuals and businesses. We are confident of replicating our successful Singapore business model in Dubai to support the growing affluence and economic activities in this region.”

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DIFC Authority CEO Arif Amiri said: “We welcome the Bank of Singapore to DIFC, recognition of both the growing demand for financial services in the region and the fact that DIFC, as the Middle East, Africa and South Asian’s leading international financial centre, offers a best practice legal, regulatory and infrastructure platform for international bank expansion.

“Singapore and Dubai share an affinity: both are modest in geographic size yet highly developed, cosmopolitan and incredibly dynamic. As the cities are becoming twin hubs for their respective regions, the arrival of Bank of Singapore in DIFC signifies a move to ever closer cooperation and a mutual desire to strengthen trade along the South- South corridor.”

Bank of Singapore’s representative office will continue to operate to facilitate existing customers’ access to the banks platform, after the setting up of the new branch, it added.